Child day care centers are one of the most useful services dedicated to the full-time working mothers. Though it is tough to be separated from your little baby, due to the harsh rule of busy life, you might find no other alternative but to leave the baby to some trusted caregivers for considerable hours in a day. At present, many child care centers have started their business in almost every city, but few of them offer quality services within an affordable cost-range. Therefore, if you are a working mother and your maternity leave is about to end, then you should start looking for the baby care center as soon as possible; because, finding a suitable baby care center in your vicinity within your desired budget range might take considerable time. You can follow some strategies to choose the best one from bulks of baby day care centers.
List out the child day care centers at your vicinity
You can do a little research for listing out the existing baby care center in your vicinity. It would be better, if you consult with the referral agencies to get the list of available infant day care and baby day care centers in your locality. These referrals can give you some information about the reputation, quality and capacity of those child day cares. Moreover, you can search the internet for the local child day cares and make a list of your own.
Prepare checklist to justify service-quality of local day care centers
If you want to find out the most suitable one from the listed baby day care centers, then you have no alternative but to verify the available facilities and service quality of those centers. To get an effective outcome in short time, you need to make a plan to prepare the checklist of what things are needed to be considered, for choosing your desired baby care center. And at next, you have to manage some time from your busy schedule in order to make physical visits in those centers.
You can include the following issues in your checklist:
License & accreditation related issues
You can verify whether the listed day care centers own state license. These facts ensure that the licensed centers have fulfilled the health & safety standards set by the local and state governments. If your surveyed center does not possess any up-to-date license and accreditation status, then expunge that center from your list.
Joyful & stimulating environment
You can verify whether the listed home day care centers regularly maintain positive environments required for the balanced growth of the babies. To ensure the presence of joyful and stimulating environment in a baby care center, you can check the following essential facts:
- Whether the centers have spacious rooms containing calm environments where the babies can nap comfortably in their individual cribs?
- Do the centers allow the babies to sleep, maintaining their individual schedule of each baby?
- Are the staffs are truly careful to the babies with adorable behavior?
- Are the caregivers can create a stimulating environment by making positive verbal & physical interaction with the babies?
- Whether the centers are providing enough age-fitting toys as well as playtime activities including talking, singing, dancing, reading, etc.in order to keep the babies busy and joyful?
Adult-Child Ratio, Age-groups Separations & Group Size
You need to ask the authorities of the listed child day care centers about several issues regarding their care-giving standard, such as, each adult will provide care to how many babies. You should keep in mind that the lesser the adult to baby ratio, the more care will be provided for the babies. If your baby is younger, then you have to put more emphasis on this issue. Usually, 1:4 (1 adult caring for 4 babies) ratio is good for the infants; whereas, for the 4+ aged babies, this ratio can be 1:10 (1 adult caring for 10 babies).
Another, important issue is that babies aged less than 12 months should be given care separately from the toddlers & older children, so as to avoid any injury.
You should also check the group size of the babies. Smaller sized groups can ensure more care for your kid; because those are calmer & safer. Moreover, small-sized groups can work more efficiently like a family.
Healthy & hygienic environment
You can verify whether the listed child day care centers regularly maintain health and sanitation standards and associated rules. To ensure the presence of healthy and hygienic environment in a center, you can look upon the following issues:
- Do the caregivers properly clean their hands after every attempt of diaper change?
- Are the diaper changing spaces and food preparation areas placed in separated areas?
- Whether the diaper changing spaces are cleaned properly after every time use?
- Do the children are forced to share the teething rings, wash cloths, pacifiers, etc. stuffs?
- Whether the immunization of each baby is kept up-to-date?
- Are the children – who are suffering from bad rash or high fever or diarrhea or vomiting – kept with the other healthy babies?
Safety measures & locked doors
You can verify whether the listed baby day care centers regularly maintain adequate safety measures. To ensure the presence of a safe and secured environment in a center, you can verify some essential facts, for instance,
- Do the cribs of the babies contain pillows & fluffy bedding?
- Whether the babies are sleeping on their backs?
- Do the open stairways have gates?
- Whether the upstairs windows have window guards?
- Are the floors always remain littered with toys?
- Whether the rooms contain auto smoke detectors, safety exits & adequate fire extinguishers?
- Are the rooms, especially the main door of the child day care centers kept locked to prevent the babies from getting outside without the notice of any adult?
- Are the rooms of the child cares contain security cameras to monitor the adult visitors?
- Do the rules allow picking up and dropping off the babies except the authorized visitors by their parents?
Qualification-level of the caregivers
You can ask the authorities of the respective day cares about the possession of baby-care related training and educational qualifications of the caregivers’. It is essential, because the caregivers – possessing academic degrees along with baby-care related special training – have greater potential to care and teach your baby. Your checklist can include questions like,
- Whether the caregivers get the scope to advance their care-giving skills?
- Do the care-givers participate in the baby-care related classes, discussions, seminars, events and workshops?
- Do the caregivers possess basic knowledge regarding first aid & medical issues?
Average working period of the caregivers
You should check the length of the average working period of the caregivers in the listed infant care centers. In many baby care centers the caregivers frequently join and leave jobs. Therefore, you should remove the day care centers from your list in which the caregivers work less than one year on average; because, it might be tough for a baby to adjust with new caregivers frequently.
Baby needs & budget range
However, besides considering the facts inserted into the above mentioned checklist, you need to consider the needs as well as nature and behavioral pattern of your baby. For instance, their liking & disliking, health status, temperament, interests, behavior, learning styles, social interaction skills, need of individualized attention; etc.
And the last but not the least factor is your budget range. Besides the previously mentioned factors from your checklist, you need to consider the cost related issues, such as, transport cost, transport time, monthly or yearly fee, etc. You need to consider the location of the baby day cares and measure the required time-duration to drop off and pick up the baby from the center.
After completion of visits in the listed day care centers, you can make a comparative analysis, among the surveyed centers on the basis of the observed facts inserted into your checklist. At next, you can rank those child day care centers in order to choose the best one. You need to consider every issue in detail depending upon what you have observed during your visits in the listed day care centers. Thus, you can choose the most suitable baby care center for your kid.