As workplaces become more family friendly, many parents are returning to work earlier and are therefore having to make the choice of where to send their child to get the best care. Your choice starts with your child. As parents, we know our children best. We know their strengths and weaknesses. We know what causes them anxiety and what they need to thrive. It’s important to take this into consideration when choosing a childcare facility. Although all childcare centres must follow strict guidelines to be licenced, they can vary in terms of atmosphere, learning and development programs and structure. It’s important to find a childcare centre that suits your family, schedule and parenting style. Childcare workers will be spending a great deal of time with your child so you must be comfortable with the way they operate in order for you to get on with your day comfortably and worry-free.
Visit the centre
Making a visit to your potential childcare centre is the first step in determining if it is the place for you. Do the children seem happy and settled? Are you happy with the cleanliness of the centre? Do the staff seem engaged and are they paying attention to the children in the way you would like?
Talking to the staff will also determine how well you will be able to communicate with them and therefore be able to stay up to date with your child’s day.
You should expect a friendly, warm visit with open communication. After all, if you don’t feel comfortable during your visit, then your child is unlikely to as well.
Following is a list of questions that you should ask your centre’s carers or directors;
- How will the service meet my individual child’s needs?
- Will the same educators care for my child consistantly?
- What qualifications do your educators have?
- How will my child be settled in? What are your processes when my child becomes unwell, unsettled or unhappy?
- How do you include parents into your service? Am I welcome to visit any time of the day? Can I stay to share activities? Do you have opportunities for children to present what they have learned?
- What are the day to day arrangements at the centre? Sleeping, eating, toilet procedures?
- What are your procedures for handling my child’s special needs?
- How will you communicate with me about my child and their progress?
Choosing your child’s care wisely ensures both you and your child are happy and settled and enjoy a great care experience.