Tips to Finding a Great Daycare
1. Know what you want - Do you want a classroom setting with lots of other children, or a more home like setting with fewer children? Do you want a daycare close to home or closer to your work? Are you looking for a preschool curriculum? Would your child do better with a daily schedule or a more relaxed day? Write down a list of what you are looking for before you start so you can narrow down your options and save time.
2. Word of Mouth - The best way to find a great daycare is to ask around. Ask your friends, ask at work, ask at the gym! If someone says they have a great daycare pull out your list of priorities and see if that daycare may be a good fit for your child. Get as many different options as you can so you have more to choose from.
3. Contact your local daycare referral service - Most cities have at least one referral service to help match children to available daycare openings. These referral services are normally free, and while they do not give opinions on which daycare is the best, it's still a good way to find out what daycares near your home or work have openings.
4. Check online- Some daycares have websites that can give you a good idea of what they are all about. Just search "daycare, your city, your state". While not all daycares have websites (especially home daycares) you may get lucky and find the perfect daycare near you. The great thing about a well thought out daycare website is that it can save you time in the interviewing process.
5. Phone calls- Once you have narrowed your list of providers down to 5-10, call each provider to make sure they have openings. Ask a few basic questions, such as fees and hours of operation. Listen for a provider that is friendly and professional. Set an appointment to interview the providers you think will meet your needs.
6. Interview, Interview, Interview - While this step defiantly takes the longest, it is also the most necessary. Regardless of what your list of priorities is you always want to go with a daycare that is clean, safe, and kid friendly. I recommend meeting the provider after daycare hours if possible, and to bring your child along. The provider will be able to give you her full attention when she is not trying to care for other children at the same time, and your child's reaction to the daycare environment and the provider is very important. The provider(s) should be friendly, comfortable around your child, and make you feel comfortable also. During the interview make sure to ask what their policy is on discipline, what their daily schedule is like, their teacher/child ratio, and any other questions on your list of priorities.
7. Choose the best daycare to meet your needs! If you are unhappy with all of the daycares you have interviewed just start the process over and look at more options. If you have found more than one daycare that you love and just can't decide you may want to ask the providers if you can come and visit during the day and just watch for a little while.
Original Source: Ezine Articles
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