How to Choose the Right Daycare for Your Little One
Finding a good quality daycare can be an exhausting ordeal for parents who are returning to work. Depending on your location, the options can either be overwhelming or very limited. Here’s how to find the best daycare in Salt Lake City.
1. Do your research early.
Time constraints will force you to settle with available options without doing a thorough quality check. Also, most nationally accredited daycare facilities have a waiting list because they do not have enough slots for everyone. When new slots open, they are given on a first-come, first-serve basis.
To secure a slot, many parents sign up at reputable centers as early as the pregnancy stage. Directors advise that you wait-list your child at least one year or more before your expected date of needing child care. Some centers accept wait-list entries before conception and require a refundable deposit. Begin your search early by asking for recommendations from your friends, colleagues, and pediatrician. You can also check trusted online resources for licensed and accredited facilities in your area.
2. Pay an unannounced visit.
When you have a list of centers you’re considering, visit every facility to assess if they meet your standards. The center should have a clean, safe, and stimulating environment. To get a more accurate picture, drop by unannounced toward the end of the day. You should see alert and clean babies in spacious rooms and caregivers who are genuinely interested and patient with kids. It will also help if you drop by during afternoon pick up hours so you can talk with current clients and ask their feedback.
3. Know the caregiver to child ratio.
Check if the center has adequate staff, so your child regularly gets the attention and care he needs. Depending on the age group and size, the ratio of caregiver to a child might vary. For instance, 1:3 is the ideal ratio for infants and toddlers in a group of six. If the staff supervise more children and seem overworked, the center might not be the right for your child.
4. Ask questions.
When you visit, take the time to ask about anything. A good daycare center will be happy to answer all your questions. You can inquire about the staff’s qualifications and training. Ask them how long they’ve been working at the center and how much experience they have with kids of your child’s age.
Their answers and the way they respond would help you see whether they are highly capable of taking care of your baby. You should be able to communicate with them comfortably as you will be relying on the caregiver for updates about your child’s day. If you sense something is off, do not be afraid to walk away and explore other options.
5. Consider proximity.
When choosing between two ideal centers, proximity is the tie-breaker. It can be beneficial to choose the daycare that is close to your workplace or home so you can pick and drop your child on time. You can also make sure that you are available in case of emergencies and unexpected events.
Choosing the right daycare for your little one is not a decision you’ll make overnight. You need ample time to search for a center that has a safe environment and will give nurturing care to your child.