Here’s a no-brainer:
The thought of leaving your baby with someone else, all day, is troublesome. It is a big decision to do so, especially if it is your first baby. You need to find the highest quality childcare facility that you can trust and leave your baby most at affordable prices while you head to work.
There are several reasons why daycares are beneficial:
1) Continuous care:
Most child care centres accept babies from the early months of infancy to toddlerhood and, sometimes, even beyond.
The development of social skills in their early stages is imperative. Your child will spend a lot of time around other children of the same age group, enabling them to enhance these skills.
If you plan to go back to work and need someone to look after your child, a daycare would be more affordable than a nanny.
Every parent wants a caring, nurturing and stimulating environment to leave their child and head to work without worrying. Is that too much to ask? NO! But once you start doing your research and talking to more and more people, it could get a little overwhelming and stress you out.
This is where it gets tough!
Some parents proactively start looking for daycares or childcare services even before their baby is born. If you are not one of those parents, where do you even begin, and what should you look for in a daycare?
We have spoken to mothers and childcare experts to develop some key points to help you make this all-important decision.
5 Tips for Choosing the Right Day Care for your Kids
1) A nurturing, caring environment:
You will know right away as soon as when you walk-in!
In this case, first impressions are a thing. When you walk-in a daycare during your visit, you have to be extra vigilant.
Take a look at the environment.
- Does it seem welcoming and warm?
- How are the other kids doing there?
- Do they look happy and engaged in activities?
- Are they enjoying themselves?
In their early years, babies require close, loving, interactive relationships with adults to thrive. That is why the babies’ first caregivers need to be responsive, warm, and caring. It should feel like the children are smoothly blending in the environment and humming along.
2) Evaluate Cleanliness and Safety:
Consistent and Predictable care provided to your baby!
Great daycare centres go above and beyond to ensure your child’s safety. Especially with the current pandemic, cleanliness and safety are imperative. This includes child-proofing, a good nutritional plan with adequate food safety standards, and a well sanitized and maintained place. Don’t forget to ask them about the Covid19 safety measures they are taking towards their staff and children’s safety.
Some questions to ask yourself:
- Does it appear to be clean and safe?
- Is the room child-proofed?
- Are there smoke detectors and fire exits?
- Ask about cleaning and sanitization schedules for the diaper station, toys, and play area.
- Do caregivers wear gloves to change diapers?
- Are toys in a good state of repair?
- What about cots and cribs for naptime?
3) Get a sense of the routine and food:
You need to know what your child does all day at the daycare centre while you are working!
Ask them questions about the routine they follow and inquire if they have well-planned daily activities and a proper nutrition plan for your child so that they can eat, play, learn, and nap. When enquiring about the meal plan, ask them if they have all their meals planned out, make sure they take the necessary measures for children with allergies.
For instance, one of the best daycare centres in Calgary has its routines and meals planned out based on children’s age group and other relevant criteria. On their website, they show relevant daycare contact information both the locations, the Franklin SE Calgary Day Care and the Temple NE Calgary Day Care information, daycare related information for parents to stay updated regarding child care program fees, day care registration forms, information regarding any government subsidies for daycare, photo gallery and much more.
Essential questions to ask:
How often do children get sugary treats?
What types of yogurt/bread/granola bars do kids get?
How will allergies or food sensitivities be accommodated?
For babies, how is breastmilk handled?
4) Communication between parents and caregivers:
Your child will be spending most of their day with caregivers; hence you should have efficient and open communication with them!
The daycare centre in Calgary that my husband and I visited recently for our firstborn had such a welcoming staff; we liked the daycare in just one visit. The caregivers were welcoming and seemed excited to make our child a part of their nurturing family. While looking around, the children seemed busy and enjoying themselves. We had a list of questions to ask, and the staff listened and responded with a lot of patience and detail. They asked us various questions about how far we lived from the daycare and informed us about their drop-offs and pick up timings. It is not a good idea to look for a daycare that is too far from home because, let us be realistic; no matter how much you like the place, if it requires you to step out of your schedule, it won’t work!
Ask the daycare if they provide monthly or weekly reports for parents.
How do they involve parent participation in activities, do they have parents on the board, and how often do these activities occur?
During your first visit, you don’t need to know all of the routines, schedules and activities, but it is a good idea to ask questions as it serves as a good indicator of how the daycare might address your concerns in the long run.
5) Go with your gut:
Suppose you get “a weird vibe” or “not a nice feeling” when you first walk-in to the daycare, get moving and go to the next one on the list. If not, it could be something that will come to haunt you later on. One of the most important decisions you will make for your child will be the child care facility you select, so make sure you are completely satisfied with your choice. Ask your friends and family for references if they have any, and check the daycare reviews online.
Don’t let your feelings take precedence over common sense but trust yourself and the decision you make, keeping in mind the above tips and rest will work itself out!