For most parents, choosing the right daycare for their child is challenging both logistically and emotionally. Here are a few tips to help you make the best choice.
Do Your Research
The first step to finding the right daycare is doing your research. If you’re not sure where to start, ask friends, relatives, and neighbors for recommendations. If no one in your circle has had any experience with a child care center, a simple internet search for ‘daycares near me’ will always do the trick.
During your research, be on the lookout for the signs of a high-quality daycare operation. These include:
- Educated and highly-trained classroom staff. The staff should be experienced and knowledgeable, with education degrees/certifications. A bonus quality is ongoing staff training opportunities.
- Age-appropriate activities. Review a daycare’s classroom curriculum to ensure activities are age-appropriate and encourage play and learning.
- Small classroom sizes. Smaller teacher-to-student ratios help ensure every child receives individualized attention, so be on the lookout for this.
What are other parents saying about this daycare? What’s the experience of other parents who have taken their children to the facility? To get the insights on a daycare provider, check their website or online for testimonials. You’ll likely find stories and pictures by other parents, so be sure to look and read through them.
While a few negative reviews are normal, check to see what they’re about. There could be valid complaints that you’d like to ask the facility to address when you reach out to them. If a provider has countless negative reviews, it’s best to avoid them and move to the next option.
When you have a list of potential contenders, make initial contact with them over the phone or email. Visiting a facility in person is important before deciding to enroll. However, visiting every daycare facility on your list might be a hassle, so this will help you narrow down your choices.
Before reaching out, make sure you’re armed with the right questions. Be sure to ask about their approach to discipline, what their sick child policy is, how they handle meals, how they communicate with parents, and what their rates are. You may also want to include open-ended questions, like asking about their philosophy of childcare.
If you reach out over the phone, take note of the representative’s tone and how they speak to you. At the end of the call, you should have all your questions and concerns addressed. If you’re left with more questions than answers, it’s best to move on to different daycares.
Take a Visit
With your finalists in mind, it’s time to take some visits.
This is the time to ask more questions and observe the daycare in action. During your visit, check how the staff interacts with the children. Ideally, staff should be on the floor playing with the kids and giving each child a healthy dose of one-on-one time. Also, be sure to assess the overall environment. Health is critical, so check if it’s clean and well maintained.
This is also the time to raise any concerns or questions specific to your family situation or child’s needs. For example, if your child has a peanut allergy, you will want to know how this will be addressed and taken care of. Also, if you need care on short notice, will they be able to accommodate you?
Ask About Safety Protocols
Safety is also key in childcare centers, so investigate protocols put into place to ensure they meet your comfort level. Ask about how the child will be signed in and out of the facility, if there is safety training involved for staff, and if background checks are required for staff, among other things. Look for signs that safety protocols are carefully followed as well.
Trust Your Gut
As a parent, you know when something doesn’t feel quite right. You want the best for your child, and if you feel your child wouldn’t fit in or thrive at a certain daycare, trust your gut and keep searching.
Giggle & Grow is Here for You
If you’re looking for the right daycare in Gilbert, Arizona, Giggle & Grow may be the option for you and your child! At our daycare and preschool, we focus on the needs of very young children. We strive to make a positive difference in the life of every child by partnering with parents to provide an environment that is safe, nurturing, educational and individualized. Let us help your child learn, play, and grow.