In-Care with a Daycare Center

daycare-kids-in-classIn our busy lives it is easy to forget the importance of staying vigilant after you’ve chosen a daycare center for child.  This vital and often overlooked step is very important in making sure you have quality daycare for child.  You’ll want to monitor the situation to ensure that the daycare center and your child are working out well together.

You definitely don’t want to question the teachers on a daily basis, spend an extra half an hour with them every time you drop them off, or be overly critical about the day-to-day activities.  But you do want  to stay vigilant and watchful for signs of trouble or turmoil within the daycare center.  Often if issues are spotted early they can be resolved easily and quickly.  Make sure to address them as soon as you see them and not to let any issues get out of hand.

It’s important to let your child feel empowered by letting him or her have control of some part of the daily routine. Don’t push them into anything they’re not ready for, but giving them decisions to make will help them feel like a part of the process.  It will really help the transition between home and daycare if your child feels that it is (at least partially) his or her idea. It’s a good idea to to stick to their routine as much as possible. Children like to know what to expect.

Ask the Teacher Specific Questions About the Week

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It is probably too much to ask the teacher every single day for a summary of the day. However, you can definitely ask the teacher at least once a week how things are going.  Asking specifics and looking at examples of what they are doing will help to give you get a better idea of your child’s day at daycare.  Note your discussions and compare them with your priorities and what you’re looking for in a daycare.  Make sure that these are matching up. If they aren’t, raise the concerns you have with the teacher.  Most daycare centers generally have a daily plan for what the children will do, but they are generally unable to accommodate the individual needs of specific children.

Ask Your Child About the Specifics of Their Day

It is important, to ask your child each evening about their day. Ask them specific questions about the activities they were involved in during the day, about teachers, about other kids.  Sometimes it’s hard to get details but if they mention something, ask them more questions about it. This is very good and healthy for your child.  It makes them think about their day and what they liked about it.  This is a very important part of early childhood development.

Talking to your child about the day can also give you a good and accurate idea of what they’re doing at the daycare center.  Should your child mention something that sounds little suspicious, such as hitting, biting, coarse language, or any other strange behavior make sure to remain calm and neutral.  If you overreact, show surprise or anger toward your child when talking you’ll just cripple you ability to find out about their day.  You want to make sure that your child is always 100% comfortable with talking to you about anything.  Should something stand out ask more details about it, being careful not to plant any words, suggestions, or hints of the behavior you’re trying to isolate.  Once you have an idea of what might have happened in the center and the teacher didn’t discuss it with you, make sure to bring it up with the teachers, then the administrators if you need to.  Most daycare centers are highly regulated and required to report to you even the most minor incidents.

The “Drop In”

Any daycare center should allow you to “drop in” anytime.  I find this to be one of the most effective ways to get a true gauge of how the daycare center is run.  During interviews, drop offs, and pickups, the daycare center and its employees will be on their best behavior.  As a responsible parent for the well being of your child, you also need to be sure that these best practices and best behaviors are carried on throughout the day.

It’s best to give your child a few weeks before you have your first drop in visit.  You don’t want to drop in until your child is more comfortable in daycare.  If they’re still nervous or about daycare, your visit could cause quite the scene.  That is definitely something you do not want to happen.  The best scenario is if you are able to observe your child without your child seeing you.  This gives you the opportunity to see how your child interacts with the other kids, how they interact with the teachers and aides, and what a normal day might be like in the center.

I would recommend three or four drop-in visits spaced out about a month apart when you first start a daycare center.  This should help you to get a very accurate idea of how this daycare center runs and how well your child is doing within it.  You can keep up the pattern of visits but the first two or three are most important.  If you can avoid it don’t come in on the same day at the same time every month.  You don’t want them to get used to when you’ll arrive and prepare for your visit.  The whole idea of the drop-in is that they’re not prepared so you get a truer of the daycare center.

Drop-in visits are also a very useful tool should you suspect something is happening at the daycare center and you want to try to catch it happening.  The effectiveness of this visit will depend greatly on the amount of information you can get from your child.  You’ll need to find out if there’s a specific time, a specific child, or specific teacher that your issue might be with and make sure to coordinate your visit with that information.

The Virtual Drop In

Many daycare centers are employing technology to ease parents’ concerns in this area, by using video cameras in the classroom that the front desk or administrators can watch. Some daycare centers even give you the opportunity to watch streaming video of your child’s classroom over the internet, so you can keep track of your children at work.

Daycare preschool centers can be a great experience for you and your child.  They offer a wide variety of services and education, and grant you one of the most flexible daycare options.  It also gives your child good preparation for entering school. The larger classes and the more organized daily routines are the most like a school environment.

The quality of daycare centers can vary widely so be sure to stay vigilant.  They usually have a high turnover rate which means you may see a lot of different teachers for the children. Make an effort to welcome new teachers and pay attention to how your child is reacting to them.

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