Finding the right childcare center is one of the most important decisions parents can make when they are considering putting their child into daycare. All children deserve, and thrive under, good nurturing care. It is worth it to take the extra steps to find them quality care.
As a director and owner of Little Ducks Day School in Naples, I have some insight into the process of selecting the childcare center that is right for your child, and what parents should be asking.
Some of the things to consider when looking for a childcare center:
Take distance into consideration. If you work long hours, then choose a facility that is close to your place of work.
Start your search early. Three months before you will need it you should begin your search. Some of the best centers fill up fast, especially the infant and the VPK rooms.
Ask for recommendations. Talk to your friends, family members or your pediatrician and ask them for recommendations.
Schedule an interview. Call and schedule an interview with the center you have chosen and ask as many questions as you need. Childcare givers should be willing to answer your questions. I always make myself available to answer any concerns that new parents could have.
Consider your child’s unique needs. Each family has their own specific needs and what works for some families may not apply to yours.
Take a second look with your child. Remember you can always come back and take a second look at the facility you are considering. If possible, bring your child with you to see how he/she likes the facility.
Observe the children in the facility. Do they look happy? Are they engaged and having a good time? Are they supervised?
Watch for safety/cleanliness. Does the facility have a safe environment? Does it look clean?
Read online reviews. Search online, that is helpful because you can read reviews written by parents who have sent their children to the center.
Trust your gut. And always trust your gut instincts. If you have a bad feeling, there may be a reason.
For a checklist to download and bring with you when visiting the facilities, visit www.myflfamilies.com.