A Checklist on Choosing the Right Childcare for Your Infant

When planning on childcare facilities for an infant, every parent - whether old or new wants to be 100% in on a decision. After all, daycares aren’t just places for your little ones to pass their infant time. It is a place that will foster an all-round development for the child and prepare them for the future. 
Now, exploring childcare can get quite difficult, particularly for new parents. This means you’ll need all the assistance you can get at your bay, in order to pave a clear path while navigating the array of daycare centers available within your reach.  

Start By Asking the Right Questions

Finding proper childcare involves a lot of work and questioning yourself on matters of any concern and/or potential childcare facilities is one of the basic steps to factor in. You can kick off by asking some of these questions:

What are the fee structure and overall cost?

The most organized way of narrowing down your list is to see if the cost of daycares actually matches your budget. If the expense turns out to be out of your league, it's safe to check them out from your potential list and move on to others.

What qualifications does the childcare staff have? 

In any daycare facility, a director must hold a degree in early childhood education while the caregivers must have knowledge and experience of performing CPR along with administering first aid. Teachers much have training on early childhood education and/or early childhood development, after all, you’ll want someone with hands-on experience to take care of your infant.   

What is the policy on sick kids and how are they handled? 

Providers should have a distinct guideline on sick infants staying home as well as a specific time frame for when parents should fetch their little ones that fall ill when under the facility. Also, if you’re in doubt, you can refer to the AAP’s guidelines on this matter for extra guidance. 

Look Out for These in a Daycare! 

With help from early childhood researchers and experts, here are some essential factors every new parent must keep an eye out in a daycare facility for their little one. 

Safety First! Particularly During Naptime

A basic and crucial step to follow up on is evidence that indicates the maintenance of safe sleep practice from your preferred/potential daycare. 
“The first instance when walking into an infant classroom is to check whether there are see-through cribs” states Park Avenue KinderCare’s very own Naomi Hicks. “Teachers must be able to look out at an infant every second, even when they are asleep.” 
It is needful for every parent to ask how the babies are put to sleep and even the kind of things allowed within their crib. According to the AAP, babies must sleep with their backs placed on a smooth surface, without any blankets, pillows, or toys to reduce SIDS risk. 

Hygienic Scene of the Center

Ever since your little fella arrived, your home may have lost the squeaky clean presence it once had but that’s understandable. However, daycares should not be exempted from this and should always be clean, safe, and tidy
Of course, a tiny mess of clutter here and there is expected in an environment where kids play all day but that should be the limit. When you tour around a new daycare, see to it whether teachers are cleaning up after a child’s activity. 
When classrooms look tidy, it's usually the sign of a well-documented space for infants to play and crawl all day. In infant classrooms, look out for policies that entertain disposable booties that visitors can make use of states, Sheila Silveria, from the Mercantile KinderCare Learning.

Licensing vs. Accreditation – Learn the Difference

You’ve finally found a center for your little one to nest but how are you certain your baby will thrive over there? 
First and foremost, it’s crucial to understand the differentiation of licensed and accredited centers. For daycares, licensing would be the bare minimum and any potential daycare will be licensed to operate. 
However, accredited centers take things up a notch by making sure teachers are providing your child with the best possible education. These centers aren’t just adequately secured in terms of safety but they are also a great place to nurture the mind and future of a young infant. 

Here are 5 Tips to Help Pick the Right Infant Daycare

Finding the right center means taking in the proper direction to help differentiate between a moderate and a nurturing childcare facility. Here are some tips on how you can best pick a daycare that fits your baby's profile.

1. Do Your Research 

Diving head-on without much knowledge is probably not the best idea when you’re thinking of acquiring long-term quality education for your child. You may not even be a new parent but it’s crucial to do your bit and invest some time and thoughts. 
You can ask around and converse with other parents (whether at work or among friends) for some great daycare recommendations. On a more professional note, you can consult with a pediatrician if you’re not aware of other parents around you. 
There are also several online resources you can make use of for center credibilities like childcare referral services and even state regulatory agencies to help you find a great daycare for your little one. 

2. Pay Attention 

When you’re making visits to any potential sites, it’s important to take in the overall environment of the center, especially the mode of interaction that occurs place between caretakers and infants. Are they friendly? Do they stay on alert?
Ideally, a caregiver must either be seen playing with the child on the floor or holding them on their lap. The latter plays a very subtle yet important role as in the early years of infancy, babies often need close, interactive, and loving relationships with adults to nurture their emotions.   
This is why it's crucial for an infant's first caregiver to have a warm and responsive nature. Moreover, in group care, infants and older babies should be having a healthy one-on-one interaction. Although the staffing ratio of child-care facilities depends on the state, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests a ratio of 1:3 (an adult for every 3 babies of up to 12-months of age). 

3. Follow Up on the Safety Measures

When it comes to any infant, safety is of the utmost importance, and finding a daycare that provides a safe and secure environment must be on top of the checklist. See to it that these safety precautions among others are being met by the facility.  
• Removing Choking hazards, this includes any plaything, especially smaller ones and toys that can be broken up into small pieces.
• Avoiding fluffy bedding or pillows in cribs to facilitate a safer sleep procedure. 
• Open stairways should be attached to gates.
• Upstairs windows should be accompanied by window guards.
• Hygienic bathrooms and enclosed outdoor play space.
• Fire extinguishers and smoke detectors should be in most, if not every room while exits should be marked clearly.

4. Instigate a policy check.

Before finalizing on any center, it's important for both the teams to be on the same page whether it's on parenting philosophy or center policies. First of all, you may want to know the type of disciplinary methods being employed by the staff. Do they use time-outs or scoldings? Are naps offered? And so forth. 
Nowadays, educational centers have become technologically advanced, hence, it'll be beneficial to check whether the center is providing parents with complete transparency regarding their procedures, policies, and important notifications through an automated update and virtual engagement. 

5. Find a Center That Keeps up With Your Child’s Schedule

During the time you’ve spent nurturing your baby at home, you’ve probably established a feeding and sleep schedule that works well, so, be sure of choosing a daycare that can honor it. Yes, a baby's schedule can never be 100% predictable but with the right daycare, it will be taken care of in the right manner.  
While some daycares do practice naptime within a specific period, you should be looking for a center that first remains attentive to your baby’s needs rather than enforcing strict sleeping routines. Teachers should also be well-versed in noticing signs of tiredness in an infant. Rubbing of the eye, heavy-headed nodding, sucking on a thumb, and more are all major signs of sleepiness. 
Whether it's rocking, being held, singing, or even using a pacifier, picking the right daycare will offer partnership and cooperation to learn what type of routine and techniques work best with your baby.

Final Thoughts

In any given situation or circumstance, always remember, you’re not married to the facility. If things don’t turn up well, you can always have a change of direction. Consistency is quite important in setting a concrete foundation for your child but that doesn’t mean one has to be locked into an educational arrangement. 
It’s good to take note of how resilient and adaptable children can be and use it to their advantage. If a particular setting isn’t working for your child, change it. Your little one will always thrive better in a calm and nurturing environment rather than a toxic one.



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