Picking the right day care for your children can be practically stressful for working mothers. Dropping off your child to daycare every morning for strangers to comfort while you head off to make a living and provide for your family can be quite stressful. However, knowing that your child is in a warm, friendly, and safe environment can go a long ways to ease some of that tension. Here are some signs of a good daycare center and the things you should be looking for when finding a suitable daycare for your children.
1. Reputation. Ask around. Ask neighbors, friends, parents whose children attend the center, ask the schools that have daily contact with the center, and ask away. If these people have doubts, their judgment should be an important part of your decision.
2. Caring and well-qualified staff. Watch staff interaction with children. Is the staff enthusiastic and interactive in a positive way towards the children? The daycare should also have strong viewpoint about feeding, napping and discipline. Make sure that those viewpoints match yours. Education of center staff should include at least two years of college in childhood development and first aid and CPR training. Further, the American Pediatric Association has certain teacher-child ratios. Make sure the daycare staff is following those guidelines.
3. Safety and cleanliness. This is a given because good facility will have clean floors, walls, restrooms, kitchens and changing stations. Further, the facility should be properly lighted and ventilated. There should be cleanliness policies that are well-written and known by all staff. These policies should include things like hand-washing and keeping toys and equipment in a safe and clean matter. There should also be an emergency plan, first aid kits, fire extinguishers and alarms and childproof storage rooms.
4. A current license. Make sure the center is licensed by the local city services department. Also, ask if they are accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Understand that laws are different in every state and you can always check with your local childcare regulatory agency. In Ohio, the regulatory agency is the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family. At the ODJFS website, you will find information from the types of child care facilities and the requirements for those facilities, information and forms about dental and medical first aid, enrollment, and even financial aid for childcare.
5. Established Rules and Policies. A good daycare has set hours, set schedules, rules regarding sick children, and requirements about immunizations and health checkups, and quite often those are governed by the local regulatory agency, but it does not that you should not find out for yourself. The center should also have an open door policy for parents to stop by unannounced. A center without this type of policy is not a center you want your child go to.
6. A full and complete schedule of activities. Play time, quiet time, individual play, meal times, snack times, and group activities are elements of a complete day care schedule. Additionally, a good schedule does not include TV and movies. A variety of topics should be taught at the appropriate age level. Toys and games should be creative, fun and educational.
There is not much a working mother can doing about having to work and provide for her family, but finding a place where your children feel safe and welcome during the day can put your mind at ease. Most working mothers already have enough to think about during their workday, and the daycare facility should not be not one of things.