Are you going back to work and are thinking of sending your little one to child care? Are you finding the process overwhelming? Don’t worry you are not alone!
I went back to work when my baby was 6 months, my husband was super busy at work and couldn’t come to check these places with me. With no family to help and provide some feedback, the decision was mostly on me. I didn’t want to make a mistake. I was trusting this people with my most precious treasure, my daughter.
So how was I going to choose the right place? What were the correct questions to ask? What was realistic to hope for in these places? The process was overwhelming and confusing at times.
After 11 months and 3 day cares this is what I have learned:
1) day care vs kindergarten:
a) day cares are open all year around (excluding public holidays), kindergartens have school holidays.
b) Most kindergartens operate at the same times as schools. While Day cares open early 7- 7.30 am and close later between 5-6 pm.
2) safety: we are located in Christchurch, where the main safety issue is earthquakes (but the same apply for any occasion that requires evacuation!): questions I found helpful:
a) are there enough hands on deck to help carry the children that can’t walk?
b) if they have to evacuate the building, how will they keep the children safe from running away into the roads or be taken by strangers while they wait until they get given the all clear to go back to the building?
3) location: i wanted a place close to either my or my husbands work. Somewhere where in the event that an earthquake cause damage to the roads we could get to our baby easily.
4) Flexibility: This one is super important if you have both parents working and no one to help. If you have a day care that gets nervous every time your child coughs or sneezes you will be off work all the time. The same goes for day cares that do not allow for you to be 5 minutes late now and then. Things happen and you want them to work with you! Don’t get me wrong, if you are always late then a fine is inevitable, but now and then! Well things happen
5) health and safety practices: are the exterior doors easy for the children to open and run out?are cables left unattended for children to trip? Are electrical plugs easily accessible for children? Are they covered or can children suffer an electric shock?
6) interaction: check how the carers interact with the children. Do they ignore them? Or do they play with them? Are they loving or cold?
7) food: some places offer lunch and snacks. Check what Type of foods they offer. Are they in accordance to what you want your child to be fed with? I must say Indi has been in both types of day cares, and I love the one that provides food. It is just one less thing for us to worry about and the food they give her is delicious and nutritious.
If I can give you one piece of advice it would be; visit the place you choose for 2 – 3 weeks with your little one for about 30 min every time you go. Make sure you go at different times of the Day and trust your instinct. If you have any doubts the place is not right for you.
if anyone else has any other comments to share post them below. It will be great to help as many mummies as possible in this overwhelming process!
good luck xx