How to Choose a Day Center for your Baby
Talk about adulting. This is it.
Likely one of the first big decisions you’ll make when you become a parent. It’s a decision that will deeply impact your family, especially your baby. The folks who care for your baby while you work will become your partners in parenting. They’ll support you, help you understand your baby, cheer you on and encourage you.
And guess what? They’re gonna love your baby!
How do I know? Because I was an infant teacher in a child care center for years and I love, love, loved the babies I cared for. I still think about those little people and wonder where they are and what they’re doing now that they’re all grown up.
Here’s what you need to consider when choosing child care:
- First off, what kind of child care? There’s several different kinds — someone who comes to your home or your child goes to theirs. There’s licensed family day homes, where a person sets up child care in their home and is licensed by the state and then there’s all the different types of child care centers that you see in your town.
- Some things to know about child care centers… they are regulated by the state and have to follow minimum standards for care. These standards are like they’re named, minimal. High quality child care goes far and above these minimum standards. There are several different accreditations that schools can attain. Check out NAEYC accreditation. This would be a great one to search for.
- The environment… what’s your first impression? Is it clean, bright and cheery, child friendly and professional?
- Teacher-child ratios. For infants, look for a 1-3 ratio. 1-4 is good. 1-5 or 6? Nope.
- What’s the staff like? How long have they worked there? What kind of ongoing professional development do they have? Are they responsive to children as you visit the classroom? Do you connect with them?
- Curriculum What are the educational goals of the program? Even babies have a curriculum you know! It should be individualized, as every baby is at a different place developmentally in the first year. Ask about it.
- Communication How can you communicate with the teacher throughout the day? How till they communicate with you? How will they let you know what your baby did all day? Is there an open door policy – can you drop in any time? (um, YES)
The bottom line is this.
Trust your gut. You have a knowing inside that will tell you if its a good fit. If it’s not, then move on to the next option.
Trust your baby to thrive well in child care.
Trust the teachers to do their job with excellence.
You’ve got this mama (and dad). I believe in you. 💕