Saturday, May 25, 2024

A Complete Guide to Daycare Decision-Making for New Parents

Enrolling a child in daycare is the start of a new chapter in a family’s life. New parents may get to return to work, school, or other pursuits, while children get opportunities to socialize outside of their family circle. But did you know that being in daycare may also help boost your child’s academic performance in the future? In fact, one study reveals that kids who spent time in high-quality daycare centers had better vocabulary by the fifth grade than those who hadn’t.

Being in daycare gives children opportunities to develop essential skills that can benefit them as they grow. Since your child will be spending a lot of time there, it’s important to choose a daycare that would provide them with a stimulating, nurturing, and supportive environment.

Here’s a complete guide to daycare decision-making for new parents:

Know Your Daycare Options

Two types of daycare centers are generally found in most communities — group daycares and family daycares. The former is run like a typical school, and kids are cared for in groups. Meanwhile, a family or in-home daycare is run out of a care provider’s residence (they are required to have a license to operate). However, typically there’s only one person looking after all the kids.

For parents looking for a place where their kids can learn through a developmentally appropriate curriculum, group daycares may be the best choice since they combine structured learning with guided play. Family daycare centers might be more affordable, but the number of enrichment opportunities (like field trips and class sizes that support large-group socializing skills) could be lower.

Check the Facilities

Once you’ve identified a few daycare centers in your area, schedule a visit to see the facilities. First, check if the premises are safe and clean, well-ventilated, and have sufficient lighting (the latter of which can help prevent accidents).

See if the center’s interior design promotes education and creativity and if there’s plenty of space for everyone to move around. Also, ask if kids are given time to play outside as outdoor time is vital for childhood development.

Trust your instincts while visiting daycares. If you feel like something’s off or doesn’t feel right, think about why. Instead of looking for reasons to say yes, move on and find a daycare center that gives a positive feeling. Such places are usually clean and well-maintained and emanate a cheerful vibe, and the kids look genuinely happy to be there.

Three Questions To Ask Possible Daycares

Before speaking with a daycare manager or owner, prepare a list of questions. Three points to inquire about might include:

1. “What Are the Tuition Fees?”

Review the tuition fee. Do they accept only one-time payments, or do they have more flexible payment plans? Many facilities accept a variety of payment options as well.

Also, is there a waiting list, and how long will it take to secure a spot for your child? This is highly important, especially if you live in a big city or in an area where daycare centers are scarce.

2. “What Accreditations Do You Have?”

You also need to know if they’re accredited and have qualified and experienced staff working for them. One notable aspect to inquire about is if the facility met the DCFS requirements (or, even better, goes beyond them).

Next, ask about their standard protocols for emergencies, accidents, and security. For instance, does the preschool have a mobile app for throughout-the-day updates? How do people get into the building — what is the secure entrance technology? Knowing all these can be beneficial for your peace of mind.

3. “Are Any Meals Included in Tuition?”

Other things to know about is whether they provide meals for the children, or if you have to pack food for your little one. If they serve food, ask to see a meal plan to ensure that your child will be eating nutritious food and snacks throughout the day. A well-rounded meal plan for children is not only healthy but also introduces new colors, textures, and tastes.

Wrapping Up on Our Guide to Researching Daycare Facilities

Finding the right daycare can be a challenge, especially for new parents who have yet to enroll their children in one. But with these tips and a bit of research, you’re better prepared to pick the ideal daycare that can help your little one thrive.

Sandra Chiu works as Director at LadyBug & Friends Daycare and Preschool.

Abubakar is a writer and digital marketing expert. Who has founded multiple blogs and successful businesses in the fields of digital marketing, software development. A full-service digital media agency that partners with clients to boost their business outcomes.

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