If it’s time for you to go back to work, you are surely looking for the best childcare option that will ensure your child is in safe hands. While you could rely on your parents and close friends to care for your little one while you are away, there will come a time when your child will need to start kindergarten so you can think about preparing them for this move on time. Moreover, early childhood education is of vital importance for their success later on. With that in mind, here are some useful tips that every parent could use when choosing child care.
Decide if you want in-home care or a childcare center
For starters, as a parent, you have to decide what type of care you are looking for. There are several options that you can choose from, depending on your needs. For example, you can have a trained professional come into your home and tend to your child while you are at work. Look into the Australian Government’s In-Home Care program if you need assistance with affording such care. Then, you can drop off your little one at a provider’s home, where they care for their own kids as well. The home-based environment and being able to play with other kids are just some of the benefits of this so-called family daycare approach. However, look into whether the carer is approved and has the necessary licenses. Lastly, you can opt for center-based care which offers routine and structure as well as plenty of opportunities for socializing with other children.
Ask around for recommendations
Once you are more familiar with the available types, you can start looking into possible providers. If you have friends that already have kids, ask them for recommendations and experiences. Did they find a great center on their first try and are extremely satisfied with the care they provided? Where did they hear about the daycare? Was it also recommended to them? Have they enrolled their child in a center and ended up looking for a better solution? Consult with several friends and see whether any of their experiences seem applicable to your situation. Remember to keep in mind the fact that everyone’s needs and experiences are subjective and what worked for them might not work for you, and vice versa.
Do your own research
On the other hand, if none of your friends have kids and experience with daycare services, it’s time to do some research on your own. Start by looking into the local offer of childcare providers. Once you find those that operate near you, you want to look into them. For example, in addition to checking their website for useful information, you can also visit parenting forums to see what people have to say about their services. Then, you can also ask your social media friends and followers about the experiences they’ve had. Finally, go through their social media pages and see the comments that people are leaving.
Look into their policy, program, and accreditation
Another big aspect that you need to look into while doing your research is their philosophy. Find their values and beliefs and see if they align with yours. Moreover, the program is also important as you want your child to be encouraged to learn, explore and connect with other kids. With that in mind, if they offer meals, you want to see what kind of food they have and if it’s healthy and nutritious. Then, you want to see how they deal with incidents and accidents. Does their style fit in with your parenting methods? Of course, you want to ensure they are accredited and that the staff working with children is properly trained and experienced.
Interview a few childcare providers
Next, you want to set up an interview with a few providers that made the final cut after your research. You can interview them over the phone or set up in-person meetings. During the interview, you want to ask about the prices, their qualifications and experience, and how they screen employees. You should also keep in mind that many places have a waiting list that they might put you on. Fortunately, even if the first one you apply to doesn’t work out, you can find many quality childcare centres in Australia that will take excellent care of your little one. Additionally, if you notice that they are not forthcoming, it’s best to steer clear of that place.
Drop by unannounced to see how they operate
Before you make your decision, you can also pop by a few times to see what the premises look like, if they are clean and suit all sorts of activities that your child would like. These visits can also show you how they treat kids and how safe the children going there actually are. Are the staff members always looking after the little ones or do they let them run around unsupervised? If you see any practices that you don’t agree with, it might be best to look for a different center for your child.
Trust your intuition
Whether it’s during your research, your interview, or your visit to the center, noticing something that you don’t like is reason enough to look for some other childcare center. You will learn plenty about these providers but something might still seem off despite licenses and positive experiences. In that case, don’t be afraid to trust your gut. Your child deserves the best care if you’re not sure about a center, don’t worry and keep searching for the perfect fit.
Remember that you can always change your mind
Lastly, one more thing that you should remember is that you can always change your mind and look for a better center. If your child is still small, they will not even notice the difference, and kids that are a bit older will quickly get accustomed to the new caregiver as long as their experience is positive. Maybe you will find something closer to your office or a center that offers a better program. Don’t stress if it doesn’t work out but focus on providing your child with the best arrangement.
It’s normal that you want to provide your kid with the best possible environment that will ensure they are safe and properly taken care of. Even if it doesn’t happen on the first try, it’s important that you are dedicated to this cause.
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