Daycares have always been popular, and for quite a number of reasons, too. They provide both parents and children with some time away from each other, letting parents tend to their adult tasks and letting children make friends on their own and be a little independent.
The list of benefits a daycare can offer is really long; but will your child reap all those benefits? Not necessarily. If your child is to be away from you for a while, choose a daycare that has these six must-haves.
1. Safety, Safety, Safety
Is this a secure place?
No great quality really means anything if the daycare lacks security. You keep a watchful eye on your child when they are outside with yourself, and a daycare should convince you that it keeps a similar or better watch.
Feel free to ask as many questions as you like, and here are some questions you could ask the daycare:
Does the building comply with safety construction standards?
Is the building proofed against natural disasters, inside and out? (Is it flood-proof, earthquake-proof, etc.?)
Are people’s identities checked upon entrance?
Who is allowed in the building? Are strangers prohibited from entering?
Are there security cameras installed?
Are dangerous objects away from children’s reach?
Are the staff constantly watching children?
Clever Daycare, for example, goes to extreme lengths to ensure your child’s security; from keycard access to heated sidewalks so children don’t trip outside. You could book a tour and see for yourself!
Is this place clean at all times?
Any place containing more than a handful of people will have to be cleaned, and regularly, too. This is especially important when it comes to children; because they can easily be distracted from hygiene, and are more susceptible to diseases.
Here’s a list of questions you might find useful:
How often is the place cleaned? Is there a disinfection time gap between receiving groups of children?
How many children are grouped together? How many different rooms and areas does the daycare have?
What disinfectants are used? (Especially with toys, since they are shared among children. Also, it’s generally agreed that alcohol-based products are quicker in eliminating viruses than, for example, iodine-based products.)
Do people (including children) undergo a sanitization procedure before entrance?
Are children free to bring their own toys? How are these toys handled?
New questions could arise with different services a daycare might provide. For example, if the daycare provides nutrition, the issue of cleanliness extends there as well. (Where the food is prepared, who prepares it, how it is brought to children, etc.)
3. A Welcoming Environment
Is this a place my child would like to go to?
Children are greatly affected by the environment they are in. They would certainly be more enthusiastic in a colorful room than in a cubicle with grey walls. So, the children’s area of a daycare should be painted with bright colors that complement each other, the colors should be pleasant to look at (that is, not too shiny for the naked eye), and the artworks must be artistically designed.
The children’s area must also be designed exclusively for children. There should be a variety of toys for all ages, children should be able to reach toys and tools by themselves, there should be child-sized chairs and tables for everyone to sit on, and this same consideration must be taken to bathrooms and sinks as well.
4. Proper Programs
What is my child going to do there?
Always check the daycare’s website or social media, see if their curricula (and amenities) fit your expectations and your child’s needs. One daycare might put great emphasis on fostering creative thinking, another might value art above everything, and yet another might not have a particular educational curriculum at all. You might choose any of these three daycares depending on your own educational expectations. Ask yourself, what do you want your child to do or learn? If you have a specific area you would like your child to be immersed in, inquire about that area.
Children are going to engage in different activities in a daycare, regardless of the specifics of a curriculum. Be sure to take a look at these general activities and see if they appeal to you. You might want to inquire about the thinking behind these activities. If a daycare is using an educational program developed by another team or organization, look up the program and see how successful it has been elsewhere.
5. Professional Staff
Who is directly caring for my child?
Ultimately, it is the staff who make things happen, not buildings or programs. Who are the staff and how are they qualified? How were they hired in that particular daycare? What experiences do the current staff have? How do they handle tasks, conflicts, and problems?
Also, make sure there are enough staff members for the number of children the daycare receives. As a general rule of thumb, the lower the staff-to-child ratio, the better. This is the number of children for whom one caregiver is responsible. This ratio must necessarily be lower for younger children since they need more one-on-one attention.
Is this service easy to obtain?
A daycare could receive perfect scores for all of the above items, but be on the other side of the city! In short, if it’s not convenient for you and your child, it’s probably not a good option.
Think of your particular schedule and needs, then look for a daycare that gives you the best service with minimum stress.
- Drop-in childcare options are particularly useful if you’re likely to need to leave your child somewhere at the last minute.
- School transportation services might come in handy if your schedule doesn’t exactly match your child’s school time.
- Other considerations might be needed if your child needs any special education or therapy.
If you decide to leave your child at a daycare, make sure the daycare:
is secure; they keep your child safe.
is clean; your child isn’t likely to contract a disease.
is welcoming; your child feels comfortable there.
has proper programs; your child will learn things the right way.
has professional staff; your child is in good hands.
is convenient; it’s there when and where you need it.
Clever daycare takes all these factors into account. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us!