Face it, not all parents can afford to stay home with their kids. As a working parent, it very often becomes necessary to enroll your child in a daycare center. While you may be understandably a bit nervous, here are some tips for choosing a daycare provider which will help lessen some of the fears and concerns you may have.
- What are the cost involved? Are there any hidden costs?
- Ask where they are located and their hours of operation.
- Check out the daycare centers in your area, either on line or by calling.
- Find out if there are any vacant spots so you can enroll your child.
- Do they supply meals or snacks to the kids?.
- Ensure the daycare provider is licensed. Many times you can check with the state, and a lot of states have this information on the Internet.
- Ask how many children are currently enrolled in the center, and their ages.
- Did you know some states do inspections and post those inspections on the internet? If you have internet access check it out.
- Ask for references or other parents you can talk to.
After you have asked these quesitons, you are not done. It is very important to visit the daycare center and check on, and ask the following:
- Are the children actively engaged in activities?
- Is it clean and safe? Is the ratio of caregiver to child appropriate?
- Are there enough toys and materials with which the caregiver is able to engage the children in activities?
- Do the children seem happy and are being taken care of individually.
- How do the caregivers talk to the children? Are they warm and friendly?
- Ask the administrator to give you background information on the staff. Are they licensed in this particular area?
- Does the center have exits which are readily available to use in case of an emergency.
- Ensure these caregivers have been trained and have the proper credentials.
The final step is first hand inspections. Visit several daycare providers during the early morning hours. Determine which center provides the best care and treatment of your child, and has plenty of activities and materials to keep your child active and focused. Then choose accordingly.
The other alternative is to choose a daycare provider to come to your home. This may produce another set of problems, especially if you bring in a family member. You need to weight your options carefully, and decide which is more affordable and better choice for you and your child. Research, talk to other moms, and network. You can't be too cautious, this will be one of the first major decisions you have to make for your child.