Parenting comes with many difficult, yet rewarding challenges. One of the biggest challenges parents face is finding the right child care for their little one. When it comes to choosing a daycare for your infant, toddler, or young child, you want to be sure and confident in your decision and not make any mistake. After all, a daycare center is not just a place to send your child to pass time while you are working or running errands. The right child care center can help foster the overall development of your child, help them find their expression, and prepare them for the challenges ahead by instilling the right values and principals.
Tips For Choosing The Best Daycare Center
Whether you are choosing an occasional daycare center or a center to watch your children every day while you go to work, there are a variety of things to consider. To help you make this important decision, we compiled some tips that will make it easier and less stressful to find a child care center for your child.
Do Your Research
When searching for the best daycare provider, a bit of research can go a significant way. Do not worry about being overbearing when trying to select a daycare center. As a parent, you have a right to want to know everything about the facility and caretakers you are trusting with your child. Look into a few different daycare centers in the area, ask around, and do your own research. The more you know about the daycare centers you are considering, the more confident you will become in whether or not it is a good fit for your child. Here are some helpful tips to remember when doing your research:
- Search For Local Daycares. Having a daycare close to your home or work is extremely convenient. The best way to find local daycares is to make your search as specific as possible. Search for terms like, “daycare near me” or “infant daycare near me” when typing in a general inquiry on your preferred search engine. Or, be specific to the area in which you live by naming the county, city, or borough. For example, parents looking for daycare in Arlington may search, “Daycare Arlington, TX,” to find the best centers in that area. Searching for child care centers this way does not just enable you to find the best providers, but also those that are within your community.
- Ask Family and Friends For Recommendations. You can trust your family and friends, especially if they have little ones that require childcare, too. Get in touch with whoever you know in the area that is actively using child care services or has used them in the past. You can even ask for suggestions on social media. Getting opinions and suggestions from people you know will give you a better feel for the best daycares nearby.
- Read Online Daycare Reviews. When searching for the right daycare, be sure to read the reviews online. Reviews can be extremely helpful. Reviews give you a chance to see how center daycares rank with parents and guardians. Read both positive and negative reviews to ensure that you choose a reputable daycare for your child. You typically can find reliable reviews on a daycare’s website as well as certain online review platforms.
Determine Your Budget
According to studies, on average, families spend 7.8 percent of their monthly income on child care. Child care costs can be staggering, so consider your options and your budget carefully. How much you will pay for child care varies considerably and often depends on the location in which you live and the type of care you choose. However, it is important to keep in mind that cost, though important, should not be a deciding factor. Many parents have a limited budget to child care, but there are other important items on that check-list that should be put before cost. After weighing all the factors, the most expensive center may not turn out to be your best choice, nor may the cheapest center turn out to be your worst option. All in all, you should not have too much trouble finding affordable child care that offers the most features and qualities you are looking for.
Check Licensing and Accreditation
Becoming a licensed and accredited daycare center is no easy feat — It involves participation from both staff and parents, classroom observations, and health and safety checks. Licensing focuses on health, safety and nutrition, while accreditation focuses on the quality of programs. In order to be accredited, a daycare program must first be licensed. However, not all licensed programs are accredited. Remember, not all daycare centers have the resources to go through these rigorous programs, but accredited daycares offer an added measure of reassurance. Daycares that are accredited have met voluntary standards for child care that are higher than most state licensing requirements. Two of the largest organizations that accredit child care programs are The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and The National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC).
Consider The Programs
One of the main focuses of a good child care center should be learning and development. A high-quality child care facility should have a schedule with activities such as art, music, story time, and playing both indoors and outdoors. Many child care centers offer multiple programs that vary by age. Choosing a daycare center that offers programs based on age is more preferable than just one program. Depending on the age of your child that you are enrolling in daycare, here are some things you should be on the lookout for when trying to find the right child care center:
When choosing a daycare for your infant, ideally, you want to find one that will take care of your baby as if it were there own. Infant daycare programs should focus on giving each child individual physical interaction and love, as well as sensory stimulation and muscular development, and providing every baby with the loving, nurturing learning environment they need at this crucial age.
