I have been a stay at home mom since I have had Maverik and I personally am just uncomfortable with the whole daycare idea. Usually, I always hired nannies and for a day or two we tried out the in-home daycare. I’m also part of this great program that helps me keep my son on up to date on his milestones and it lets me know what his development is. You can check it out here! The only thing he is really behind in his social skills. So that was another reason why I decided I would be okay with a daycare and try it out.
I was told one of the best options is daycare. Daycare can be super helpful because the teachers are licensed and trained. Here is some helpful information you need to know before you choose a daycare!
There are two types of daycares…
Group Daycare: This is a facility that is state-licensed and ran similar to a school, with kids varying different ages!
Home Daycare: This childcare is run out of the provider’s home, often as she cares for her own children at the same time. While some home daycare providers have received training and are state-licensed, many are not.
- Continuous care: Most child care centers offer care from the early months of infancy to teenage years.
- Education: A well-organized program is geared towards Maverik’s development and growth.
- Socialization: Maverik will get lots of face time with other little ones.
- Cost: I have always hired a nanny since I’ve become a mom, but now I am wanting to save more money so daycare is cheaper!
- Reliability: Most centers stay open for about 12 hours, with several teachers so I won’t have to worry about “back up”.
- Specific to group daycare: Staff is trained and licensed. And because there’s more than one caregiver, there’s always extra. Being CPR certified and having experience is so important to me!
- Cost: While daycare centers are less expensive than private child care, it’s still pricey unless I get help from the government or my company.
- Exposure to illnesses: They’re exposed to more kids, babies may get sick more often than those in another childcare setting — though that is just a precursor of what’s to come in preschool. In fact, early germ exposure can actually toughen up baby’s immune system.
- Specific to group daycare: There may be less flexibility in scheduling than in a more informal setting, and the center may be closed on holidays when you’re working if it follows a public school calendar.
- Specific to home daycare: Some providers (like those run by religious organizations) are unlicensed and don’t need to have childcare training — which means they aren’t regularly inspected for quality and may not have to abide by group size, child-to-caregiver ratios, activities, and materials. And if the infant-caregiver (or one of her kids) is sick, there’s usually no backup caregiver at the ready, not reliable at all, so you’ll need an on-call sitter (or a very understanding boss).
Cece talks a lot about pros and cons for her children because she has more than one child unlike me. In her post, she will talk about the benefits, and what exactly she needs since she has more than one child.
You can also check out this ultimate guide to saving on childcare.
Steps To Choosing Your Daycare
Depending on where you live you might want to start looking for a daycare early. Maverik lives in a place that is between a city and a town population so we just got lucky and found openings right away, and a couple we would have to wait a couple weeks to get in.
- Do your research.
- Interview centers.
- Check the center out in person.
- Check references.
- Drop by unannounced.
By the time your child goes to a daycare or stays with a nanny make sure your child knows the basic safety rules to keep himself safe while in care of others. I found these great courses to help me with my fear and to be able to teach my son about safety when it comes to strangers. You can check out this 5-day FREE course here about safety with strangers. It has some GREAT recourses. If you are like me you will want to know every single little detail, and what ways you can help your little one, so I also wanted you to check out this course that teaches you and your little one positive ways about what to do with strangers. Do not be that parent that is clueless, you do not want to live with regret! This course teaches foundation with children, safe communications with strangers, strangers to avoid if a stranger becomes to close, and so much more! Check out the FULL 3-hour course right here! I know my son is young but its never early to get started! The more educated you are the safer you and your family will be!
Questions to Ask The Daycare
- What’s your cost (tuition and application fee) and schedule? If these answers are way out of line with your budget or schedule, it’s an easy way to eliminate a provider from your list.
- Is there a waiting list? Some daycares, especially for infants and younger babies in larger cities, have long waiting lists.
- What’s your accreditation? While a state license can’t guarantee that your baby will get lots of attention from a qualified and loving caregiver, it does boost your odds and mean the provider has met government-set health and safety standards. Learn more about your individual state’s licensing requirements at the National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education or at Child Care Aware. Here’s what else to look for:
- Group daycare centers: Those accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) meet even higher standards, including a good ratio of adults to babies; low turnover in caregivers; and a philosophy that promotes the health, safety, and development of kids in its care.
- In-home daycare: If it’s accredited by the National Association for Family Child Care, the provider has met higher standards.
- How many children will you care for at once? Because babies and young toddlers need lots of attention, be sure the facility sets limits:
- Group daycare centers: Look for a max of six babies or eight toddlers per group, with ideally one staffer for every three babies (up to 12 months) and one staffer for every four toddlers (13 to 30 months).
