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Daycare Search Tips

Parenting and Child Care
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Parents must often search to find high quality daycare. Depending on the city, parents usually have several options, but they must find the right daycare that fits their budget, parenting philosophy and the child’s needs.

Evaluating the Family and Child’s Needs

Before the parents search for a daycare, they need to assess the needs of the both the family and the child. Parents should consider the age, special requirements, discipline issues and development level of the child. Parents should also look at the educational and physical activities available at the daycare. Some parents prefer more academic daycares that follow a set curriculum, while other parents prefer more unstructured learning, outdoor play time and field trips.

Parents should always get the child’s input about daycare options, but in the end the parents will make the final decision. Parents should look at costs, transportation issues, discipline philosophy, scheduling and other issues. For some parents, it may make sense to use in home care like nannies or a babysitter instead of a daycare center if their work schedule is variable.

What to Search For in a Daycare

Parents should search for certain things when they search for a childcare center. The general daycare environment, from the classrooms to bathrooms, should be clean and orderly. Parents should watch the staff to see if they wash their hands and/or use hand sanitizer after changing diapers or before preparing food. These simple measures are necessary to keep the daycare environment sanitary.

They should watch the staff closely and see how they interact with children. A high turnover rate of teachers and other staff may be due to poor management, low pay, low morale or other issues. Ideally, preschool teachers should be patient, loving, organized and understanding. The children should be busy doing activities or playing under supervision, and they should feel comfortable in the daycare center. The daycare should also have a low child/staff ratio. This ratio can vary, depending on the state and the age of the children.

Also, parents should be allowed to “drop in” at any time to see the child after he or she is enrolled at the school. Any daycare school that limits parental visits is questionable. Parents can also ask other parents whose children attend the same daycare for their feedback and advice about the daycare school.

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