One of your "to-do's" while pregnant is to visit an infant daycare center. You want to find out if this type of child care would be a good fit for your family.
Here's how to decide which infant daycare center to visit. Decide ahead of time if you want the center close to your home or close to your work. Also, consider how far it'd be from your spouse's work, too. Once you choose a few centers you can narrow down your search by checking if they are open during the hours you need childcare.
Now it's time to schedule a tour and a personal interview with the director and perhaps a few teachers (if available). You'll be able to see what the rooms look like, what kind of toys they have, and what's it's like in their center.
Now it's time to prepare for the interview. Research the testimonials on the infant daycare center's website to get a feel for what other people think of the place. Make notes about what do you want to learn more about and be sure to include these six questions.
What is the Tuition and How Are Payments Made
It's the big question you need to ask each center. If the tuition is outside of your budget what options do they offer to help you out? Also, if you pay them late, what would you be charged a late fee? In addition to tuition, find out if you are charged if you are late to pick up your child. While you're on the subject of money, ask if there are any other additional costs you should be made aware of.
What is the Infant to Child Care Provider Ratio
You want to be sure that your child gets the attention they deserve. An infant needs constant attention, so that ratio should be as low as possible. A favorable ratio would be one childcare provider to three infants or fewer. Each state has their own ratio but the smaller the ratio the better.
What Does the Daily Routine Look Like
You want your newborn's development to include stimulation and learning opportunities. Some great activities could be things like music classes, storytelling, one-on-one interactive play time, sensory time and the use of baby sign language. Also, what schedule will they put your baby on so you can try to replicate that at home? Will that schedule work for you? One last thing, what supplies will you need to provide so that things go according to schedule like diapers, wipes, extra clothes or bed sheets.
How Are Milestones Tracked?
From making the transition from a bottle to a sippy cup to crawling for the first time, infants are continually developing. They reach many milestones in the first year of their lives. Ask what programming is in place at the infant daycare center to track and encourage that babies reach these milestones. Then research this curriculum to see if you think it's fitting for your child.
How Will Your Child Grow Within the Center?
Children in daycare center have the advantage of being in a social situation early on in life. They also get the opportunity for an early education. For this reason, you need to ask about future educational opportunities.
Does the infant daycare center follow a nursery school and pre-k curriculum? If you know that your child will miss the cut-off date for Kindergarten does the infant daycare center offer a Kindergarten program? This would help your child transition well into Kindergarten when the time comes.
How Are Allergies Managed?
If food allergies run in your family you'll want to know if the infant daycare provider can look for early signs. How do they track the food your child eats? If your baby develops hives, it's imperative that the infant daycare provider can recount all the food the child ate that day. Is there a nurse on staff who can treat a child if an allergic reaction occurs? If not, who is qualified to do so?
After a visit and an interview, you'll be in a better position to make a choice. Are any of the infant daycare centers right for your baby?
There are many perks to investing in an infant daycare center. Perhaps you'll decide that one of your local centers is perfect for your child.
Edited by Elizabeth McGrory