Choosing a Childcare Center – 5 Steps for Every Caring Parent
When you’re expecting a baby, the birth seems like the biggest concern you’ll ever have. After that, you focus on the feeding process and various routines your beloved little miracle is acquiring on the go (or rather on the crawl).
However, all these periods look less stressful when your kid reaches the age when they’re ready for a childcare facility. When you baby is with you, you have control over everything they do, but this can’t last forever. Even if you aren’t employed, at one point your child needs to start socializing. This is where childcare comes on stage. Every parent wants to find the best childcare provider for their child. In the following lines you’ll find out more about the most important features you should take care of when selecting a childcare provider.
The staff analysis
You don’t have to be a pediatrician or a psychologist to realize that every child needs as much care as it gets. Naturally, when you leave your kid in a kindergarten or any other childcare facility, you want everything to be perfect for your little prince(ss).
Since your role will be played by the care-giving staff working in that facility, the reputation of the staff members need to take a high place on your checklist.
First and foremost, ask the managers of the childcare facility you’re interested in to tell you more about their workers. A renowned childcare provider will hire only reliable governesses and nannies. Still, you should do some stuff research on your own.
When the owners give you the information about their staff, narrow down the list of the most interesting candidates. Some childcare centers will allow you to choose the group with the nanny you prefer.
On the other hand, some providers don’t form groups of children, but all the childcare workers take care of all the children. Check which option suits you better, so as not to waste time on a childcare center and their staff if you dislike their organization in the first place.
Finally, when you’ve handpicked a couple of caregivers, arrange a meeting with each of them. Talk to them about their nursing styles and check their references.
Only such an approach will give you the necessary insight into their skills and experience.
The childcare center safety features
In addition to the staff members who are going to look after your kids, you need to pay attention to the safety measures in the childcare center you’re about to choose.
While every such center should be meticulously clean and safe by default, it doesn’t always have to be the case.
That’s why you should conduct your own investigation.
If you want to avoid wasting time on unsatisfactory childcare centers, check the ones you’re considering with the Ofsted search (Ofsted – the UK Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills). Ofsted is a special agency formed by the British Government whose main task is to check and grade childcare centers.
After that, contact the providers that pass this first round of your testing process and make an appointment. Also, make an inquiry to take a good look around each of these centers and get familiar with the safety measures they’ve taken. The safety checklist for childcare centers, compiled by the Central Bedfordshire Council, could be more than helpful while conducting this check.
You should pay attention to the basic hygienic standards, such as the quality of the paint on the walls and the toilets.
Apart from that, make sure that you inspect some additional elements, such as the toys and the playing areas. Also, check if the furniture is childproof.
Of course, you can’t prevent your kid from falling down on the floor from time to time, but you can opt for a childcare center that invests in preventing children’s injuries.
The nutrition program
A large number of modern families don’t manage to keep a healthy lifestyle. According to the report published by the Guardian, about 10% of first-year school children in the UK are obese.
The fact is that many babies, toddlers and school children lead sedentary lifestyles. This ought to change if we want our kids to become healthy adults.
Because of that, you should discuss the nutrition program in every childcare center you visit. What do they eat for breakfast? Do they allow children to eat sweets and snacks? If the answer is affirmative, ask for a more personalized approach to your kid if you like all the other conditions in that childcare center.
Also, insist that your kid shouldn’t drink juices with sugar and soda drinks, but make sure that they serve your kid healthy, natural drinks.
The policy on physical activity
When choosing the right childcare provider, you should find out how much physical activity kids have at that center. How many hours a day do they spend playing outside? Inquire if their workout plan for kids is in compliance with the guidelines recommended by the National Health Service.
Further, ask them about their policy regarding TV-programs and video games. Since children will have enough time to master all the visual gadgets of the modern world, the childcare center should stimulate their brain and boost their intelligence through various games.
The decision is up to you, but your child should have the proper balance when it comes to moving and sitting. That way, if the kid spends a lot of time sitting at home, opt for a childcare center that brings more physical activity into focus.
The word of mouth
The word of mouth is still the most powerful form of advertising. Also, it’s one of the most efficient data-collecting tactics when selecting the right childcare center for your baby.
Therefore, talk to your friends and acquaintances, so as to find out more about their preferences and recommendations regarding childcare centers. Still, take everything they tell you with a grain of salt. You should always do the final inspection in person and see if their suggestions work for you.
Apart from face-to-face communication in everyday interactions, turn to the Internet to learn more about different childcare centers. For instance, you can join various parenting groups on Facebook and take part in their discussions. Nowadays, the word of mouth also comes in the form of comments in online discussions.
Separating from your kid will is a painful process for both parties, but you know that it’s inevitable. What’s more, children need to socialize outside their family, as well. If you choose the right childcare facility with reliable staff, the entire process will be much easier for your kid and you. We hope that the tips presented in this text will help you make the right decision and select the best childcare provider for your child.
AuthorBio: Anne Harris is an HR specialist working for londongoverness.com. She recruits nannies, governesses and other childcare professionals, ensuring top-notch services for parents worldwide. In her free time she likes reading about education, and children's welfare, as well as visiting sports events.