After reaching 18 months, your child will be ready for a more of a structured classroom-style daycare atmosphere. Toddler child care programs should be designed to help the children develop both physically and mentally, combining the best of playtime, nurturing care, and learning into one inclusive curriculum that is themed every month to keep your toddler interested.
At ages three to four, children are quickly developing and learning. Pre-K daycare should follow an age-appropriate curriculum, allowing preschoolers to thrive under the structure of a scheduled daily routine that meets every child at their unique level. Pre-kindergarten child care programs should focus on building a strong foundation of learning, development, and nurturing care and should prepare each child for elementary school in a way that generates confidence and a love for learning, discovering and enriching life. The before and after-school daycare programs should provide the school-age child a welcome break from the structure of academic learning.
Early morning daycare is a great option for parents who work early and are unable to get their children on the bus. They will ensure that your child gets on the bus. Some daycares will even safely transport your children to school! Additionally, after-school daycare is a great option for children to complete homework assignments, eat a healthy snack and to participate in fun-filled indoor and outdoor activities that further enhance a child’s creativity, problem-solving, and decision-making skills.
Plan A Visit
Once you have done some research and found some viable options, it is time to start planning visits. Visiting a daycare center is, without a doubt, the best way to get a feel for the environment that your child could potentially be spending a lot of time at. Make sure to meet with the director and arrange to meet a potential caregiver face-to-face. If possible, take your child with you so that you can see how they react to the daycare environment and interact with the caregivers. Visiting each daycare center not only gives you a chance to get a feel for the environment but it also gives you the opportunity to ask any questions that you may have.
Questions To Ask During A Daycare Visit
Though general information can often be gathered from the daycare’s website or brochures, it is easier to find more detailed answers by talking directly with the director and staff during your visit. Consider asking some of the following questions from each category
- What is your center’s general philosophy on childcare?
- How many children are currently enrolled at your daycare?
- What is the caregiver to child ratio?
- What kinds of activities do you do with the children? What does a typical day look like?
- How do you handle discipline or behavioral problems?
- What are your visitation policies?
- What happens if I am late to pick-up or need to miss a day due to vacation or illness?
- Do you transport children in a vehicle? Where would you go?
- How, and how often is the area cleaned?
- Is the center currently accepting enrollment or are they on a waitlist?
Teachers and Staff
- What certifications do your staff and caregivers have?
- Why type of training does your staff receive?
- Do all employees go through background checks?
- How long has the current staff been here? What is the turnover ratio like?
Safety and Communication
- Is your daycare licensed and accredited?
- How do you keep parents up to date on their kid’s daily activities or behavior?
- What security measures do you take for your facility?
Consider Additional Features
Another thing to consider when selecting a child care provider is the additional features that are offered. Each daycare center is different and will offer different amenities or features. Some things to look out for are:
Today, more and more daycares are beginning to incorporate live video surveillance program into their programs, enabling parents to securely watch your children throughout the day, wherever and whenever they want. The Watch Me Grow daycare video surveillance program is one of the most popular available, and providers that have this, or a similar, system will be much easier to trust with your child.
Food and Snacks
You want to make sure that your child is eating healthy during their time at daycare. Some daycare centers provide food for the children, while others require parents or guardians to provide. To make it easiest on yourself, look for a daycare that participates in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). Daycares that follow these guidelines will ensure that your child is served nutritious foods and snacks!
Are You Currently For A Daycare In Arlington, TX?
By following these tips, you will be better enabled to choose the best daycare for your child. If you are currently searching for a daycare center in Arlington, TX, be sure to check out Texas Children’s Academy! Texas Children’s Academy is a family owned and operated child care center. With classrooms and programs designed to create a warm and inviting atmosphere while emphasizing learning, you can rest assured that your child will be cared for in an educational, loving and nurturing environment. Our teachers and staff members have over eighty years of combined early childhood experience. They constantly receive ongoing training to ensure they can provide the absolute best care for your child. Plus, with the popular Watch Me Grow camera surveillance program in effect, you can check in on your child at any time of the day, no matter where you are! Our daycare also offers a variety of other benefits as well, all while still maintaining a competitive tuition price that makes us one of the most affordable daycares in the area!
If you are interested in learning more about our daycare programs or are interested in scheduling a tour of our daycare center, contact the friendly staff at Texas Children’s Academy today!