Daycare is a widely recognized and helpful option for many parents. Most often, the parents that are searching for good daycare options are those who work, have social obligations, or those who are concerned about their child's social interaction skills. For whatever reason parents decide to put their children into daycare, figuring out what local daycare to enroll them in can be a tough decision. The right (or, heaven forbid, the wrong) daycare has a big impact on both the parent and the child.
One of the best ways to find a good local daycare is to get recommendations and feedback from other people, especially other parents. Ask the daycare, as well as other parents, about that daycare's strengths and weaknesses. What are the specifics of those negatives and positives? Research the daycare you're looking into on the internet as well. There may be comments and information about your local daycare from parents who used their services previously as well as current information. Once you have done all your research, visit the local daycares you like the best to help narrow your selection down even further.
Ideally, a walk-through of a daycare you're interested in should be done on a walk-in basis. That way you are most likely to get a feel for and see what the daycare is truly like on a day-to-day basis. Be observant when you walk in. Taking into account that there are rooms full of children, how clean is the daycare over-all? Other questions to ask include:
* Are there age-appropriate toys?
* Are there enough toys and activities?
* Is the environment educational and engaging?
In terms of safety, is the daycare age-appropriately child-proof? For the younger kids, there should be no exposed sharp corners, but even for older kids there should be child-proofing measures such as locks on outside doors that are out of reach of little hands. Security measures should also extend to unauthorized access from the outside trying to come in.
Other common areas of your local daycare to look into are the kitchen (How much of a variety in menu do the kids get? What about children who are allergic to certain types of food?). If possible, bring your child along for the walk-through. Let them ask questions and be sure to watch how they react to these new surroundings. Most kids are sure to be intimidated, that's normal, but they shouldn't feel distressed. A new, local daycare should be a good fit for all involved.
Some questions need to be answered by the director. Questions such as:
* What certifications are required of the teachers?
* What certifications are required of the assistants and other workers who interact with the kids?
* What certified board does the daycare subscribe to as a whole?
* How often is someone sent out to check that all the requirements are being kept?
* What is the highest health training available on the campus?
* What are the hours of operation?
* If you need your child to stay late, is that an option and how much extra would it cost?
* What materials are you, as the parent, expected to provide?
* What can you and your child expect from the local daycare?
Another important factor in a local daycare is the adult-child ratio, which is usually determined by whatever board certifies the daycare. Obviously, the lower the ratio, the more attention each child will receive, resulting in a better education and greater safety.
After you have walked-through all your local daycare options, its time to compare the facts. Be sure to get input for your child. Armed with their thoughts, your own observations, and the facts from your local daycare options, confidently make the decision you think is best for you and your child.