What to Look for in An Infant Day Care Center
By Cleo Gib | 3/9/2017, midnight
Finding the right day care center for your infant is one of the most important decisions a parent can make. Because the early years are so critical for brain development, it is important to select a program that provides educational and social instruction as well as a safe and nurturing environment. Unfortunately, there are no federal standards for day care centers, and regulations can vary from state to state, so parents must conduct their own thorough research when choosing a provider. Read the following guide to learn what to look for when selecting an infant day care in Anaheim.
Begin your search for a new infant day care center by obtaining references from credible sources. Ask friends, relatives, and neighbors for referrals to day care providers they know and trust. It can also be helpful to search online referral websites like naeyc.com, care.com, or angieslist.com for listings and reviews of qualified providers in your area.
Because the safety and wellbeing of your child is the most important factor to consider when selecting a day care center, it is essential to verify that each potential provider has the necessary credentials to expertly care for your child. Look for providers that are licensed by the state and accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and the National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC). It is also important to ask each provider how long they have been in business and if they have any outstanding violations with the state.
Because infants require so much time and attention, it is important to ensure that your child will have constant supervision. Look for providers with low teacher-to-child ratios. Ideally, day care centers should provide a caregiver for every 3 to 4 infants.
A Safe and Healthy Environment
When interviewing potential day care providers, it is important to discuss the center’s policies on discipline, transportation, illness, safety, immunizations, nutrition, media use, play time, and communication to ensure that they provide a safe and healthy environment for your child. Make sure that each employee has had a background check and is certified in CPR and first aid. A good day care center will also have emergency plans in place for sick, injured, or lost children, fires, and other natural disasters. Making sure that you are on the same page with your day care provider can prevent unnecessary frustration and misunderstandings and ensure a positive working relationship.
A good infant caregiver should not only be nurturing and caring but also educated and well trained. Look centers that employ teachers and administrators with early childhood education degrees and also provide opportunities to obtain additional training and professional development on a regular basis to sharpen their skills.
A Focus on Learning and Development
Be sure to visit each potential day care center during the workday to observe their daily schedule and routines. Look for providers that offer a variety of age-appropriate activities that focus on learning and social development such as music, reading, art, and structured play time. Make sure that the caregivers are providing stimulating care by making eye contact, talking, singing, holding, and playing with each infant.
Lastly, when looking for infant day care in Anaheim, it is important to select a center that encourages communication and parental involvement. Look for day care centers that welcome visits from parents during the day and provide opportunities for parents to give feedback on how they can improve and better meet the needs of the children. Good day care centers provide clear and frequent communication with parents on their child’s needs, educational and social development, and future goals.