Maternity leave is over, it’s time to get back to work, time to face reality, time to spend close to 6 hours away from your little one. The weeks and months of looking into your baby’s eyes, smiling at her every little move and peppering her face with kisses is nearly over. What would you do? How would you cope? These are some of the questions running through a mother’s mind, especially a First time mom.
Getting a good crèche or day care centre is a worrisome issue, topmost in the mind of every working mom. Here are a few ways to tackle this issue:
The first step you should take is to make a list of qualities you’re looking for in a childcare provider, such as:
- Experience: how long has the crèche existed? What are the staff qualifications?
- Staff rations; how many children/baby per staff? do they let babies cry themselves to sleep?
- Facilities: do they have a separate area for babies to sleep? Are they registered with a Health Board? What medical facilities are available if a child is very sick or has had an accident? Is any staff medically qualified? (eg a nurse).
- Discipline: what is their policy on discipline, i.e. what would they do if a child is bold or if a child hits another child? How do they put a naughty child straight?
– Do they have an open door policy. i.e. can parents walk in at any time of the day.
– Can parents designate other people to drop and pick up babies e.g. siblings, grand-parents?
Make sure to visit the childcare facility as often as you wish when there are children present. Doing this gives you an insight into the quality of childcare and the atmosphere there.Also make note of the following:
- A warm responsive interaction between the carers and the children. Do the children look happy and content? Your gut instinct in judging this is often the best – will your own child be happy there?
- A friendly, welcoming and safe environment.
- A good structure and routine to the day and good arrangements for mealtimes.
- Plenty of stimulating activities, toys and materials for the children that are appropriate to the age of your child.
- Opportunities to play outdoors as well as indoors.
You should also ask the manager about their policies and procedures on matters such as discipline, infectious diseases and contacting parents when a child is sick.
- Check whether they welcome parent involvement and contact. The more you can be involved with the crèche while you child is there, the more you will be reassured about his/her welfare. Some business owners encourage parent evenings as a way of encouraging parents to get involved.
- Enquire about staff turnover – staff who have been there a long time means that your child will have consistency of care.
- Ask other parents whose children have been there, learn from their mistakes, and gain from their experiences.A recommendation from a trusted family member or friend can often be the best advice this will give you an idea of the quality of care they provide kids with there.
When searching for a new crèche or childcare facility make sure to give yourself plenty of time so that you are not under pressure to make a quick decision.
It is important that you are 100% happy with your choice of childcare so you can easily reassure your child and help him/her to feel good about going there.