If you're a working parent, it can be difficult to decide who should watch your children while you are at work. You may be able to leave your kids with their siblings, their grandparents, your partner, or neighbors. The other option is child care centers—which might be the better option.
Child care centers are places where kids learn social, communication, emotional, and other pre-literacy skills. While all this sounds amazing, you need to select a center that works for you and your child. Here are some factors to consider.
Health and Safety
Before you think about anything else on your checklist, the first thing you should address is the health and safety of the kids. Are you allowed to pack meals for your children? If not, are the meals served in the center healthy and appropriately sized?
Are the toys provided disinfected regularly? Is the center clean and in good condition? How does the center handle medical and other kinds of emergencies? Are the balconies locked off, and the windows secured?
How is the child care center run? Is it owned by the municipal government, a company, or an individual? Is it run for profit or not? How much do they charge, and when are fees due? When do they open and close?
If you're late to pick up your kids, are you charged extra? Does the center have a waiting list? Is it licensed, controlled, and regulated by a family child care government agency?
Child care centers are meant to foster early development and prepare your child for school. This doesn't necessarily mean that your kids need to be taught. The center should have a curriculum and daily routine that you think is good for your child. For example, you can choose a center with a fluid schedule or opt for another with a rigid curriculum. It's up to you as the parent to decide what works best for your child.
Ideally, you'd want a child care center where your child gets undivided attention. Since this isn't practical for everyone, a ratio of 1:3 or 1:4 is good enough for an infant. As your child grows, the ratio increases to around 1:8 for a preschool-aged child.
Ultimately, you're doing this for your kids; with that in mind, ensure your child likes the center before you enroll. You can visit several of the centers with your kid, ask and watch to see which center they like best.
Look around which center has the things your child likes, whether it's food, facilities, toys, or playground equipment. This should help narrow the selection down to one or two child care centers.