Are you a working parent who has taken leave from the office to take care of your new baby? Eventually, there will come a point where your maternity or paternity leave is going to end and your child will be old enough to take to a child care center while you are busy at work or with other tasks. Leaving your child in the care of others is a big step as a parent and you want to make sure you find the right child care center for the job. Here are some tips to keep in mind as you start looking at daycare or after-school programs in your area. This way, you find a place where you can be comfortable leaving your child for a few hours or longer.
Pay Attention to What Is Going On Around You
When picking out a child care center, you should go there in person and talk to the staff. However, if there is a scheduled tour and they know you are coming, make sure you pay attention to what's going on with the entire staff and not just the person that's giving you the tour. Watch for interactions between staff members and children across the room. How do the staff members talk to the kids? What happens if a kid becomes upset or angry, how does the staff handle it? Make sure that the rest of the staff follows the philosophy that the tour guide is telling you about.
Consider Just Showing Up and Walking In With Your Kid
This might be a little tricky as many daycare centers have strict security policies, but you could also consider showing up and asking for a tour without notice. Many childcare centers will be happy to accommodate this if they aren't busy with the kids. An unannounced visit will let you see what is going on without the staff having time to prepare for a visitor. One idea would be to go for a scheduled visit on your own but then come back with your kid to let them see the room or floor so they will feel more comfortable. Get your kid involved and it's more likely the staff will let you take another look when you show up.
Inquire About Discipline Policies
Finally, ask what happens when a child misbehaves? How does the staff react? Are kids put in timeout? Are they separated when fighting or asked to apologize to each other? Make sure whatever discipline policies are used line up with your own personal views for raising your child. Contact a child care center to learn more.