If you’re expecting a new addition to the family, you’re likely feeling overwhelmed by decisions to be made. Naming the baby, decorating her nursery, and choosing between cloth diapers and disposables are just a few of the choices expectant parents must make. When it comes to choosing a daycare center, many parents feel paralyzed by the choices in front of them, and aren’t sure which center is right for their family. Keeping a few key points in mind can help you with your decision.
First, when you tour a childcare center, pay attention to how the teachers are interacting with the babies in the infant room. Is each infant being held and cuddled throughout the morning? While all babies must be put down from time to time, having enough close contact with a caregiver is also important. How quickly are babies’ needs being met? During these early years, it’s important to make sure that the daycare has enough hands on deck to soothe and bond with the little ones in their care.
Consistency and predictability are also incredibly important to young children and babies. You may want to ask the director of the childcare center about their turnover rate. When teachers have been with a center for a long period of time and plan on staying awhile, you can be sure that your child will have a chance to bond and attach to the people caring for her each day.
And remember the basics. When you tour a daycare center, ask about their policies. Do they put babies on a feeding schedule? What kind of nap schedule are infants eventually on? What is their sick child policy, and do you feel that it will prevent your young infant from catching illnesses from the toddlers and preschoolers in the facility? What time is dropoff and pickup? Getting to know the center’s policies and routines is important.
Above all, trust your instincts. Just because your friends have raved about a certain center, or another center has the longest waiting lists in town, that doesn’t mean that it is necessarily the best match for your family. When you visit a childcare center, think about how you would feel leaving your baby in their care. If you’re uncomfortable, that feeling is an important one to listen to. You can tour several facilities until you find the one that feels like a secure home for your little one.