Is it time to send your little one off to daycare or find a new childcare center after a negative experience? Use a little caution when looking for the right place for your child. Watch out for signs of problems and listen to your gut.
Below are seven warning signs for childcare centers to help you narrow your list of options.
1. Boring Environment
Children of childcare ages need stimulation. This is how they learn. Without this interaction daily, they can experience stunted mental and emotional development. When checking out a daycare center, look for plenty of popular toys and play options. Talk to the center about how they encourage mental stimulation. Also, ask about how often toys are cleaned and replaced.
2. Poor Emotional Connection
Caregivers must supply kids with love and attention when parents are not present to provide it. Do other children in the facility appear well-attended and cared for? Are there many crying children being left in areas alone? Do the teachers know how to redirect children after misbehaviour? Remember, a childcare center should educate, stimulate and appropriately discipline, not punish.
To a childcare center, you and your child are an essential part of their profitability. But some centers go overboard in trying to serve too many families at once. What is the child-caregiver ratio of your prospective center? Are children running amok?
4. Unhealthy and Unsafe
If you hear a lot of coughing and sniffling during your childcare center visit, your child risks getting sick. In reality, children should stay home when they run a fever or feel ill. Talk to the center about their sick child policy. Ask about what to do if your child is feeling unwell and how the center responds to sick kids. Also, inquire about toilet training and what happens if your little one has a toilet accident.
As far as safety goes, no one can underestimate the importance of a safe child care center environment. Ask about their safety procedures and look for signs of problems when you visit the center. Are the staff changing diapers while wearing gloves? Do you see them washing their hands after diaper changes? Do you smell cigarette smoke on the providers? Does the center have safety bars, if it is housed in a multi-story unit?
5. Poor Activities
Your child needs mental, physical, emotional and social growth. Without these types of educational advancement, they feel under-stimulated. Children should be encouraged to interact and participate in group activities. Ask about activities offered at the center and outdoor play. Also, look for stimulating materials like books and building blocks. Does the center ever take kids on field trips or outings?
6. Regional Licensure
Licensing is critical for any childcare center. Do they have the appropriate licenses and certifications required where you live? These laws vary from one geography to the next. Do your research and ensure your potential childcare center adheres to legal requirements. Also, conduct an online search for reviews and to find any information about complaints filed about the center.
7. Poor Communication
Is the director of the center actively involved in communication with you? Are you able to easily get through to the staff and schedule a visit or appointment? If the discussion seems poor from the start, things typically will only get more complicated from here. Also, find out if you are allowed to drop by unannounced. If that is not permitted, it could indicate a real problem.