We know how busy you are. Your life seems to be one constant state of hurry-hurry-hurry. And that’s just when you’re trying to get out the door in the morning!
When you’re a busy, working professional, you may find it difficult to decide what the best choice is for your kids while you’re at work. Not only do you want options you trust, but you also want to know that your kids are growing, learning, and having a good time. There’s nothing worse than facing a crying child at the end of a long workday or dealing with clingy behavior when you drop your child off in the morning.
Here are a few things to consider when you’re looking for a great daycare center:
1. It should always be licensed and insured. When you are investigating the possibilities, make sure this is the first thing you find out about. You can also look into the Better Business Bureau beforehand.
2. Find out about the child-to-adult ratio. If you see approximately two adults and 20 kids, that’s not a great ratio—two adults won’t effectively engage or manage that many kids. A good rule of thumb is one adult per six kids. Of course, some daycare providers can work well even with slightly higher ratios, but fewer kids to each adult is the optimum choice.
3. Sit in if possible, and see how children interact and what their routines are. If the daycare provider is cagey about letting you observe, that is a sign in itself, and probably not a good one.
Now take a look at a few benefits you and your child can both enjoy from a great daycare:
- Programs that are targeted specifically towards young children, or, depending on the case, towards kids with special needs
- Educational and social stimulation in a nurturing environment
- Stability through established routines
- Friendships with other children while learning cooperation skills
- Peace of mind for parents
- Greater savings than hiring a nanny
Are you still feeling guilty or worried about putting your child in daycare? Several studies suggest you needn’t be so concerned.
A study from UC-Irvine tracked well over a thousand children as young as 1 month old starting in 1991. The results suggest that as long as children have a high level of interaction with caregivers, they benefit from the experience and are better prepared for school later on. The NIH even reports that quality daycare helps children act out less than children in daycare of a lower quality. (Reuters.com, May 14, 2010).
Go ahead and do your homework in advance, and you and your child will soon be on track for a happy, fulfilling daycare experience!