If you need to place your child in a day nursery while you go to work, you are likely feeling a little bit apprehensive about it and worry how it will affect him or her. Leaving your child in the care of strangers is daunting, no matter how much experience and how many qualifications they have. You will want to ensure that as well as being safe, your child will be happy. So before you choose the right place for your little boy or girl, you might want to visit a few day nurseries to see what they are like. Knowing what to look out for when viewing day nurseries can help ensure you ultimately pick the right one.
Visiting Day Nurseries
It is important to view a few day nurseries so that you can compare them to make sure you are choosing the right one. Even if you have a good feeling for the first one you visit and it seems to tick all the boxes, it is wise to make a point of visiting a few more. You never know, you might find a better nursery nearer to where you live. At the very least, visiting other day nurseries will help to cement your good feeling for the one you have a good feeling for.
Before you visit any day nurseries though, you should make a list of questions to ask at each establishment. It is important, for example, to find out how many hours care they can provide for your child and what the cost is. You can then compare this for each nursery to help you work out what your childcare costs will be.
What to Look for
While at any particular day nursery, there are a few things that you should be looking for in terms of finding the right place for your child. Probably the most important is that the nursery is staffed by competent, fully-trained individuals who are attentive to the needs of the children they are looking after.
Speak to the staff and ask them about what their views are on care issues. You will probably want to know how they feel about things like discipline, play-time, feeding, and sleeping (in the case of babies and toddlers). How they answer will give you an indication of their experience and training in these areas and how comfortable and confident they are about taking care of children.
The behaviour of the kids should also give you some idea as to the suitability of the nursery. Young children are rarely quiet, so if the nursery is full of children afraid to say a word, for example, you might have some concerns. There should be a buzz about the place without over-excited children screaming at the top of their lungs. If the children seem busy, happy, and relaxed with a purpose, you are on the right track.
A safe, clean, and welcoming environment is obviously important when it comes to day nurseries. Make sure that toys are clean and free from damage and that indoor and outdoor play areas are safe and monitored.
A day nursery is a place where your child goes to be looked after, but it should also be a place where he or she will learn and develop. Children learn through play, so a good day nursery will incorporate lots of fun activities to keep your child busy and entertained; all the while, he or she will be learning and developing. Look for artwork on the walls that have been created by the kids. This is a sign that children are being encouraged to show their creativity.
Things to Ask
It is important to learn as much information as you can from the staff at the nursery. You should find out how many children are currently registered with the nursery and if they are at full capacity. Ask about child to staff ratio to see what kind of care your boy or girl will be given. If the ratio is too high, you might want to consider a different facility where there is more chance of your child being able to avail of quality one-to-one care.
Find out about the training programme that staff are required to complete. Staff should have no problem explaining about the training and qualifications that they have, and a good day nursery will be run by those who encourage ongoing training and development for staff.
Ask about the daily routine that your child might have. For example, when are meal times and what activities might he or she be involved in. Most parents want to know what their child’s routine is so that they can discuss it with them when they get home.
You might also want to find out about the facility’s policies and procedures. For example, how do they manage children’s behaviour and what their views are on discipline. You should also find out what their procedures are in the event of an accident or emergency.
Ask about meal times and take a brief look at the menu. If your child suffers from nut allergy or dairy intolerance, ask how the chefs manage this, so that you get a feeling that your child will be eating safely. Check the type of foods available. Sometimes nurseries have a fortnightly rota with regards towards the menu.
The Benefits of Day Nurseries
Day nurseries are just one option when it comes to childcare, but many parents prefer them because they offer a number of benefits over other choices.
For example, in a day nursery, there will be plenty of other children for your child to interact with. With children of different ages, your child will have the opportunity to learn and develop with his or her peers. This is especially important for children who do not have siblings or other children to interact with in their home life.
One of the main benefits of day nurseries is the fact that they can still care for your child should one staff member be sick. This is often an issue for parents who have employed a childminder or a nanny to care for their child. They are relying on just one person, and should this individual become ill or have a family emergency, it can leave the parent trying to find an alternative arrangement in terms of childcare. This rarely happens with children in a day nursery.
Finding a Day Nursery to Suit
Choosing a day nursery can be a tough choice, especially if you do not have experience in regard to childcare. However, if you know what you should be looking for, then you can find the one that is right for both you and your child.
When you have visited a few day nurseries, you can compare your findings to decide on which one most meets your needs and where you believe your child will flourish. It might be a good idea to talk to parents already using this nursery for their children. Find out what they think about the service they get. If their children are happy and they are happy, then you have probably found the perfect day nursery.