The first step you should take is to make a list of qualities you’re looking for in a childcare provider, such as experience, staff rations, flexibility etc. When searching for a new crèche or childcare facility make sure to give yourself plenty of time so that you are not under pressure to make a quick decision.
Make sure to visit the childcare facility as often as you wish when there are children present. Doing this gives you an insight into the quality of childcare and the atmosphere there. Make note of the following:
- A warm responsive interaction between the carers and the children. Do the children look happy and content? Your gut instinct in judging this is often the best – will your own child be happy there?
- A friendly, welcoming and safe environment.
- A good structure and routine to the day and good arrangements for mealtimes.
- Plenty of stimulating activities, toys and materials for the children that are appropriate to the age of your child.
- Opportunities to play outdoors as well as indoors.
You should also ask the manager about their policies and procedures on matters such as discipline, infectious diseases and contacting parents when a child is sick.
Check whether they welcome parent involvement and contact. The more you can be involved with the crèche while you child is there, the more you will be reassured about his/her welfare. Some business owners encourage parent evenings as a way of encouraging parents to get involved.
Enquire about staff turnover – staff who have been there a long time means that your child will have consistency of care.
Ask other parents whose children have been there. A recommendation from a trusted family member or friend can often be the best advice.
It is important that you are 100% happy with your choice of childcare so you can easily reassure your child and help them to feel good about going there. Children often pick up on their parents’ anxiety and worry.