It’s a scary and stressing decision for some new moms to leave their bundle of joy to a daycare or crèche. Selecting the appropriate daycare for your little one is not such a simple task. It involves a lot of research and it can be as bad as a job hunt. But if you want to be stress-free later, you must do your homework well and start the search at least 6 months prior to when you want to start. Once you have found a good daycare centre, you’ll still need to do a few checks to make sure that it’s the one where you want your baby to go. But do you wonder about the features that are important for your child’s daycare to have? You could be thinking about proximity to your home or office and many other factors such as affordability, experienced teachers and caregivers, good standard of facilities, safety features and much more. Of course, you have to feel comfortable in sending your little one to a particular daycare. But for that, you must talk to people or parents sending their children to that facility and also find answers to all your questions beforehand.
Other than that, you must:
Identify and set your priorities: Firstly, you must decide what you want foremost. Are you looking at the proximity to your office or home as the number one factor? Or something which is more popular but far away is also okay? Or are there other priorities such as many children in the daycare, home-cooked meals, experienced and certified caregivers etc more important to you? Writing down all these factors that are important to you is a good idea. Then, you can keep mapping all your options against this list when you research about the same.
Do a detailed and proper research: You must check the internet, read various blogs, talk to people and then find the best and most reputed daycares. Personal references are very helpful in this case. You could also ask some experts and find if there are any accredited daycare centers near you.
Check it for yourself: After the research, you can go and visit the place and see it for yourself. You could also ask some questions and interview the staff, children and parents there. This way you will get a sense of how it is in reality and see if it sits your list of priorities.
A good name and reputation helps: It’s a given that a good crèche or daycare center should always have a warm, inviting and friendly environment. However, it always helps to find some names that have a good reputation and are popular in the city. You could also stop by and talk to the parents or kids there to check if the centre is actually good in reality and matches to its reputation.
A safe and healthy environment: This factor affects your child the most, so you must check out if the environment of your chosen daycare is completely safe. You must also find their health and safety guidelines and procedures. Ask them about their immunization policies, how often do they make kids do hand washing, deal with ailing children and how often they do a diaper change. Also check their certifications and in case of CPR and first aid in case of any unforeseen emergencies.
Check the established ground rules: It’s important to find if the daycare is flexible or not. For example, do they let you pick and drop your kid at different times if needed? Also check if they have established ground rules and regulations for various procedures and operating hours. You must also check their documented policies and how serious they are to take care of your baby in case of an emergency.
Curriculum which fosters learning and development: Considering the curriculum, activities and how well is the facility stocked with other material and toys is an important factor too. You can check with the staff there about the daily schedule and how they keep the children engaged while teaching them. You must look for a place that has activities such as art, craft, music, play time, reading and other activities.
Kid-test: After you have shortlisted a couple of placed, you can take your child along and see for sometime how the staff or caregiver deals or interacts with your child. Leave the child with them for an hour or so and see how your child responds to it.