Putting your child under someone else’s care is not a decision you should make easily. You need a childcare provider who can take good care of your child. At the top of your list is a childcare provider who will make your child feel cared for, safe, and loved.
Your child needs a safe environment in which they learn, grow and build relationships. To be certain of getting the right child care provider, you need to ask some specific questions.
1. Is There a Spot for My Child?
This may sound like a no-brainer but it is a key question. Availability of space is key to getting your child into a daycare. If the provider has slots for only twenty children, don’t pressurize them to take your child as this would strain their resources and perhaps even compromise the quality of care per child, including yours. If they are maxed out, establish if they have a waiting list and get yourself on it if you are willing to wait.
2. How Much Does It Cost?
Of course, you need to afford it; but it can be expensive with certain providers due to extra costs such as late pick-up fees. There are likely to be different rates for part-time and full-time enrollment if both options are available. Ask for full disclosure about all the costs involved. You also need to know how flexible they are with their pick-up and drop-off times. If they have subsidized spots, ask to see if you qualify. The key thing to note is that costs vary from one provider to another, so do their services.
3. Are You Licensed?
Your child’s health and safety are important. With a licensed childcare provider, you have some level of confidence that you are dealing with a vetted and approved institution.
4. How Does the Provider Guarantee the Safety and Health of Children?
The number of children at a daycare may also determine the quality of care given. Too many children with too few caregivers may compromise the quality of care. You also need to establish what happens when a child gets sick. Are they treated or sent home? Also, make sure the institution has in place safety measures such as fire extinguishers, safety plugs and gates, a first aid kit, smoke detectors, etc.
They should also have an emergency evacuation plan. Bottom line: the place has to be clean and safe for your child.
5. What Kind of Meals Do You Provide?
A good nutrition is key to the development and health of your child. Establish how the food is prepared: on-site or supplied by outside caterers. If your child has special dietary needs, ask if this can be accommodated. It is also good to know the type of snacks and meals the institution provides. If you are breastfeeding, establish if they have a fridge for storing harvested breast milk for your child.
6. What Activities Do You Have That Support Learning and Play?
Ask the provider what your child’s daily activities will look like. This should include outdoor and indoor activities. Besides, what play materials are available to support creativity, social interaction, and learning? The key here is to be certain your child will be actively engaged. Also, make sure the provider has adequate rest/ sleep times for your child.
A good childcare provider creates an environment that supports your child’s learning and physical development through exploration and play. The caregivers should be qualified to handle children in a professional manner. A safe and clean environment where children can learn, play, and rest without endangering themselves is a prerequisite for a good childcare provider.