Daycare is essential if both parents are working. There are good daycare centers and you can definitely find one which suits most of your requirements. A good idea is to start looking for one at least 6 months prior to the time you want to actually start sending your child. This will give you ample time to look for the best daycare in a relaxed and calm manner, which will help to make the right decision. Here are some tips on what a good home daycare center should be like:
5 signs of a good home daycare
A good name
The first step is to find out from friends and people you know about the reliable and good home daycare near you. It should be known for its nurturing and caring environment, where the babies and children are happy, and taken care of well. But don’t jump into it, and start sending your baby to the most reputed daycare the next day itself. You have to see for yourself, and go with your gut feeling. If it doesn’t feel right, keep searching.
The home daycare should have current license to operate as daycare.
Safe and clean facilities
Safety is paramount when you are looking for a daycare or infant care center. You would be leaving your child in the hands of strangers, after all, so you have to notice all the signs of safety, and how important it is to the ones who run a daycare.
There should be a clear emergency plan that everyone there is aware about. This should be a priority in daycare centers as well as family daycare too. A good home daycare will ensure that no one can just step into the home or center at will. Nor should toddlers or older children be able to step out of the home or center.
All the toys and playing equipment should be devoid of broken or have sharp edges, which may hurt your child. All the bars and stops should be there, the daycare should also have fresh medicine supply, which is kept out of reach of children along with other hazardous substances. The bedding should also be fresh and clean and outdoor play area has to be secure and level.
A good home daycare will ensure that the smoke detectors are working, heaters and radiators are covered and fire extinguisher will be close at hand too. All standard childproofing has to be followed, of course (covered electrical outlets, door latches and safety gates etc).
If the caregiver will drop your child home, then your car seat has to fit comfortably in their car.
Do ask for a tour of the premises, and check to see if the kitchen, floors and walkways are clean. There should be an overall clean look and the trash should be clean. Do the caregivers wash their hands after changing every diaper? Is there enough light, heat and ventilation? These are questions that need some serious retrospection.
Final take – if the home or center looks dilapidated or run down, then don’t even consider it!
A structured time schedule
When you are looking for an infant care center, then the one which has a structured time schedule is one of the good ones. Children and babies need a daily routine, which includes time for stories, play time, nap time, food time and free time. The center should not encourage television or video games at all.
There are centers, which take the children out on regular outings to the park or to the museum, which can stimulate your child. These outings should be well supervised, so that there are enough care takers for the number of children.
Look for a daycare which has numerous age-appropriate educational toys to enhance the neural and motor skills of your child. There should be a program to encourage the social and emotional development of the child too.
If you are looking for a daycare to take care of babies, or older children, it should be one which has established rules, such as operating hours. The sign of a good daycare is that it should be flexible about dropping off and picking up times, but should have fixed ‘sick child’ and food policy and so on.
You should be able to drop by anytime you want to, unannounced. Better, avoid a center/daycare home which does not allow you to visit without informing.
The home caregiver should be experienced and educated, with college education, preferably; or has undergone some kind of training to help in caring for children. Most home daycare givers have hands on experience, as they as usually mothers too. A caring mother who loves children could be great for your child. But CPR as well as other emergency training is a must.
When you are looking for a home environment to take care of babies, you must look for someone who is enthusiastic, responsible, has emergency training and shares the same outlook as yours on child rearing.