Are you a working parent who has started looking for an infant daycare only recently? Or are you perhaps dissatisfied with your child’s daycare services and are looking for an upgrade? It doesn’t matter why you are looking for an infant childcare centre; what matters is that you choose the right one.
Yes, the process can be overwhelming at times. But, remembering that there are infant daycare centres that value your beloved baby’s safety and happiness as much as you do can give you comfort. The first step in finding a daycare like that is identifying the qualities of a good daycare, which you will hopefully be able to do by the end of this blog post.
What are the Qualities of a Good Infant Daycare?
You should be aware that there are no real federal standards for daycare facilities and that licensing and regulations differ from province to province. This means you’ll have to do some research on your own to be able to find the best childcare facility.
Are you thinking to yourself, “Research? But, there is a childcare centre close to my home, I can afford it, and the teachers seem friendly. What is the point of doing research?” This is a common thought among busy parents.
Of course, feeling at ease about leaving your child at daycare is necessary, but we encourage that you collect as much information as possible about the place first. You want a centre that will support your child’s development and assist them in preparing for school. Let’s have a look at the 5 most important factors you should look for in an infant childcare centre, from curriculum to food safety.
Curriculum & Activities for All Ages
Review the facility’s website content (blog, gallery, classroom programs) if accessible to make sure courses and scheduled activities are age-appropriate. You’ll also want to ensure there’s enough time for play, as it’s critical for young children’s overall growth. Working parents can also “drop in” (make unscheduled visits) and request to see the actual classroom activities once you have decided which infant daycare you want to sign your child in.
Early learning for infants can aid your child’s brain development by fostering a sense of connection to the people and things in their surroundings, so discuss the daily and weekly routines with the staff. A variety of activities should be available such as drawing, singing, outdoor play, reading, and role-playing.
Sign-in and Safety Policies
All daycare centres must respect the families’ privacy and the safety of their children at all times. A good facility will have clear and detailed policies and procedures for signing children in and out. Ask about these procedures and look for evidence that the policies are being followed. To do this, you can ask them to show you their sign-in and sign-out book to check if it is active and regularly updated or not.
Don’t forget to check out the general safety policy of the infant daycares you’re considering as well. We know that safety is very important for parents, especially busy parents who can’t drop in to check how their children are doing.
Pleasant Environment, Attentive Teachers
Perhaps one of the most important things you should check in a daycare centre, especially if you are a busy parent, is to see whether you feel good about the people who will be caring for your child. Teachers that take the time to actually talk to you and clear your doubts (no matter how many you have!) are signs that they will keep in touch with you throughout the process, even after you’ve registered.
It’s fine to inquire about anything, whether on Zoom or over the phone; no question is off-limits. A qualified childcare teacher has probably heard it all from busy parents before and will gladly answer your questions.
Supervision and Staff/Child Ratios
Infants should be separately put in see-through cribs without bumpers. Even when your child is napping, a caregiver should keep an eye on them. During naps, many daycare centres have a teacher sit in the newborn sleep area to check the safety and reassure unhappy sleepers at the same time. Be sure to ask about the centre’s ratios to see if that facility does this.
One caretaker should be present for every three to four newborns or young toddlers, and one caretaker should be present for every four to six older toddlers or six to nine preschoolers. These ratios guarantee that your child receives the one-on-one attention necessary for social and emotional growth.
Any Infant Daycare’s Must: A balanced diet
If you have to bring your child’s meals yourself, then you ought to learn about the centre’s rules. Some may request that you bring only healthy foods and nothing that contains too much sugar or sodium. For example, we don’t allow nuts at Clever, and only serve nut-free food, which is much better for children’s health. Infant childcare centres that don’t care about what parents bring or what’s served for the kids at mealtime may not have your child’s best interest in mind.
If the facility has a meal plan scheduled, which suits working parents best, ask what is served at meal and snack times. Don’t forget to inform staff members of your child’s food allergies and digestive issues, if any. Healthy eating habits begin at a young age. Look elsewhere if the centre does not provide a variety of nutritional food options for your baby.
check out our meal plan
Help Your Child’s Transition to Daycare
While your baby may not be grown enough to distinguish between the infant daycare centre and their home, they can certainly distinguish between their mother and the caregiver. They may not be as distressed as you are when you leave them, but you still need to make sure they are as comfortable in childcare as possible.
Start by giving them a tour of their new daycare, introducing them to the team, and allowing caregivers to hold them while you’re nearby. Give your infant an hour or two to explore and get familiar with the new place and people with you nearby. Note that, as a part of our COVID-19 policies, we don’t usually allow parents to enter our facility and your little ones must come in alone.
However, first day parents and children are exceptions to this policy and parents can accompany their children to Clever on their first day, but only for 15 minutes. After that, your beloved will be left in our care. You can pack a comfort object that smells like you and home, like a blanket or a plush animal to help your baby feel more comfortable. This could help naptime go more smoothly too.
Many infant childcare centres follow a predetermined schedule for feeding, napping, and playing with the baby. Consider getting a copy of your infant’s regular class schedule, as well as a list of childcare activities for infants. This way, you can match your baby’s daily schedule to his or her daycare schedule.
If you’ve done your research, interviewed the childcare providers, and learned the daycare centre’s schedule, saying goodbye on the first day will be much easier than you think. If you or your baby are having a difficult time, think of how happy you will be to see each other at the end of the day! Don’t hesitate to contact us if you want to learn more about our infant programs.