Choosing childcare for your infant can seem like an overwhelming task. Placing the welfare of your child in someone else’s hands is a serious decision and it is your responsibility as a parent to ensure that your child is in a happy and safe child care environment that is fun, stimulation and nurturing. Here are just some of the things you should consider when choosing childcare for your little one.
You and your child’s needs
Cost will be one of the biggest factors in your childcare choice. You need to be able to maintain payments, but not have to work so hard as to diminish the quality of the time that you do get to spend with your child. That said, the quality of child care that your infant receives will affect their development and long-term future and, while there may be some aspects that you can compromise on, do not compromise on quality support for your child.
Location of the facility is also important and drop-off / pick-up arrangements should fit around the rest of your working day. Ensure that nutrition, napping, discipline and toileting policies are consistent with those of the family. Staff should meet regularly with parents to discuss progress. Your cultural and religious values should be respected and where possible catered for.
Stimulating and fun environment
It is important that the environment is both fun and stimulating for your child. Childcare staff should have experience and knowledge in child development. The brains of infants are like sponges and the early days are the best time for them to develop language and cognitive skills. There should be a large variety of toys, equipment and other learning materials that are both age and developmentally appropriate for your child. Daily activities should promote cognitive, social and emotional development and help stimulate creativity.
Children should be able to partake in both fine and gross motor development activities. TV should be minimal, if at all. Each child should be given individual attention, though some level of independence should be encouraged. Care providers should interact with the children in a caring and positive manner, while showing patience and understanding. Staff should also be able to help your child adjust to the transition from home to childcare.
Childcare providers should be licensed and their licence clearly posted in their premises. There should be secure areas, both inside and out, for children to play. Surfaces should be clean and the facility free of hazards. The facility should also be able to temporarily isolate a sick child should the need arise. Any meals that are served should be healthy and food preparation areas should be safe and clean. Safety caps in electrical outlets, safety gates on stairs and smoke alarms and fire extinguishers should all be evident. There should be enough staff for the number of children within the centre. The service provider should be able to provide you with a reference.
Do not take the decision of who you leave your child with lightly, but equally, do not be overwhelmed by the options. Consider what you want for your child, list the available options and narrow them down. The Caring Services Agency is a great place to start for those looking forchildcare in Liverpool.