Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide, forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.
This sank in only after my son was born. Being a mother is the most beautiful emotion in the world and a working mother's woes begin as her maternity leave comes to an end. So like many others, the ordeal began when I had to look for a daycare for my precious little heart. I must have visited atleast 50 places thankfully my search ended in the perfect place!
Here are my learnings from this entire experience of selecting the right day care.
Steps for finding a Good Day Care
While looking for a day care the following steps should be followed.
1. Identify your priorities
a. List down the key things you are looking at in the day care.
b. Decide the location of your day care. It should be near your work place or close to home,
c. Decide whether you want many children around your child or just a few.
d. Once you have your priorities sorted make a list of all potential day care centers.
2. Do your research
a. Ask around or check online for reviews of the day care centres in your list. Shortlist a handful. .
b. Check their working hours – it should match your working hours and pick up-drop timings.
4. Check References
a. Ask the day care for list of past and present references. The list may be a little biased as the day care will not give the references of people who are not happy but there is no harm in asking.
b. Try and meet at least 1-2 parents of this list. Ask them the following-
i. Why they selected that place?
ii. Ask specific questions as in what they like and dislike about the day care?
5. Test it with your child
a. Visit the day care for few hours with the child.
b. Bring in some excitement in your child's mind saying it's a place to play all day.
c. See how the child and the caregiver interact. The child may not be happy initially but see how the caregiver is trying to make him comfortable.
d. Let the child be there in the day care for a few hours alone for a few days, before you resume work. This will help him settle down.
6. Final Selection of the Day care
a. Plan the mode of travel. If the child has to be sent to school from the day care or picked up from school, work out the logistics.
How to Keep a Continuous Watch on the Day Care
Once your child has started going to the day care, be involved so that you are aware of any changes in the policy or management of the day care. Have a parent – caregiver meetings on regular intervals and keep asking questions. Make surprise visits. Keep talking to the caregiver and give information for example he did not sleep at night so might be a little irritated or he is teething etc. Solve issues with caregiver, if any, immediately and ensure that you are on the same page always. Ask them to share photos/ videos, if possible. Always treat the caregiver in respectful manner. Always trust your instincts and be open to change if needed.
Special Tips for Infant Care
For infants, it is important to check some other points too:
1. Is the caregiver experienced in taking care of babies?
2. Does the caregiver speak to babies? She should even sing or read to him.
3. Is she patient with the baby?
4. What schedule do they follow for your baby's meal and nap times? (As advised by you or their own)
5. How does the caregiver feel about discipline, weaning, toilet training, feeding etc? Are you both on the same page?
6. Is the setting comfortable with appropriate light setting and noise level?
Read more about daycare:
Day Care Yes Or No!, Day Care: A Breakdown Of Pros & Cons, Day care, nanny or grandparents? - A working mother's perfect decision making guide for her child's caregiver, What to check when you visit a Day Care for your child?