Way back when I was pregnant I wrote this about child care. Now that Camille is actually in day care (today’s her first day…eek) I have a different perspective on things. Not to say that post is trash, it has some useful tips, but now I have more tips. Grab some tea and read along.
Is the center and staff licensed?
- This matters! If the center is not licensed through your local city/county/state they can pretty much do anything they want to/with your kid. The teachers/employees may not be CPR certified or even like kids. They could just be chasing paychecks. If the staff isn’t licensed they may not know how to work with children properly.
Is the center safe and secure?
- When we walked up the walkway to the center we chose B said “this is a bit jail like”. I said “that means no one can come take our baby”. You get where I’m going with this? People are nuts! And little kids are going missing by the hour. We have to do what we can to keep our kids safe.
What’s the evacuation procedure/route?
- I never thought about this but during our tour the directors of the center pointed this out and showed us the plan. Each classroom has a teacher’s backpack with all the kids emergency info. If they have to evacuate I know the route, where to find them and they have my number (and the other 10 people we had to list for emergency contacts) to let me know.
What’s the curriculum?
- The last thing I want is to acquire another mortgage in day care expenses and all my kid does is watch TV all day. Nope! Be sure to ask about lesson plans, activities, field trips and things like that. I must say the center we chose really won me over with the curriculum.
Day in the life?
- Just because you have a lesson plan does not mean my kid won’t be watching TV most of the day. Ask what a typical day is like, is there a standard schedule? We looked at one center where about 75 minutes of the day was spent hand washing. Really?! Also, pay attention to how long activities take place. Smaller kids don’t have a very long attention span, we don’t want boredom to set in.
Meals included or no?
- This was heard for me but I’ve been convinced to let it go. Breakfast, lunch and afternoon snacks are supplied at our center. I was so nervous about my little picky eater but I’ve been convinced she’ll eat because a) she’ll be hungry b) everyone else will be eating and c) she’ll be hungry. We’ll see. If meals are included ask to see the menu. I love that our center offers healthy meals and it’s so much variety.
How is conflict handled?
- This was B’s question, never crossed my mind. I cannot for the life of me remember the name of the method but I can describe it. So, if two kids have a disagreement, or one hits/bites/pinches, the kids are taken to a corner to discuss what happened. “Do you see Tommy crying?” “Why do you think he’s crying?” “Did you make him cry?” “How do you think he feels?” “Would you want to feel that way?” “Please apologize to Tommy.” I like this method.
- Camille is showing some interest but I’m more nervous to get the ball rolling. Our center will start when I start or at 2 and they set a timer for 15 minutes throughout the day. If they find the a kid can’t hold it that long they shorten the time. If a kid has a stronger bladder they lengthen the time. I love it!
What do I need to bring?
- How many changes of clothes? Food/snacks? Milk? Diapers? A sheet and blanket? Favorite toy?
In addition to this we all wanna know how much this is gonna cost us, the hours and will my kid be happy here. I’ve learned in my search the better the center, the more you will pay. Camille was SO happy when we took the tour and came back for Meet & Greet that I knew what ever the cost we had to make it happen!
Am I missing anything? Please add in the comments and let me know how you handled the first day of day care. Camille is almost 2 so it wasn’t too hard, I didn’t cry but still bittersweet.
Oh yeah! I also made this a printable just for you! Now you can take it with you on day care tours! You’re welcome!