- In-home daycare: Six kids (including the caregivers own) should be the limit, with no more than two kids under 2 years old.
- What’s your childcare philosophy? Make sure you’re comfortable with the caregiver’s policies on early education, discipline, soothing and feeding. Ask questions like:
- What would you do if my baby kept reaching for something after you told him no?
- Do you believe in disciplining bad toddler behavior with consequences or time-outs?
- How do you handle a baby who cries because he wants to be held all the time?
- What happens when two kids want to play with the same toy?
- -do you do if a baby refuses to eat?
- The type of baby food do you feed babies who’ve started solids?
- Qualifications and experience do you have? The caregiver should be trained in CPR and first a group center, the director should have a degree in early childhood education, while teachers should have training in that field or early childhood development. In family daycares, training can be hard to find — but you definitely want someone who has hands-on experience with kids your baby’s age (the caregiver’s own kids count).
- Are parents involved? Are parents invited to participate in the program in some way? And if it’s a group center, is there a parent board that makes up policy? Will you be required to participate, and if so will it fit into your schedule?
- What are your policies regarding immunizations? It’s possible that daycares you’re considering, especially if they’re unlicensed, don’t require kids to be fully immunized. I personally do not vaccinate Maverik so I had to get a note from his doctor! So keep that in mind that just because some daycares require immunization records doesn’t mean every child has it!
- What are health requirements for caregivers? They should have had complete medical checkups, including a TB test, and received all their vaccinations or doctors note.
- How are sick kids handled? The provider should have clear-cut guidelines about sick kids staying home and a time frame for parents to fetch kids who become ill under their care.
- What do you serve kids to eat? All meals and snacks should be wholesome, safe and appropriate for the ages of the kids being served. Parental instructions regarding breast milk, formula, solids and meal schedules should be followed. After age 1 bottles are not allowed, you have to use sippy cups. I found these AMAZING bottles that will help you transition into a sippy cup!
For a group daycare, also ask:
- How long have the teachers been on staff? High turnover is a bad sign — it could mean the workers aren’t paid well and/or aren’t qualified for childcare.
- How is the staff screened? All daycare workers should have had a complete health and criminal background checks. Ask if you can see proof of this if you come to inspect the facility.
For a home daycare, also ask:
- Who else will be in the house when my child is there? Get the scoop on all adults, teens, and elders. Find out what roles they’ll play in your child’s care and, if they’ll be involved, what kind of experience they have with kids. Ask about pets too, in case your child has allergies or a fear of animals.
- What about policies for personal emergencies and time off? Find out what the caregiver does with kids when personal emergencies arise that require her to leave, as well as how many vacation days she takes and how much advance notice she gives you before her days off. (I have literally been notified only two hours before I was supposed to drop Maverik off…ugh!)
- Is there a backup option? Don’t be surprised if there is none — but it’s good to know the deal beforehand so you can have a plan in place. (YOU WANT A BACKUP READY!!!)
- Does your insurance cover my child? Of course, you hope you’ll never need it, but find out if the caregiver’s homeowner’s insurance covers injuries to any child in her care.
What To Look For When You Visit Daycare
Once you’ve screened your daycare options, schedule a visit at three to five group/family daycare centers. Make sure you see the following features before you enroll your baby:
-Happy children and staff
-A stimulating environment
-Separation of age groups
-A clean and healthy setting
A well-run group daycare center spells out its health and sanitation rules on a sign, and then follows them:
- Caregivers wash hands after each diaper change
- The diapering and food prep areas are kept separate and scrubbed after each use
- Feeding utensils are washed in a dishwasher or are disposable
- Bottles are prepared under sanitary conditions
- Teething rings, pacifiers, and washcloths shouldn’t be shared
- Toys are rinsed off with a sanitizing solution, and/or each child gets a separate box
Make sure that the daycare provides a safe environment for kids by taking the same safety precautions you do at home. There should be:
- No choking hazards, including small toys or playthings that can break apart into small pieces
- No pillows or fluffy bedding in cribs; babies should be put to sleep on their backs
- Gates on open stairways
- Window guards on upstairs windows
- Spic-and-span kitchen and bathroom and (ideally) an enclosed outdoor space for play
- Clear floors (not littered with toys)
- Smoke detectors clearly marked exits and fire extinguishers
If you feel like something is going wrong do not be afraid to get a micro camera to find out for yourself.
When it comes down to it you want to be able to make sure you are ready for daycare. You can read about easing into childcare here!
Make sure you are saving as much money as possible, you can check out this ultimate guide!
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