Signs you need to look for when choosing day care

What are signs of good daycare ? Get an insight from real moms on signs that you need to look for when choosing a day care for your little one.

We all know how important it is to be able to find a good daycare for our child. And we all want to get it right the first time. Believe us choosing a day care becomes easier when you know what to ask for and what to look out for.

We have another article to help you with questions you can ask when choosing a day care for your little one, this one will talk about what to look for.

Asking the right question is important but what is more important is to be able to observe and look for little signs that differentiate a good daycare from an average one.

Signs to look for when choosing a daycare for your kid

Here are some guidelines from real mommies on signs you can look out for when visiting the daycare.

Check if the area is Safe and Secure

Safety and Security of your child is the highest priority. Make sure the centre follows the basic rules of safety.

– Notice if the area is child proofed and make sure that there are no choking hazards.

What we mean by above is that – There should be no sharp objects or corners. Electrical sockets or points should be out of reach and have safety locks. All medicines and hazardous substances should be out of reach. Toys and play equipment should be in good repair. If older babies share space with younger ones, ensure that toys with small parts (choking hazards) are kept away from younger babies at all times. Notice if staircases, windows, balconies and verandas have protective grills. Outdoor play area should be level and safe.

Ideally infants and young babies should have their own separate area as there needs are different.

- A first aid kit and fire extinguisher should be visible and close at hand. If you can not spot one ask if one’s available.

– Check if the daycare is secure for your baby. It should have a secure boundary wall. If possible avoid daycares that are on a busy road. Check if there is a mechanism to ensure that nobody can enter without being noticed or without a valid reason. Similarly there should be a mechanism to ensure that children can not leave without being noticed.

Observe if the area is clean

Check whether the day care is kept clean. Cleanliness is something that you should not compromise on. If the day care facility is unclean there are more chances of your little one falling sick.

– While visiting notice the floors, walks, walls, kitchen area and sleep area to ensure they are kept clean.

– Check if the refrigerator is clean and in working order. Remember this is the place where your child’s medicines and food will be stored.

- Ensure if the Crèche has a supply of good clean running water. Make sure the drinking water is filtered.

– Don’t forget to check the cots and bed linen. Also while you are there notice how many children are sleeping in one cot? Ideally every child should get enough space to sleep. Ensure that the sleeping area is separate and air conditioned/heated.

– Ideally the food preparation areas should be far from toilets and diaper changing stations. Also trash should not be left lying around and unemptied for a long time.

Ensure that the day care is well-lit and is big enough for kids to play

– Observe if the building is adequately lit and ventilated.  You should choose a day care which is adequately lit, ventilated and suitable air-conditioned.

– Notice if the daycare has a plenty of space and an outdoor playing area. Kids should get a chance be exposed to natural light. And as they grow up it is necessary for them to get a chance to play outside everyday. Activities like running, jumping are good for them physically, mentally and socially. So prefer a day care with an outdoor playing area.

Ensure that the day care is well stocked with sturdy books and age appropriate toys

Only having toys and books in a day care is not sufficient, they need to be age appropriate, stimulating and safe.

Books and Play is very important for the social, mental, physical and emotional development of a child. Toys and Books are actually developmental learning tools for a baby. If you think your baby is too young for reading then we suggest you read our other article – five reasons why you should read to your baby.

– When you visit the daycare notice what toys and books are available? Older kids playing with toys meant for younger babies is not a good sign.

– Look out for variety of learning areas – sand, water, art, books, blocks, puzzles; games and drama (dress up). Notice what activities are kids involved in – painting, drawing, gluing and sticking, imaginative play with the sand pit, splash pool or playhouse, story time and reading, construction blocks and play dough, jigsaws and puzzles, moving and dancing to music, singing and recitation.

– Notice what is displayed on the walls. This is important as drawings and paintings displayed could be one of those that children have done themselves. Even if not done by children, then also it will give you an insight on how creative the teachers in the day care are. Moreover, the fact that there is something put up on the walls shows that the day care values creativity.

– Notice if there is any TV or projector set up in the day care. If yes then ask for how much time are the kids exposed to screens. As per American Academy of Pediatrics kids below 2 years should not be exposed to screens as this is a form of passive entertainment. Instead day cares should encourage more interactive activities such as playing and talking in order to improve their listening and social skills.

Observe how the staff members interact with children

This is a very important parameter and in the end this is what will influence your decision. We as parents want to choose a place for our little ones where he or she is loved and cared for.

– Notice how the person who is running the day care interacts with children. Does he or she know their names? More importantly do the kids respond to him or her favorably? If the person visits their classes frequently  then the children will seem comfortable.

Choose a day care where you see this involvement. Having the right person managing the daycare makes all the difference.

– Pay attention to how the staff is interacting with children. Do they come across as warm, caring and responsive? Do they seem vigilant and responsive to the kid’s needs? Can you see the caregiver on the floor playing with the kids or holding one on her lap?

These are small things but make a lot of difference in the longer run. Ideally caregivers should be responsible, enthusiastic and experienced.

– Notice if the staff looks happy or engaged to you. Do they look old enough to have the required patience of dealing with a child? If the staff members seem overworked or unhappy they will not stick around for long. And frequent change in staff in a daycare is not a good sign. As it will mean that your baby will need to re-adjust and re-settle every time the caregiver changes.

Before you enroll your child in a daycare ensure your child knows how to discriminate between Safe and Unsafe touch- Check this most popular article on Teaching Good Touch and Bad Touch to Children << Click Here

Observe what is being fed to kids during meal time

– When you are visiting the daycare, do notice what’s actually been given to children as meals. Can you see children eating chips, sweets or other such junk food? If yes then it means even though the meal plan is healthy and nutritious on papers but it’s not being adhered to.

Try to visit the same centre at different times of the day to get a sense of schedule and how the staff members interact with children. If something does not feel right then trust your gut feeling and investigate other options.

Hope this article helped you establish Signs of a good day care.

In the end, all we will say is – “Do not be fooled by the marketing strategies. Look beyond the credentials and jargons and rely on your observations”. More importantly know your priorities as they will help you in making a decision and choose the right day care for your child.

Don’t you find this article on choosing daycare useful? Do Let me know using comments below. Would love to hear from you if there is anything you think that can be added to this list.

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