The ensuing months after a child is born is a period of absolute joy for the parents, especially the mother. You can’t get enough of your baby. His smile, movements, antics etc are all a source of great excitement. Sending your child to a daycare is a very important decision.
But for office-going mothers, reality kicks in when her maternity leave is about to end. To leave behind your precious one breaks your heart. Only a lucky few have the support of their in-laws or parents. Since many of us stay in a nuclear set-up, away from our families, we have to make the difficult decision of leaving our babies at a daycare.
Here, we try to list a few factors that should be taken care of while deciding on a daycare.
- Research Well: Don’t leave the decision of zeroing in on the right facility till the very end. You might like to begin by asking your friends and families. Your office colleagues could also provide some valuable insights. Make a list according to your preferences: proximity to your office, route, charges, your schedule etc. You can also search online for your choices.
Visit: Do not just rely on the positive reviews. You can ask your spouse or a family member to accompany you to visit the facility. Take some time to observe how the caregivers interact with the children. The staff should be genial, warm and be caring towards the children. Also, another important thing to ask is the children to caregiver ratio.
Interview: Make sure you ask about the age of the children admitted. It is better if the children’s ages are as close to your child’s age as possible. Be clear about the daily schedule you would like to stick to and also if the facility is open to time-flexibility sometimes. Also, be clear about the food and eating habits of your child. Also, of utmost importance is hygiene, safety precautions, and sanitation of the facility.
Child Engagement: Ask about how the facility takes care of the child during the day. Do they have a structured routine with age-appropriate play and learning? Check if the children have separate sleeping, feeding and playing area. Do they have a separate sick bay?
Trust your instincts: A mother is the best judge of what’s good for her baby. If something doesn’t sound alright, it probably isn’t. Your baby might not be able to convey words to you, but you’ll surely find out. Some days, you can do a surprise check at the facility and find out if they are staying true to their commitments.
Babies are really resilient and strong. Although leaving your baby in a daycare might be a very difficult proposition for you, trust them to adapt themselves. The right daycare can instill the values of friendship, accepting challenges, socializing and adapting to a new environment. All you need to do is to be observant to changes in your baby and never compromise on the safety of the baby.