Advice and tips for how to choose a daycare center
Choosing the right daycare center for your child can be quite a daunting task due to a myriad of reasons. Aside from skyrocketing costs and sorting through various providers, there are all kinds of hidden complexities you may not have even considered.
How to choose a daycare for your child?
You want the best for your child and want to make sure the best people are watching over them. Thankfully you’re not the only person that has gone through the challenges of how to choose a daycare for your child. Through personal experience and careful research, we’ve cultivated 5 key tips to help make this important decision a little less stressful.
A great starting point is collecting recommendations from parents you know and trust, such as friends and family who can vouch for the provider. If you don’t have a wide network of parents to ask consider reaching out to your pediatrician for advice. You can also do your own research online such as taking advantage of local mom support groups on Facebook, or by utilizing your state’s database of licensed childcare providers.
You ideally want to choose from a variety of providers that can both meet your expectations as well as fit your needs. Do you need full-time care for your child? Is their location convenient for you? Do they fit in your budget range?
You want to thoroughly vet multiple providers both over the phone and in person before making any final decision. Be sure to verify the credentials of the provider before reaching out. While regulations and enforcement can vary among states, licensed providers can offer a bit of reassurance to parents. You can verify their accreditation online through your state’s Department of Child Services.
There are some key questions to ask, such as what are the ratios of caregivers to children. You’re ideally looking for a ration of one provider to three babies (newborn to twelve months old), one provider to four toddlers (thirteen to twenty-four months old), and one provider for up to six children (twenty-five months and above).
What is the average tenure of staff members and the average turnover rate? It’s important for children to have predictable and consistent care to help them form healthy attachments as they develop. What is their discipline policy? How do they soothe upset children? What do they feed your child?
It’s important for you to factor in all the potential costs that come with providing daycare for your child. The key figure of course is finding out how much the daycare provider itself will cost you. Aside from tuition and daycare expenses, you may also need to consider additional costs such as application and registration fees.
You’re also going to need to be mindful of transportation to the daycare, as well as scheduling issues (such as having limited hours and being closed on weekends) that may force you to find ways to fill in the gaps that can quickly inflate your overall costs.
While multiple interviews and a guided tour are a great starting point on your journey to finding the right daycare for your child, it’s important for you to drop by for an unexpected showing so that you can catch a glimpse of how the providers interact with children when they haven’t been prepared beforehand.
How are the caregivers interacting with the children? Are they each receiving adequate attention? Are they provided with age-appropriate toys? How much television time are they given, if any? Whether what you see is reassuring or shocking, it’s important for you to have an honest idea of what your child is going to experience on any given day.
Keeping all these factors in mind, it’s still vital for you to follow your gut and trust your intuition. Whether it be the other children, caregivers, or the center itself, if anything feels off then keep searching. You’re not locked into any particular provider, so feel free to make alternative arrangements at any time.
We know it can be difficult when trying to find the perfect daycare center. Thankfully you’re not alone in your journey and we hope we’ve made it just a little bit easier by carefully outlining how to choose a daycare for your child. Make sure to consider trusted and reliable daycare for your little one and give Imagine Nation Learning Center a call for more information.