Going back to work after maternity or paternity leave can be overwhelming. It can be especially difficult to leave your baby in the care of people that you do not know. Still, professional childcare services can benefit both you and your child. However, it is important to find the right facility for your family. Here are a few things you can do to ensure that you find a great daycare center for your child:
Talk with parents and check social media.
If other parents rave about a daycare center, they have had positive interactions there. Word-of-mouth can be the most effective type advertisement. As you talk with other parents, ask specifics about what they like and dislike concerning a childcare provider and look for commonalities between your preferences and theirs.
In addition, search for the facility you are considering on social media. Parents sometimes post comments and pictures that relate to their child's daycare experiences. These candid snapshots can provide insight into the style of care provided by a center.
Tour the facility.
Most daycare centers offer a guided tour for prospective clients. Look at the organization of the classrooms and watch the interactions between children and staff members. If you notice things that make you uncomfortable, such as babies left crying in cribs or harsh tones being used by teachers, look elsewhere. It is important for you to feel comfortable with the type of care that is provided to your child.
Check caregiver-to-child ratios.
Even if a facility has wonderful teachers, an individual can only provide adequate care to a given number of children effectively. At a daycare center, a suitable staff-to child-ratio for babies under six weeks old would be about one to three. As the age of the child increases, the ratio of children to teachers also increases. For babies between six weeks and 18 months old, an acceptable ratio is around one staff member for five babies. However, one staff member could be expected to care for up to seven three-year-olds without assistance.
Look for an open door policy for parents.
Some centers allow parental access to children at all times. Look for an open door policy so that you can visit without calling ahead. Spontaneous visits can help put your mind at ease about the environment of the childcare center and the treatment your child is receiving.
If you are a new parent, you may be looking for a daycare for your baby. Schedule an appointment with a local childcare facility, like Cottonwood Montessori, to tour the center and meet prospective teachers.