Finding the perfect daycare for your child can be an overwhelming step for any parent. You want your child to be put in an environment that is not only nurturing but is also as safe and secure from risks of personal injuries as possible. For new parents or those who have decided to take the leap of faith to entrust their child to someone else, this task can be especially daunting. When selecting the right daycare for your child, here are five steps to consider.
Familiarize Yourself with Texas Rules and Regulations
Texas has a number of regulations set in place to minimize the risks of injuries to children in daycare facilities. Each daycare must meet the state’s minimum standards for childcare. Factors such as constant supervision, teacher-to-child ratios, and environment are all areas that will greatly impact meeting these standards. It stands to reason that a childcare center that does not meet these requirements or simply meet the bare minimum, will not be a healthy environment for your child.
Get Information on Policies
While safety should be a number one concern, a close second is the educational policies of the center. Does the facility have an early childhood curriculum? An emphasis on reading and math skills at the earlier level is ideal as it can help your child get ready for pre-k. For older students out of school during the summer or those in an after school program, you want to ensure that your child is still learning on a continual basis. Furthermore, you need to gather information on many of the center’s other policies. How are children disciplined? What is their emergency plan? All of this information can help you determine what kind of care your child will receive when you are not there.
Inquire About Qualifications
It is the teachers themselves that will be around your child the most, and as such, you want to make sure they are well-qualified to work with children. A question to ask is are childcare providers required to only have Associate degrees or does the daycare recommend a Bachelor’s in a child-related field? Has the daycare done a background check on all teachers? Additional qualifications such as a CPR license or experience working with special needs students are all areas that highlight a professional from a teacher that is still a novice in the field.
Plan a Visit
Visiting the center prior to registration is integral to understanding whether or not it will be a good fit for your child. Once you arrive at the daycare it is important to observe the general surroundings. Place close attention to the proximity and cleanliness of restrooms, what items are available for play, the educational materials, and the general set up of the classroom. Take a moment to imagine yourself in your child’s shoes. If the classroom does not feel warm and inviting to you, then it may not be for your child either.
Trust Your Instinct
Who knows your child better than you do? When selecting a childcare center, do not be afraid to ask questions, inquire from other parents, and above all else – trust your gut! You know what’s best for your child and if something feels amiss – it probably is!