Monday, September 12, 2022

A New Mom’s Guide To Choosing The Right Daycare Facility

Deciding to entrust your child into someone else's care can be intimidating, and this guide from a reader can hopefully make this process less scary for you.

Becoming a first-time mom brings a mix of positive and negative emotions. You’re probably thankful for a blessing, a gift of life, bestowed upon you, but you’re also probably afraid at the same time. Those mixed feelings are normal; that’s what a first-time mom should feel.

Taking care of your child is a journey of a lifetime. It may be hard, full of obstacles, and a roller coaster of emotions, but it’s also fun, exciting, and fulfilling.

One of the toughest challenges of being a mom is doing multiple mom duties simultaneously. It’s nearly impossible to care for your child while working. So, you have no choice but to leave childcare duties to someone else, but it’s a big decision to ponder.

Leaving your child with someone else may not sound pleasant, especially for a first-time mom like you. One of the best options you have is enrolling your child in a good daycare facility like Lolo’s Childcare.

Choosing the right daycare for your sweet little angel can be daunting and overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to give your kids the best care possible while away.

What Are The Benefits Of Leaving Your Child In A Daycare Facility?

Before you choose a daycare for your lovely kiddos, it’s crucial to understand the benefits of enrolling them in one. It will help you decide if you want to leave your child in someone else’s care and be comfortable with whatever decision you make.

The benefits of leaving your child in a daycare facility are as follows:

  • Continuous Child Care: Daycare facilities aren’t only limited to infants and toddlers. Sometimes, even elementary schoolers are accepted, especially if they’re not independent enough to be left alone in the house.

  • Essential Developmental Learnings: Daycare facilities are well-equipped with knowledge vital for your little angel’s growth and development. These may include good social skills, language skills, numbers, cognitive skills, and discipline.

  • Improved Social Skills: Daycare facilities help children improve their social skills by exposing them to other children their age. This exposure allows them to make friends and explore a world outside their home with other people than their families.

  • Reduced Cost: Daycare facilities are ideal for mommies with two or more children. It will help you save more than hiring a nanny for them.

What Are The Downsides Of Leaving Your Child In A Daycare Facility?

Daycare facilities are no perfect institutions. In fact, no institution ever is—even the most renowned ones may have downsides. As a first-time mom, you want to understand these downsides to determine what’s best for your child.

The downsides of leaving your child in a daycare facility are as follows:

  • High Cost: Although it can reduce costs for moms with several children, daycare facilities can be more expensive for first-time moms with a single child. But with government or company subsidies, the cost can be more manageable.

  • Exposed Children: Enrolling your child in a daycare facility could expose them to potential illnesses like flu. That’s why it’s vital to look for an excellent facility that knows how to prevent such situations effectively by having strict health protocols.

  • Less Flexible: If you’re planning to work during holidays and other landmark events, look for daycare hubs that offer services on those days. Some facilities are closed during holidays, like schools and other institutions.

  • Unlicensed Care Provider: Some daycare facilities have unlicensed care providers, particularly home daycare hubs. It’s not a bad thing, actually, but if you want to be sure that your child will receive the best care possible, look for those who are licensed instead.

How To Choose A Daycare Facility For Your Child?

As mentioned earlier, choosing the best daycare facility for your sweet children doesn’t have to be confusing and overwhelming. That said, here are some tips and tricks that may help you choose the right daycare hub for your little angels:

1. Do Preparations Ahead Of Time

According to 2019 research by the US Department of Education, more than 50% of children five years old and younger need at least one childcare provider weekly. It means more and more parents are looking for non-parental care providers than before.

On top of that, the demand may depend on your location. And it may be even higher than in other areas. That said, finding a suitable daycare facility might be daunting and overwhelming.

That is why it’s essential to do your homework as early as possible. List down all the daycares in your area, and if you already have one in mind, call them in advance, at least two months earlier, before you require their services.

If you live in a highly urbanized region, consider doing your research much earlier. In fact, many moms are looking for a daycare facility even before their child is born. Remember, the early bird gets the worm—in this case, the best daycare you’ll ever need.

2. Determine The Type Of Daycare Suits Your Child’s Needs

Not all daycare facilities are made equally. So, before you begin searching for the best childcare provider, you must know which type of daycare facility is the most suitable for your child’s needs.

  • Home Daycare Facility

    As the name implies, this daycare hub uses one’s home—the care provider’s—to look after young children. And depending on the state where they’re operating, they may be licensed or not. So, if a license is one of your concerns, check your state regulations for more details.

    Home daycare owners usually allow their children to play and interact with their little clients. Also, it’s not as structured as other daycare facilities, similar to kindergarten schools. But they can provide more personal care because of their small space.

    Nevertheless, home daycare owners don’t have substitute care providers ready to take their place if they become ill and unable to work. In addition, most of them aren’t licensed providers, so you must inspect them for quality.

  • Group Daycare Facility

    Group daycare facilities are structured environments dedicated to the growth and development of many children. These centers are not managed within one’s home. They are a registered business running using a separate building and may even be operating in multiple locations.

