Leaving a baby is never easy. No caregiver other than you seems good enough for your bundle of love. Never expect someone to take care of your baby as well as you do, not even your partner. If someone is close enough, then you are one lucky person and have found your bliss. I found my bliss the day I chose a daycare centre. Why did I choose a daycare for my baby over all the other options? That’s a story for some other day. For now, if you are selecting a daycare for your little one, here’s all that you should look for before finalising one.
- Vacancy – Check if the daycare you are looking at has a vacancy. Most of these childcare facilities have a limit to the number of infants they can enrol, and this is necessary to ensure that there is no overcrowding and that your little one gets enough space and attention.
- Fee – As Jessie J rightly said, “It’s all about the money, money, money!”, daycares are all about money! Jokes apart, this must be considered. If the fee is way out of your budget, then you need to rethink your options.
- Timing and Operational Days – You need to check if the daycare schedules match your working hours. You might need to adjust your working hours accordingly or find some other options that match yours. Some childcare facilities don’t operate on Saturdays. Run through their annual holiday calendar. The fee may vary as per timing too. So check what will it cost you if you customise the timings as per your schedule.
- References and Recommendations – Do you know people who have enrolled their child/children in the daycare that you’re looking at? Do they recommend it? If you don’t know anyone, ask the centre to give you the contact details of a few parents who have enrolled their children. It’s always better to get feedback from other parents who have first-hand experienced.
- CCTV Access – Most childcare centres are equipped with cameras to increase the level of child safety. Besides, it allows you to sneak a quick peek at your baby while you’re at work.
- Curriculum – Gone are the days when childcare facilities were just meant to keep your child engaged with random activities. Nowadays, daycares have a curriculum like that of a school, even for infants.
- Plan Long Term – Some daycares are a part of schools that provide education from playschool to senior kg. This assures you that you will not have to go through the trouble of getting your child adjusted to new a school/surrounding later in life.
- Terms and Conditions – It’s always advisable to read the fine print so that you are not caught by surprise later.
- Sharing Cribs – Most daycares have cribs for infants. Sometimes, these are not specially assigned to babies; they are made to sleep in the same cribs based on their sleep schedules. Check with the centre on crib-sharing, and what do they do to maintain hygiene.
- Change in Schedule – You might enrol for a schedule and then would like to change the timing. Check how that can be done and if it will incur additional costs, because the centre will have the availability of caregivers as per the schedule you enrol.
- Early Drop/Late Pickup – Most daycares have a provision for an early drop or a late pick up at an additional cost, should you need it.
- Child to Caregiver Ratio – There are guidelines for staff/child ratios at childcare centres. Learn a little about this before you enrol your child.
- Background Verification of Employees – You are going entrust a stranger with your little one. It is a good idea to ask questions so that your mind is at ease.
- Diaper Changing – Check how frequently they change diapers. If not attended in time, dirty diapers can lead to a diaper rash.
- Sanitisation Schedule – Most centres get their facilities cleaned at the end of the day, and deep clean over the weekends. Check what schedule the centre follows because your child might fall ill frequently due to lack of proper sanitisation.
- Handling Sick Children – You get used to common cold once your baby starts getting exposed to the outside world, and that’s how children build up their immunity eventually. Infants fall sick despite your best efforts. You might be at work when your baby gets a fever or something worse. It is important that the facility takes care of the child without creating panic, until you come to pick your little one. Also, check what is done to quarantine a sick child to ensure others don’t get affected.
- Daily Reports – Daycares maintain records of the amount of food eaten, diapers changed, sleep, etc. Check how this is done and how easily can you access this.
This is a list I prepared from my experience. Have you made yours yet?
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