Choosing Childcare - Tips to help you to decide what is best for you...
Choosing Childcare is a Big Decision
Choosing your child’s day-care is one of the first most important decisions that any parent has to make and it can be quite daunting to know what the right choice is for you. Most childcare providers are familiar with how difficult this decision can be and they are also ver familiar with some tears from the parents during the first day or so that you need to leave your child!
Different types of day-care will work best for different parents depending on your working hours, location and your child's needs. Remember that you are the person who knows your child best so you and your child need to be happy with the final choice!
Check online daycare reviews or to get recommendations from other parents before you go to visit.
When visiting a childcare facility for the first time it is a good idea to take a friend or your partner with you for a second opinion. Trust your instincts and don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you are afraid you will forget to ask an important question write some notes on a little notepad before you go.
During your visit try to observe
1. Is there a welcoming environment?
2. Are the carers friendly?
3. Is there good interaction between staff and children? Do the carers listen to the children, and treat them with respect?
4. Do the children look happy and relaxed?
5. Is there an outdoor play area?
6. Are the premises clean, bright and well ventilated?
7. Have a look at the equipment and toys on offer. Are they age appropriate, clean and in good condition?
8. Ask to see the toilets and diaper changing areas. Are they clean, tidy and well ventilated, and are the relevant procedures displayed?
9. Ask to see the weekly/monthly menu.
Questions to ask on the day
1. What are the rest provisions for the children? Are there assigned cots / sheets / beds?
2. What qualifications do the carers hold? Are copies of these available to view?
3. What are the policies if your child has an accident or becomes ill? Will you be contacted?
4. Can you visit any time? (Must an appointment be made?)
5. Ask about care plans and routines, are they flexible? Have a look to see if they are displayed on the walls. What will your child be doing during the day?
6. How often are fees reviewed?
7. Are there fees for late collection of your child?
8. What policies are in place for the handling of difficult behaviour?
9. Is a contract provided?
10. Does the premises close for any holidays?
11. Has the premises won any Awards?
Remember that if you think of something after you leave it is ok to call the Childcare Service and ask. It is better to have all the answers before reaching a final decision. It is very important to feel that you have made your decision armed with all the information!