daycare, choosing the right daycare, childcare centres, parenting,

They grow up too fast, don’t they? It feels like yesterday you were holding a newborn, and now it’s already time to look for daycare so that you can return to work or have some time to yourself. Every mum needs to know that her child in good hands while she’s not around, but there’s so much to consider.

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If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the task of choosing the right day care, here are some steps to get you started:

Consider your child’s personality

The best type of care for your child will depend on how they relate with people and what activities they prefer. Before you start looking, try to imagine the ideal environment where your child will thrive. Does she always run around and climb?

She will probably be happiest in a daycare that has a big playground with lots of equipment. Is your child reserved and suffering from separation anxiety? Consider a family daycare. A bigger centre might be fine, too, but definitely ask about staff turnover before you enroll. You don’t want a centre where carers are changing frequently.

First impressions

Once you’ve gotten clear on the environment you’d like for your child, it’s time to start visiting some centres in the area and comparing the reality to your vision. Some things to look out for are:

  • Does the place look welcoming?
  • Are the staff friendly?
  • Is the centre clean?
  • Do the kids look happy?
  • What toys and activities are available?
  • What is the daily routine?
  • What’s the playground like?

Ask for recommendations

You can’t see everything in a brief visit. Talk to other parents whose children go to the daycare you’re considering and ask them how they feel about it. Don’t be discouraged if there’s one parent who has issues with the centre (there’s always the one!), but if you consistently receive negative feedback, look elsewhere.

Some of us live in areas where there’s shortage of daycare spots. If that’s you, make sure you put your child’s name on the waiting list as early as possible. It’s good to have options when the time comes and you can always say ‘no’ if an opportunity no longer suits you.

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