If you’re agonizing about leaving your child in daycare, with someone else taking care of them all day, you’re not alone. Many have felt guilty about it but you shouldn’t.
As a matter of fact, it can be good for your kid according to a study in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. Those who attended center-based childcare have better coping with emotional and peer-related problems. They’re also less likely to develop low prosocial behaviors.
What you should think about carefully is how to choose a daycare. Choosing a daycare center is one of the most important decisions that you have to make as a parent. The time spent at the daycare center is going to have a big and lasting effect on your child’s brain development.
To help you with your decision, here are some things that a high-quality daycare must definitely have.
1. How to Choose a Daycare: Start With Research
An excellent daycare center should have built up a solid reputation. However, you wouldn’t know about it if you don’t do your research.
A good starting point is to ask for recommendations from friends and family. You can also ask your pediatrician or other parents.
2. License (Yes!) Accreditation (Up to You)
When choosing child care for your little boy or girl, the facility should be licensed. This is non-negotiable! Each state will have basic legal requirements for the operation of a daycare.
With regard to accreditation, it’s entirely up to you. You have to consider availability and convenience. For example, only about 7000 programs are accredited by the NAEYC and that’s less than 10% of all child care centers.
While accreditation is nice to have, don’t get too hung up on it. You can still find a great toddlers child care program with the features that are important to you.
3. Qualified and Engaged Teachers
While you’re away, your kid’s well-being is in the hands of the caregivers. You have all the right to ask about their certification and training so you know that you can put your trust in them.
Teachers should have degrees related to early childhood development. They should also know how to administer life-saving maneuvers such as CPR in case of emergencies.
You should also observe how they interact with the children and how the children respond to them.
4. Age-Appropriate Curriculum
What are they teaching the kids? Ask about the goals for the activities and the reasoning behind their schedule. Are they tailoring the curriculum to the age and developmental stage of each child?
Perhaps more importantly, is their teaching philosophy in tune with yours? Your goal for the care and education of your little one should align with what the daycare can provide.
5. A Safe and Healthy Environment
This is another feature that you shouldn’t budge on. A great daycare center is set up with safety in mind at all times. Ask about childproofing, food and toy safety practices, and their SOP for emergency response.
Finding the Right Daycare Center
Hopefully, this article about how to choose a daycare can help you find a safe and nurturing environment for your child. Take all this into consideration but also have your own criteria for what you think is best.
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