Once you have decided that you want to get back to work, the next thing on your mind will be to decide on where to leave your child.
If the option of family, close friends or even a nanny is not there, then like many mothers a day care centre is the likely option. But before you choose which one, there are some factors that you should keep in mind.
Talk to the Parents of Preschoolers
Before deciding on the day care, talk to parents who have availed of its service. Also gauge the mood of the kids when they are coming out of the day care. In fact, do take your child inside the centre once to see how she reacts to the environment of the place.
Spend a While inside Day Care
Before making your decision not only should you talk to the staff (and while you talk pay a lot of attention to how, including the body language, the staff answers your various queries), but also spend a while looking around.
Things that become important to note are:
- Whether they have furniture with rounded edges or not, nontoxic toys, temperature of the rooms
- Whether they have necessary medicines or not and if a doctor is there in case of an emergency are important to note
- Don’t forget to ask what steps they take to maintain security of the place
- Judge the general cleanliness of the place too. A good centre is one whose floors and bathrooms are clean and ventilated
It’s always better to choose a centre which is close to your home or workplace, so that in case of an emergency you would be able to reach your child in the quickest possible time
It is also important to know if the centre is a registered one or not, and if they have the necessary permissions required for operation. Also, ask the centre for its complete schedule of activity. A good day care will always have an activity sheet keeping in mind the age group that they cater too, a mix of physical, mental and relaxation activities. And one that does not follow certain rules is not trustworthy.
Child and Staff Ratio
It is important for you to find out how many children the day care has and the how many helps it has. Too many kids and too few help is not a good ratio, kids need a lot of personal attention. So it is best to choose a centre that will give them that attention. Added to this, the probability of your child catching an infection, which is so common amongst toddlers, will be lesser for one which have fewer kids.
Find out the kind of experience the staff has. It’s best to stay away from centres where majority of the help is inexperienced.
Do ask how the classes are separated by age. The ideal situation is when groups are such that the kids are roughly of the same age. For example: infants are kept separate from 2 year olds.
Many centres offer food prepared by them to the kids. It’s best not to opt for those, but rather those where you have to send food from home.
If the day care is offering food, check for:
- If the food will be prepared for all, and special attention to each ones eating habit is not be given
- The quality of materials used, the hygiene with which the utensils are washed etc can also are a little questionable
Some More Questions
While making your decision on which day care to send your child to, the below questions should also be borne in mind.
- Do they have a vacation policy
- Do they offer part time care
- Do they offer late night hour service
- Are the children taken for field trips
- Are any weekly comment or assessment sheet provided