Choosing the Best Daycare for Your Child

So it’s time for your little one to head off to daycare? The transition from home to a full-time care facility can be a challenge for both you and your young one. If you choose the right place, however, that transition can proceed much more smoothly. How do you know what to look for to ensure that your child has the best daycare experience possible? Continue reading for three things you need to consider when searching for quality childcare.

Consider Your Child’s Age

Your child’s age should be one of the greatest determining factors when choosing an appropriate daycare facility. Daycare programs are structured according to children’s developmental stages, and educational activities within each group are also structured to target specific ages. When scoping out facilities, it is important to look for one that offers age-appropriate learning activities for each stage of your child’s early cognitive development. Ideally, children will be segmented into groups according to age or developmental stage and educated accordingly. Your child’s social interaction with other children in his or her age group is a critical component in fostering relationship building and teamwork skills.

Consider Cost

Daycare costs have risen considerably, and that climb only continues. Annual childcare costs for an infant at a licensed daycare can run in excess of $10,000 USD (£7783.00) per year—and often well above that. As your child begins to learn, explore and require dedicated education, your childcare costs will climb even more. Depending on your location, annual costs may surge as high as £15,500 (about $20,000 USD) per child. When considering daycare facilities, the cost can often be an indication of the facility’s strengths. At the base level, which is generally the most affordable cost tier, education and developmental activities may be included, but highly affordable programs are typically focused on supervision alone. As you move up in cost tiers, additional services beyond simple supervision are included in the price. In-depth educational time, foreign language teaching, team-building activities and even advanced physical education like gymnastics and yoga may be offered at the more expensive centers. Additionally, many higher-cost daycare centers offer after-hours programs designed to accommodate children whose parents work until later in the evening.

Consider Employee Education

If you’re looking for a childcare facility that offers a well-rounded education and knowledgeable care, you’ll want to verify the center’s employee education requirements. Many facilities only require the completion of state-mandated education hours, yet others require employees to possess, at a minimum, an associate degree in early childhood education. Some places even require a bachelor’s degree in an education-related field for employment consideration. If you want your child to receive a quality education delivered by trained professionals who are well-versed in early cognitive development, take employee education seriously. Selecting a daycare facility is very similar to selecting a quality school for your child, and employee training and education matters.

Selecting a quality daycare center for your child can be a confusing task. Before you settle on a facility, make sure you do your research. Meet with the facility director, learn about educational options and determine if the center’s offerings justify the asking price. You might even consider sitting in with your child for a class or two to get a feel for how the facility operates. If you do your due diligence, you should have no problem finding a center that provides quality care and education, and one that fits your budget, too.

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