    Unlike home daycare facilities, group daycare centers must be registered through their local government, which varies by state. In addition, the program they implement is more organized. They also follow a scheduled opening and closing time similar to school institutions.

    If the schools are open, then they’re as well. But if the schools are not (e.g., during holidays and other national events), they’re closed. Therefore, if you need them to look after your child during the holidays, there’s no guarantee they’re open.

3. Check Their Cost, Schedule, And Location

When it comes to the cost, you want to look for a daycare facility that fits your family’s budget without compromising childcare quality. Write down all the potential daycares and compare their services, reviews, and amenities. Then, see which among them is worth the price.

In terms of location, you want a daycare facility to be as close as possible to your home and work. It should only take you no more than 30 minutes to reach them. Otherwise, you have to consider other options instead.

Lastly, check their schedules. If you plan to have a home daycare facility to look after your child, their schedule might vary depending on their plans. On the contrary, you may consider group daycare for a structured timetable similar to school institutions.

4. Check Whether They’re Accredited Or Licensed

A licensed daycare facility doesn’t mean it’s also accredited. It can be accredited but not licensed, and vice versa. Start by checking your state regulations and determining if they demand daycare facilities to be accredited and licensed.

If you want the best facility for your child, look for accredited ones. It means that they pass rigorous testing and standards set by the government. In addition, these standards are way beyond stern compared to licenses.

Home daycare facilities can be accredited through the National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC). On the other hand, group daycare centers are accredited by a different organization, the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

5. Ask For Their Certifications, Training, And Experience

Certification, training, and experience matter less if you plan to leave your child in a home daycare facility. But they absolutely do when it comes to group daycare institutions.

If you wish to enroll your child in a group daycare institution, ask about their certifications, essential training, and core experience. Then, evaluate them based on the information they provide. If you’re in doubt, go online and look for reviews that can back up their claims.

Nevertheless, all daycare facilities, regardless of what type they belong to, must have the necessary experience when it comes to handling potential emergencies. It is especially crucial when it comes to CPR and first aid training.

6. Identify How Many Kids Their Caregiver Can Look After

When choosing a daycare center, especially group daycare facilities, you want to identify their kid-caregiver ratio. But why? You may ask. It will help guarantee that your child will be taken care of in the best possible way. So, what does it have to do with the ratio, anyway?

If their kid-caregiver ratio is high, your child may not receive the care they need because their caregivers look after too many toddlers at once. So, you want to look for a daycare facility with caregivers supervising no more than five children each.

7. Check If Your Childcare Approach Is Compatible With Theirs

Of course, as a mother, you want your child to receive the best care possible. That includes how you feed them, make them sleep, work on their developmental milestones, and other only-mom-knows childcare principles.

You want your childcare approach to align with your chosen daycare facility. Check how they feed the children under their care, encourage them to sleep, and take care of them in the general sense.

In that case, you may ask these questions:
  • Do the caregivers calm the children to sleep, or do the children calm themselves to sleep?

  • How do their caregivers support opportunities that could help children develop their physical and mental abilities? (This includes all the activities for children, like playtimes and socialization.)

  • How do their caregivers discipline children? You want to ensure that your child won’t be physically punished under their care. Also, determine the other consequences they can give your child and ensure they’re parallel to your beliefs.

  • How do they feed the kids? This is a very strict matter. You want the daycare to follow your detailed instructions as much as possible. Here are some to consider:

    • Formula-fed infants must only be fed during the appropriate feeding times.

    • You must be allowed to bring in pumped breastmilk and ensure they have a proper storage facility to hold it.

    • Check their selection of solid foods for your baby who just started eating it. Then, see if it’s nutritious for your baby. Also, check their approach to weaning babies (spoon-fed purees, self-eating, or a combination of both).

    • Check their nutrition standards when feeding toddlers three years old and above. See if they have a particular set of meals for every age group. Check how they handle allergens and other similar situations. Make sure they know how to prepare food, prevent cross-contamination, and manage a child experiencing allergic reactions.
8. Check The Environment

Once you have chosen the potential daycare facility for your child, you want to see how clean their facilities and amenities are.
  • Make sure they clean every toy and surface regularly.

  • Make sure they wash their hands frequently, especially when changing diapers.

  • Ensure teething accessories such as pacifiers are not shared with other kids. Also, make sure they’re cleaned whenever babies drop them.
Then, check the area for safety.

  • Ensure no hazards, such as electrical wires, are in children’s reach.

  • Make sure children are prevented from accessing stairs and other dangerous areas.

  • Ensure the toys are appropriate for children—no choking hazards. These must promote neither harm nor violence.

Final Words

Being a first-time mom is fulfilling yet difficult, especially when you have to decide whether to leave your kids in someone else’s care to work and support their needs. Ensure to be smart when choosing a daycare facility for your little angels. Follow all the tips above to make the selection process as easy as 1-2-3.