There are around 129,000 child care centers in the U.S as more parents are working while raising kids.
Daycare allows your children to bond with their peers, try new things, and it allows the transition to kindergarten to be easier. Perhaps you’re eager to enroll your little one in daycare, but you’re not sure what to look for.
Sounds familiar? Luckily, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s how to choose the best daycare for your child.
Create a Wish List
Before you Google “best daycare service near me,” write a wish list of everything you want from the center. For example, figure out whether your child needs part-time or part-day care.
You need to consider your child’s age as one may cater to infants while others are multi-age centers where your little one can socialize with other ages. Further, you may want daycare services nearby, especially if you have a long commute to work.
So use your wishlist to narrow down the options and choose the top three to visit.
Consider the Type of Daycare
When you’re searching for the best daycare company, you must consider the services it provides. For instance, there are group daycare centers that are state-licensed, like Happy Bunnies Child Care School.
You can also find in-home daycare centers that are run out of the provider’s home. These aren’t always licensed, so double-check the regulation requirements before enrolling.
If you’re unsure where to start, talk with other parents about daycare centers, and they’ll give you suggestions and feedback.
Check the Daycare Has Insurance and Licenses
The best infant daycare will have insurance to cover any injuries at the center.
Daycare centers must also have state-level licensing as it shows they are legally allowed to run the business. Childcare providers should have NAEYC, NAC, and NECPA accreditations proving they offer high-quality education and follow health and safety regulations.
Many daycare centers display their accreditations, but if you can’t see any, ask the manager, and they should show you the certifications.
Consider the Staff
When choosing a daycare, you mustn’t overlook the employees. Teaching staff should have the right qualifications and experience looking after kids. You should also consider the child: teacher ratio to ensure your little one gets the attention they deserve.
Further, employees should all be first aid certified and trained in CPR. Notice how the teachers treat the children as they should respectively talk to the little ones at eye-level.
Check the Available Activities
Check the daycare center’s website to see which activities they provide and whether they’re age-appropriate. The center may offer outings and field trips to the local park, libraries, and even museums.
There must be a dedicated reading area where children can socialize, expand their vocabulary, and practice with their teachers. Further, the daycare center should have daily storytime to vocalize sounds and improve their reading skills.
Make sure you ask about the activities, as most daycare centers encourage children to sing, dance, and partake in on-the-floor playtime games.
Ask About Meals and Snacks
Many daycare centers offer a hot lunch alongside morning, afternoon, and afterschool snacks. Find out whether your little one must bring along their own and if the center can accommodate any allergies or dietary restrictions.
If your child is picky with food, make sure the center serves a range, so your kid is satisfied.
Go for a Tour
You’ve searched “best daycare near me,” and you’ve found the perfect one. Congrats! The next stage is scheduling a tour to learn more about the facilities and meet the staff.
Consider how the children are with the teachers and if they’re generally happy. You should also factor in the kids’ daily routine to know the type of activities your child will partake in.
You should also ask questions to learn more about the daycare center. For example, ask about the discipline policies and whether they have parent visitation rules. Further, please find out how the daycare center plans to communicate with the parents, whether it’s via newsletters or regular emails.
And ask the daycare center for at least two references. They should be happy to give you names of other parents, and if not, that’s a red flag.
Know the Red Flags
Be aware of telltale signs that the daycare center isn’t suitable for your little one. Consider how clean the classrooms are and whether they’ve been childproofed. For example, there should be covers over any power outlets, stairs blocked by a baby gate, and changing tables or high chairs must have straps.
You should also find out how long employees have worked at the center because if there’s a high turnover, that’s a bad sign. This often indicates that the staff is unhappy in the role and underpaid.
Further, daycare center policies should be displayed or at least on the website as it shows they take the security and safety of the children seriously.
That’s How to Find the Best Daycare Center
Hopefully, after reading this article, you now know how to find the best daycare center for your little one.
Create a wish list, so you know what qualities to look for, choose the perfect type of center for you, and schedule a tour. Make sure they have insurance, offer age-appropriate activities, and nutritious meals for your little one. Happy searching!
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