Till the time you are on leave, your baby gets your undivided attention and care. Returning to work requires you to make an alternative arrangement for your baby’s care.
How to choose the right day care centre?
Day care centers are generally large facilities that group children in rooms according to their ages. If you plan to keep your baby in a day care, start looking out for options during your pregnancy, so that you don’t spend too much time on this activity after your baby’s birth, rather utilize that time in understanding her needs well, as this is important in deciding the day care. Before deciding on the type of care that you need to engage for your baby, analyze factors like actual requirements, finances and facilities available.
Advantages of Keeping Your Baby in Day Care.
Day care facilities for babies have many advantages over other child-care options. Some of these advantages are:
- Day care centers are more regulated and organized
- Day care facilities have reliable timings that are not dependent on the availability of any individual care provider
- A good day care center is professionally run and structured around age-appropriate learning and recreation that enhance cognitive skills of babies
- Babies enjoy the company of other babies of their age in the day care center and such interactions enhance their social, physical and cognitive skills
- A day care facility may also be less expensive than hiring a full time nanny for your baby
Disadvantages of Keeping Your Baby in Day Care.
Besides the numerous advantages of day care center, there are a few drawbacks as well, which you may need to look into before deciding on the day care for your baby. Some of these are:
- You may not be able to leave your young infant in a day care center as most facilities have a minimum age for admission
- The day care center timings may not match your work hours, so you may need to either adjust your work hours or make arrangements to pick the baby at the right time
- Day care centers have strict rules about sick children and you may not be able to send you baby there even if she is mildly ill and may have to miss out on your day’s work
- If you have more than one baby, you may be paying much more to the day care than what you would to a nanny
Selecting the Right Day Care Center for Your Baby.
Your greatest challenge may be figuring out which day care provides the best care for your baby. However, with adequate planning and little patience, you can easily find the day care best suited to your baby’s needs. Consider the following while short-listing the day are center for your baby:
User Recommendations: Take recommendations from people whom you trust, for example experienced relatives, friends or colleagues. You must visit the various options available, talk to the parents of kids in those day cares and have a look around of the facility.
Warm and Healthy Environment: The day care should have a warm, nurturing and safe environment in which your baby can thrive and learn. It should be peaceful, encouraging, and healthy with ample opportunities for your baby to interact and engage in healthy competition with other babies. It should provide enough love and care to the baby, so as to fulfill her emotional needs.
Spacious and Safe: Also, the day care should have enough space for exploration, should have all the safety measures in place and the staff should be educated and well trained in child-care.
Right Age Group: Most day cares segregate the babies as per age groups. Make sure your baby falls into the right age group and gets age-specific exposure and learning. The facility should involve the baby in activities on a daily basis that help in her physical, cognitive and social development.
Homely or Commercial: You can opt for a day care in a home settlement or in a commercial settlement, depending upon your needs. A home settlement is however considered better, since it provides the baby with warmth, comfort and a feeling of not being at a place very different from her own home.
Convenience of Location: Consider convenience factors like distance from home and your workplace, time of travel and the quality of child-care provided while deciding on the day care. You can inquire with the HR in your workplace about such facilities in the office if any. This gives you an edge of being available in the shortest time whenever your baby needs you. In such a settling, you can easily go in for breastfeeding and checking on the baby from time to time.
Strength of Groups and Deputed Carers: Consider the number of babies in each group and the number of carers for each group. Babies require a lot of supervision, especially when they are very young. It’s important to make sure that your baby gets optimum attention.
Usually, a single childcare provider can approximately care for a maximum of:
- 3 children under the age of 18 months;
- or 6 children between the ages of 18 months and 4 years;
- or 8 children aged 4 to 5 years;
- or 12 children who attend kindergarten or elementary school.
These numbers are only guidelines about the supervision children of different ages require and do not supercede provincial regulations limiting the number of children a provider can care for (depending if the provider is accredited by the government or not, if it is a home or a private daycare, if helpers are available, if the provider’s own children count, etc). If an individual cares for a mixed age group of children, you’ll also need to adapt these guidelines.
Cost and Timings: The cost of the day care facility and its timings should also be considered before deciding on the day care for your baby.
Be Tension Free with the Right Day Care.
Day care centers provide safety, health assurance, social interactions and learning to babies, which is why they have an upper hand for a working mother as compared to the care provided by nannies. Do sufficient research before deciding the day care for your baby. Your baby is not going to get upset about your absence as long as she gets love and care and a feeling of security at the day care center.