There is so much preparation and thought put into deciding if, and when your child should go to a childcare center while you work. Making that decision can be hard, but if you have chosen to enroll your child into a childcare center here’s some advice on choosing the right one.
Decide what your needs are
Before researching child care centers in your area, first, decide what your needs are. In particular, figure out what days and times you would like for your child to be in care.
- Full-Time hours are usually from 7:30-5:30 Monday-Friday
- Part Time hours are usually 2 to 3 days a week
- Half- Days range from 4 to 5 consecutive hours a day (morning or evening)
- Full- Days range from 8-10 consecutive hours a day
It’s important to distinguish the times and days you need because some child care facilities may only have openings for certain days. Some places may have openings for half days every day but no openings for (part-time) full days on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
Quality of the Teacher
Regardless of your needs, your child will be in the care of another person for several hours. It is important that you know the quality of the teachers that will be caring for your child. Some things to consider:
- Experience working with children
- Educational background
- Their personal opinion on child development
I think this is a crucial factor to consider. If the facilities are hiring for new teacher every few weeks, that’s a red flag.
Continuity of Care
Studies show that children do well when their primary care giver is a consistent person. While searching for child care centers ask if your child will be able to “move up” with the same teacher they start with as they age.
Each state usually has different ratios. Ratios are the number of children compared to the number of teachers. The lower the ratio, the better.
It is beneficial to ask the center their views on child development and what they overall philosophy is.
Child care can be very expensive. Establish a price range before heading out to view places. The younger your child is, usually, the higher child care will be. Luckily, the older they get, the cheaper it gets. Some child care facilities also have discounts for multiple children.