How Do I Choose the Best Children’s Daycare Center for My Child?

How Do I Choose the Best Children’s Daycare Center for My Child?

Even before the COVID-19 global pandemic, parents feared placing their child in a daycare center. Some of those reasons included whether the environment was safe for their little one, and anxiety surrounding daycare fatality stories.

But during the pandemic, parents’ worries reached an all-time high – reopening sounded like a nightmare for a lot of families, and it still does with news of the Delta variant.

This frightening news may make children’s daycare centers seem like the last place anyone would want to be. However, for parents across the nation, returning to work is inevitable amidst the reopening of the country.

And if you’re a working parent, choosing the best children’s daycare is simple. Keep reading to learn more!

Know the Different Types of Childcare

The first step in the process is examining your options. What are the different types of children’s daycare out there? Do you prefer in-home care, or would you rather drop them off at a center?

These are all important things you should know before making a concrete decision!

To answer that first question, types of childcare include the following:

  • Family childcare homes
  • Childcare centers
  • School-age childcare
  • Summer and vacation childcare programs
  • Family, friend, and neighbor care
  • Care in your home

As you can see, options for children’s daycare are not limited! There’s something for every family here, which makes choosing an easygoing process.

Make a Few Informed Choices

Now that you know the different types of childcare, the next step is to make a few informed choices about how and where you can visualize your child receiving the best care.

Say you and your spouse are working parents – a childcare center happens to be the best choice. Since this is the greatest option for your family, it’s time to decide which ones you’d like to tour or learn more about.

A great resource for making informed decisions about children’s daycare is https://mochildcareaware.org/. Their Child Care Aware program gives you all the assistance you need.

Look Into Licensing and Policy

Sticking with the childcare center example, once you’ve settled on the daycare that most strongly stole your heart, it’s time to look into the key elements tying this children’s daycare together: licensing and policy.

Licensing

When identifying what license your chosen childcare center is under, keep in mind that licensure does not equal quality of care. However, high-quality children’s daycare centers are typically accredited by:

  • The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)
  • The National Early Childhood Program Accreditation (NECPA)
  • The National Accreditation Commission for Early Care and Education Programs (NAC)

Remember, licensing and accreditation are just the bare minimum of what every single childcare center should have. It’s the staff’s job to ensure they are meeting, if not exceeding, all of their standards in delivering high-quality care.

Policy

Just like licensing, policies exist but require lots of upkeep to maintain what they state or promise.

Good daycare policies should have information and/or procedures for the following:

  • Hours of operation
  • Drop-off and pick-up
  • Emergencies, natural disasters
  • Required forms for daycare enrollment
  • Teacher-parent communication
  • Fire drills
  • Illnesses and when your child should stay home
  • Payment and fee arrangements or due dates
  • Required immunizations
  • Field trips
  • Safe sleep practices
  • Food and nutrition
  • Allergies
  • Breastfeeding support
  • Transportation
  • Substitute caregivers or alternate forms of care
  • Daily schedule
  • Emergency and holiday closings

This may seem like an extremely long list. And it is. But when choosing a children’s daycare center, these are all beyond important factors that should be in the policy of a high-quality childcare center.

Choosing the Best Children’s Daycare Center

At the end of the day, as a parent, only you know what will serve and suit your child best. With that being said, choosing the best children’s daycare center means choosing the best option for you.

When you examine all the different types of care, make informed choices, and look into policy as well as licensing, you are taking all of the right steps toward discovering the children’s daycare that will work best with you and your child.

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