What to Look for in a Daycare Center

boys_readingDaycare centers can be as varied as the children they have in them.  Some focus on early child development, some on physical education while others work as a preschool to prepare your children for the years ahead. They can also range greatly in quality and price. In this article we will help you ask the right questions and know what to watch for. At www.decideondaycare.com we will help you with what to look for in a daycare center.

A daycare center is a good option for childcare, especially for parents with jobs that have longer hours or where it is difficult to take time off without much notice.  A teacher can be home sick or on vacation but the center will still be able to take your child. The downside of a daycare center is that different people will be working with your child. Daycare centers tend to have high staff turnover.

When you contact them, you’ll want to know if they have any openings for your child’s age.  If they don’t have a spot immediately, ask if your child can be put on a waiting list. After availability, you’ll need to know:

  • Hours
  • Weekly rate (do you pay the same amount regardless of if the child attends or not?)
  • When is the payment due?
  • What methods of payment are acceptable?
  • Do they offer any discounts (employee discounts for large area companies, discounts for paying a month at a time, sibling discounts)
  • Location
  • Is the provider licensed?
  • If you have a school-age child, is transportation to and from school available?

If the provider’s information is fitting your needs so far, you can get more specific:

  • What kind of security system do they have? Parents should have to check in at the front desk before going to the children’s rooms.
  • What kind of discipline do they use?
  • Are there any preschool activities?
  • What activities do the kids do during the day?
  • Do the children play outside?
  • Do the children go on field trips?
  • Are babies fed on demand or on a schedule?
  • If you have a baby or toddler, do they potty train? What method is used (does it match your own plan for your child?)

There are other subjects to consider, that are a bit more delicate, and are really more personal preference items:

  • Religion – how does the provider handle Christmas and Easter, for example?
  • What kind of food is served? What is a typical meal?
  • How often do they receive sweets or candy?
  • How much time will they typically spend watching T.V. or movies? What kind of programming will they watch when they do watch something?
  • What role does music/art/science play in the daycare?

You may want to search online for the daycare center, to check for news items regarding the center. Also check the Better Business Bureau:  www.bbb.org

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