Choosing a daycare facility doesn’t have to be a difficult process, in fact if you plan and prepare ahead of time it can be one of the more rewarding aspects of being a parent. The first step in any process such as choosing daycare for your child is to make a list of you and your child’s needs. This list should include things such as how you want your child to be disciplined, what religious or spiritual beliefs you would or would not like your child exposed to, whether or not you want your child to be in a homecare situation or one more like a school where there are multiple caregivers, your child’s likes and dislikes, what your child’s personality is like, as well as, what your child’s health is and what kinds of care he/she may need with regards to that. Once you’ve determined what it is you are looking for in a daycare and what you and your child’s needs and wants are the next step is finding facilities which meet these needs.
Once you have a list of possible facilities the next step is calling and doing an interview over the phone. When you call have your list of needs in front of you so you can ask questions based on what you have on your list. You also want to find out if the facility is licensed in your state, if it is inspected on a regular basis, and if the caregiver(s) have CPR, first aid and early education training. In addition there should be a written discipline, and health policy. Only visit the facilities from your list which are agreeable with all the things you and your child need.
So, you’ve made a list of your needs, you have a list of facilities which you think will meet those needs, now what? Now you visit the facilities who made the grade during the phone interview. However, don’t just visit them once, make a point to visit each facility twice, and do a criminal background check on the caregiver(s). The reason for doing this is so you don’t miss something the first time around. Often when a caregiver knows a parent is coming they will make sure to act appropriately during the time you are there. It may be other behaviors are going on which you would see during the rest of the time if you were there. In fact if the caregiver(s) will agree to it, see if they have an open door policy for parents or prospective parents to drop in unexpectedly. This will give you a better idea of exactly how the facility is run all the time not just when a parent visits. Also question other parents there, be subtle but ask the same kinds of questions you asked during your phone interview. If other parent’s responses agree with the caregiver(s), the caregiver(s) passed the criminal background check, and the facility fits your personal requirements then you have possibly found a good fit for you and your child.
If for some reason none of the facilities you visit meet your standards and/or the caregiver(s) don’t pass the criminal background check, then don’t pick the best out the lot and call it good. Instead look at your personal list of needs again and modify it. Then go through the entire process a second time with hopefully better results and you being far wiser about choosing a daycare for your child.
Choosing a daycare for your child is one of the most important things you can do for him/her. You’re going to be leaving your child in the arms of this caregiver(s) while you are at work, and you’re trusting them with your most prized possession. It’s important to make sure this task is done right the first time.