10 Tips on Picking the Right Daycare Provider
|Photo by Lynda Rouner|
|Playgrounds are a must|
6. The Teacher Needs to Act as a Partner in Discipline: By far the most important thing a kid is going to learn at daycare is to socialize, and just as every new tribe of humans who meets another new tribe of humans has done since time immemorial, there will be conflicts as a result. You have to reinforce good behavior both at home and at the center, and this is going to involve a lot of conferences about who took whose toys and what we need to get across the idea that that stuff is wrong. Any provider worth her salt is going to expect you to be an active partner in getting your child to learn how to deal with other children.
7. You Want a Playground: The chances of you not having heard of the obesity crisis in this country are as low as the nutritional value of a Hot Pocket. Sure, you can blame it on video games if you want to, but if you give a kid a place to run around believe they will run around. Having a safe place to do it in is vital. Sixty percent of school principals say that kids function better with an outdoor recess, and any parent can attest to how important burning off some of that endless childhood energy is.
8. There Should Be a Definite Business Plan: This is more for home-based daycare. Even running a center out of your house should come with a distinct business plan, and anyone that is not treating it on that level should probably be considered flaky. What's your provider's plan for if she gets sick, or has a family emergency? Do they schedule vacation days for themselves so they don't get burned out? If they don't have the answers to these questions, then they aren't really as invested in being a reliable service as you might like, and you'd better have a back-up plan.
9. Check the Menus: Texas has several programs that reimburse daycare providers for the cost of meals provided that menus reflect set nutritional standards, and just like with exercise you can't put enough emphasis on trying to get kids to eat healthier diets that aren't as rich in sugars as most of us grew up on. A good daycare will happily tell you what they're feeding your kid.
10. Listen to Your Child: So you've picked a daycare, and now your kid is going there regularly. My advice is to listen to them. How do they react when they see their teacher? Do they run up and give them a big hug? Do they seem happy when you come to get them, or are they miserably counting down the minutes? If it's the former, congratulations on finding a good provider. If it's the latter, you still might have a good teacher, but only if they're willing to work with you to resolve whatever is making your kid unhappy. Regardless, any consistent aversion to going to daycare should be cause for concern. Good luck out there.
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