Friday, October 14, 2011

How to Choose the Right Daycare for You

Choosing the right daycare can be difficult. Whether you’re just returning to work after becoming a parent, moving, or simply exploring other options, there’s always a lot of factors to consider, and each daycare provider will have their own pros and cons. While it may take a substantial amount of time to research, Choosing the right daycare will ultimately affect your child’s happiness and your peace of mind. Here’s some tips to help you get started on your search:

Licensing & Accreditation
First and foremost, you want to make sure the daycare facility is accredited, licensed and/or approved. While licensing requirements vary by state, they all have certain standards in place to ensure a safe and happy environment for your child. Facilities should display their current license at all times.

While licensing is needed for legal daycare operations in the U.S., accreditation is not. Looking for a daycare that is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), will ensure that your child will engage in daily developmental activities in a safe environment where they are respected and treated as individuals while developing key relationships with staff and peers.

Depending on your work schedule, you may only need part-time daycare, which definitely cuts down on the cost.

However, if you do need full-time daycare, make sure you can easily make it on time to pick up your child each night. Many daycares will charge a fee for each minute you are late, some as much as $5 a minute! If your job is stressful and you can’t always guarantee an on-time departure, make sure there’s a friend or relative around who would be able to pick your child up. Let the daycare provider you choose know of all persons approved to pick up your child so they can keep track of all your information.

You won’t know until you try, but making a visit can definitely help! Speak with the director of the daycare, in addition to staff members, and get a tour. While on the tour, look for happy children and staff, a safe, open environment, staff ratios, a good amount of age appropriate toys and of course, their licensing/accreditation. Make sure you bring a list of questions with you and don’t be afraid to ask more!

Ask Around
If you schedule your visit/tour during the beginning or end of the day, you should be able to get a hold of a few parents and ask them how pleased they are with the daycare services. Also ask friends, neighbors and relatives if they have ever, or know anyone who uses that daycare.

Also check out the article, Top 10 Things Child Care Providers Want You to Know. Ultimately, choosing the right daycare is tough, but by doing your research, you will find one that will keep both you and your child happy.

Already have a child in daycare? Share your tips on how you found the right one for your needs by commenting below, or on our Facebook or twitter pages.

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