In the past few weeks I have had many people ask for daycare advice. Which is the right one? When you step into a daycare what should you be looking for? What are the questions you should be asking? Deciding on the right childcare can be very nerve-wracking, almost impossible, task.
Here are a few easy to do steps that will make the decision easier.
1. Plan a budget before searching for childcare. It would be wonderful to send your child to the most expensive daycare around, but not realistic. It would be disappointing to visit a center that you do not have the money for. Save yourself the time. What can you really afford? After you figure out your price begin to search for locations.
***Tip*** Do not be afraid to ask if they will lower their price. Many centers have been doing that on request because of the failing economy.
2. You will be traveling two times a day to your childcare. Sometimes you will have to leave work early to pick up a sick child. Location, location, location! Do test runs to the center. Think about the time it will take if you are stuck in traffic. Will you be able to get there before it closes? Most centers open up between 6:30am and 7:00am. Will that allow you enough time to get to work?
3. Do not rely on reviews online or reviews from parents that have children in the center. Online reviews are often posted by people who are angry and are probably skewing the story. Many centers give online reviews of themselves. Of course, it will be a wonderful review. Centers might give you emails and phone numbers of parents who are attending their programs. You might have different needs. The only way to review the center is by going there 2 or 3 times.
4. Is it easy for you to make an appointment to visit the center at any time? It is very important for you to see the center at different times of the day. Children behave differently when they first arrive than when it is almost lunch time. Pay a visit in the morning and the afternoon. This will give you a good impression of what the overall climate of the center is.
5. How do the children look? Are they super clean? Are they a mess? You want to see their appearance somewhere in the middle. If they are super clean that might be a sign that they are not doing anything. If they are filthy that is a big sign that the staff are not doing anything. Do they look happy? You might find children crying, but that is not necessarily a red flag. Children have good days and bad days. They might be teething, tired, or a new student (who is still adjusting). If after a few visits you notice that the children are always crying that is a huge red flag.
6. There should always be a teacher on the floor interacting with the children. Use your instincts. Why do you think of the teachers? Perhaps you loved all of them except one. Will that one teacher be interacting with your child all the time? A teacher should be smiling, patient, talking eye to eye with the children. He or she should speak to you pleasantly (If you choose their daycare you will be communicating with these teachers all year).
7. Ask the Director what the child/teacher ratios and staff turnover are. Also, ask the teachers. Make sure everyone is telling you the same information. Depending on your state the ratios will be different. By finding out the turnover you will have an idea on how long the teachers might last. If the head teachers have been there for more than a year that is a good sign.
8. You have decided that you love the classroom. The teachers are perfect for you and your child. Make sure to talk with the teachers in your child’s next class. If you do not like the next classroom your child will be in this will be a problem. Time goes by fast and pretty soon your little one will be graduating to new teachers.
9. What are your impressions of the Director? The Director sets the tone for the entire school, so if you do not get a good impression, that might be a bad sign for how you feel about the school. Make a note of how he or she treats the staff. Also, how do the children react when the Director walks in the room? Do they act like a stranger walked in? Do they smile? You should feel a little more confident if the children respond warmly.
10. You have decided on a center. You are feeling great. Your child loves it. Make sure you are aware of the centers policies on enrollment. What happens if you made a mistake? Is it a month to month enrollment? Or yearly (most places are not yearly)? How many days notice do you need to give to receive your deposit back? 30, 45, 60? Do they need it in writing? Make sure you understand the procedure. This will save you aggravation, even if you stay there for a few years.
Please feel free to email me if you have questions about finding a daycare or questions about a daycare your child is currently attending. I am happy to help in anyway that I can.
- 3 Reasons Why Daycare Won’t Ruin Your Child (dayton.mom-spot.com)