Sending your child off to daycare for the first time can be petrifying. There’s so many concerns running through your head: that nobody will be able to care for your baby as well as you can, you feel you haven’t had enough time with your child, and you fear they will become more attached to their caregiver than you, or you’re afraid you will miss your baby’s firsts. It’s perfectly natural to have these fears. The bond you form with your child is one that is special, delicate and unique. The good news is no caregiver can be a replacement in your child’s eyes for you, their mother. And you don’t need to worry about missing your baby’s first steps, or the first time they say mommy. Your baby will always feel the most comfortable taking their biggest steps when their around you, because that’s when they feel the most safe and at ease. When it comes to choosing the right daycare for your child, make sure you give yourself ample time to find the perfect fit. If you know you only have 3 months of maternity leave left or you’re looking for employment, take the time in-between to look for childcare options. To guide you in your journey to choosing the right daycare, here are some crucial questions to ask before making your final decision.
- How often do they disinfect the diapering area? Is it after every use?
- Do they use disposable cover sheets that they replace every time a child needs to be changed?
- What qualifies a child to be sent home when they are sick?
- At what condition is the child allowed to return to daycare, after they’ve been sick?
- What is their policy on diarrhea? If a child has diarrhea during the day, do they make sure to keep the child away from the other children, in order to keep infection from spreading? Do they recommend that children with diarrhea stay at home?
- Is the staff required to wash their hands before work, after work, after every diaper change, before they handle food and after field trips?
- How often are the toys washed? What are they washed with?
Bad Behavior Policy
- What is the daycare’s policy on handling disruptive behavior such as bullying, yelling, hitting, etc.?
- If your child is being picked on, how will the staff attend to the situation?
- If your child is crying, how are the childcare professionals trained to react?
Childcare Qualifications and Turnover
- Where did the caregivers get their degree, education or license?
- How long have they been practicing childcare?
- How does the center assess their caregivers and how often?
- Are caregivers required to go to workshops or classes to improve their skillsets or learn new teaching methods?
- How long have they been employed at the daycare center? If you notice the majority of the caregivers only have a year under their belt, there may be an issue of turnover, which could be a major red flag for how the center is run internally. Plus, you want your child to be comfortable with the people they are learning from. When caregivers are coming and going, it is difficult for your child to get used to that change.
National accredited associations hold childcare centers to higher standards than most state licensing associations. If you are concerned about accreditation, look for these two accreditation organizations.
- The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).
- The National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC).
These are the largest childcare accreditation organizations.
Adult to Child Ratio
You want to make sure your child will get lots of attention when they’re at the daycare center, because you’ve done such a great job of this at home. When you are weighing an adult to child ratio, the golden number is no more than 1:4 (one adult for four infants), especially when your child isn’t a year old yet. Make sure to ask:
- How many children are allowed in each class?
- How many teachers are assigned to each classroom?
It’s important for you to always know how your child is being cared for when you’re not around. Before enrolling your infant in a childcare program ensure you are able to do the following:
- Be able to volunteer for field trip chaperoning or to be present at your child’s birthday celebration.
- To be able to have daily check-ins with your child’s caregivers.
- To have the opportunity to even read a book allowed to the class every once in a while.
The right caregiver will respect you for asking the right questions, in order to stay involved in your child’s development at the center. These are not the end-all be-all of questions to ask when you’re looking for the perfect childcare center for your infant, however, it will help you make decisions more clearly when you have questions planned out before you inquire. At Villa Majella, we are actively involved in assisting our residents in finding proper childcare, especially when our mothers are ready to go back to work. For more information on our program, please visit our website. www.villamajella.org.
http://www.sheknows.com/parenting/articles/849329/common-fears-about-daycare http://alphamom.com/parenting/baby/daycare-drama-mommy-guilt/ http://www.themommyvortex.com/5-things-new-moms-should-know-about-daycare/ http://www.parenting.com/article/ease-your-baby-fears1204123138097 http://childcareaware.org/parents-and-guardians/child-care-101/5-steps-to-choosing-care