You’re finally feeling super confident in yourself because you have chosen what daycares you’re interested in, your daycare interview questions are printed and ready-to-go, and you called to set up all of your tours. Make sure you don’t end up wishing you could rewind time by reading up on the biggest mistakes to avoid when choosing a daycare. In this post, you will learn about:
- Why quality childcare is important
- What your process for choosing a daycare should look like
- 6 mistakes to avoid when choosing a daycare
- What childcare choices are best for your baby’s growing brain
Why Quality Childcare is so Important
There are so many reasons why it is important to take your time finding quality childcare. Let’s dive into just a few of those.
1. Attachment and Bonding Support Brain Development
It’s no secret that babies get attached to those who care for them. You want to be sure that your childcare providers are loving, nurturing, and value the bonds that they make with the children in their care.
When babies feel safe, secure, and loved, they are able to expend more energy on absorbing and learning the world around them. When they are anxious and stressed, their focus shifts to ensure that their needs are met. They can’t relax when they are afraid of being yelled at, feel hungry, or are neglected.
2. You’re Entrusting Others to Take Care of Your Child
We have all heard horror stories about childcare situations where children have been neglected, hurt, or worse because of negligence in a childcare facility. I hate thinking of these things, but they are important to mention so that you can invest the proper time into choosing your provider wisely.
The daycare center you choose is the place where your child is most likely going to be spending most of the day. You want to be sure that you trust the caregivers to not only keep your baby alive, but also to nurture, love, and care for them. The goal is for you to feel 100% confident that when you drop your child off, they will be taken care of with just as much love as you can provide yourself.
3. You’re Investing in Your Child’s Future
Daycare costs are on the rise and can rival some monthly mortgage payments. Of course you don’t want to be throwing your hard-earned cash out the window, so make sure that the daycare you choose is worth your money.
Treat your childcare expense like an investment. You want to invest in your child’s future; this includes their social, emotional, and academic growth.
The Process of Choosing a Daycare
1. Do Your Research and Make a List
Ask community members, do research online, and ask local Kindergarten teachers what daycares they recommend in the area. Although you will get a feel through reviews online, parents will give you a no nonsense breakdown of the daycares in the area. Kindergarten teachers are also a great resource if you are looking for a center that puts effort into preparing children for school.
2. Make Phone Calls and Set Up Tours
Call centers ahead of time to ask for their tuition rates and to set up tours. You will want to make sure you ask about tuition before you show up for a tour in case the center is out of your price range. The worst thing in the world is to go on a tour and fall in love with a provider, only to find out that you can’t afford the tuition.
3. Go On Your Tours and Ask Lots of Questions
While going on your tours, you want to be sure you are gathering as much information as possible. Use the daycare interview questions to help guide your tours and make sure that you are getting the answers to all of you important questions. Use your notes to compare tours after you are all done.
4. Making a Decision
When comparing notes from your interviews, make sure that you are thinking about how you felt when you were touring a center. Did you feel warm and welcome while touring? Did you feel uncomfortable and uncertain? Your gut will lead you in the right direction. Aside from your interview questions, you will also want to be sure you are aware of these mistakes to avoid when choosing a daycare!
6 Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing a Daycare
1. Not Asking about Teacher Turnover
As mentioned earlier in the post, attachment and bonding are extremely important for your child’s brain development. If teachers are coming and going and the daycare just can’t seem to hold onto good teachers, it is going to be very difficult for your little one to feel comfortable and be primed and ready to learn. Your baby needs to get attached to their caregivers and having a high teacher turnover rate will not help that.
2. Not Learning about the Curriculum
I’m not talking about your child being a fluent reader by the time they are in Kindergarten…
Curriculum goes beyond the academics and it should be focused on play, social, and emotional development. Do your research and ensure that the center has a focus on these three curricular areas so that your child can learn in a way that will set them up for future success. Watch what the children are doing while you are touring. Are they hands-on, doing activities, singing, chanting, and playing? These are all positive signs. Make sure you don’t see worksheets or an overload of tv in the background.
3. Not Touring the Daycare in Person
You can’t get a great feel for a center over the phone. Although you may be able to sense how kind the person speaking to you is, you won’t be able to see the cleanliness of the facility, the children playing, or the teachers interacting with the children. Which brings me to my next mistake…
4. Not Observing Teacher Interactions with children
One of the best things you can do when touring is to observe the teachers with the children. Are they interactive and playing with them? Are they hugging, singing, talking, and snuggling with the children? You want to be sure that your teachers value building bonds with the children and find joy in working with little ones. If you get the chance, talk to the teachers and ask them why they are in childcare and what they love about working with children.
5. Not Asking Currently Enrolled Parents about their Pros and Cons
You will get the most uncensored reviews from current parents. They will be able to tell you what they like and dislike about the facility, which can be a huge help and information you wouldn’t get from your tour guide. Ask parents who you see dropping off or picking up their children what they think about the daycare when no staff members are around. It might spark you to add some of your own personal questions to the daycare interview question list.
6. Not Noticing Body Language
Our bodies say a lot even when we don’t realize it. I made my daycare choice and convinced my husband of my choice based on our tour directors’ body language. The way that you are spoken to and how you are treated will give you a clear indication of how you will be valued and treated as a paying parent. If they aren’t willing to go above and beyond in their nonverbal communication to get your business, they sure won’t go above and beyond to keep it.
Making A Childcare choice that is Best for Your Baby’s Growing Brain
There sure is a lot to think about when touring and choosing your baby’s daycare center. However, you are well-equipped to make the best choice for your baby’s growth and development. Finding a childcare provider who will put your baby first by implementing a play-based curriculum, promoting bonding and attachment, and creating an environment where your child feels safe and loved will allow your child to have the foundations needed to prepare for future academic success.
As your baby’s brain is growing and developing, keep in mind that you want to find a provider that will value the bond they make with children. You want someone who will put forth a consistent effort to actively communicate with your child, too, so that their ever expanding vocabulary can continue to grow at exponential rates. The more loving and verbal the providers are, the more nurturing an environment for baby’s growing brain.
Do you have any mistakes to avoid when choosing a daycare? Share them below in the comments section.
PS-Don’t forget to share!