Finding The Best Child Care

By | 26/01/2016

Nanna and baby

When it comes to going back to work at the end of their parental leave many mums are faced with the problem of finding the best child care for their baby.  If you are one of the lucky ones you will have a doting Nanna just waiting for  the chance to take care of her new grandchild.  If there is no Nanna nearby then you are faced with finding the best childcare for your baby.

What is the right day care?

Your first decision will be the type of childcare you want.  You may want to put your baby into a registered day care because they are registered and approved by the government.  This type of day care needs to maintain a standard of care set out by government regulations.  You can  read a copy of these standards here.

Perhaps you would prefer to have someone to take care of your baby at home.  You might feel this would be less  disruptive for your baby.  If this is what you choose then you need to be  very sure you find the right person.  If they come with references be sure to check them and if you are able to meet and speak to any of the referees you should.  Remember, references are easy to fake.  You should also do a thorough criminal background check on anyone you hire.

This is a huge decision for any parent and you should start looking early so  you are not under pressure to make an immediate decision on which child care is best.

What should I look for?

If you are putting your child into a day care outside your home there are several things you need to look for.

  1.  First and foremost you should ensure the premises are clean and that the staff are properly trained.  If you have read through the standards set out by the Government (check the link above) look for indications that the center is making every effort to meet those standards.  Also if your baby is on any medication make sure the staff is able to administer it.   You also need to know how any allergies you child may have will be managed.  Also ask about their policy on immunization.
  2. Your baby needs attention.  He needs some cuddle time and some comfort when he gets distressed.  You should meet the person who will be your baby’s primary carer at the center.  You should be comfortable and compatible with this person.  It is important  to be very clear on what you expect from them when it comes to your baby.  It is important to know the person who is your baby’s carer will still be there next year so ask them how long they have worked there and try to learn how they feel about the center and the work.
  3. When you first visit the center to check it out take a look around.  Are the carers cuddling one of the children and paying attention to all of them.  How much time will be spent in front of the TV?  Does the group consist of babies and older children?  Are there young babies who are not crawling spending time on the floor giving them a chance to develop physically and strengthen muscles?  What sort of toys are they playing with?  Make sure there are not toys that could be dangerous to your baby such a button eyes on teddy bears etc.  Things like that can be a choking Play Timehazard for a baby.
  4. Does this child care center understand your own philosophy on caring for you child?  If there are some things you don’t agree with?  Is the center  staff willing to listen and do as much as they can to follow your wishes?  Can you reach a compromise that will keep everyone happy and that you feel comfortable with?
  5. Mother’s seem to develop a sixth sense when it comes to their baby and you should listen to what your sixth sense tells you.  If you have any doubts about the center then walk away.
  6. Remember, this child care center employee who is caring for your child is filling your shoes during the day as your baby’s  carer and needs to be as committed to your baby as you are.   Until your baby can speak for himself you need to speak for him.  You need to agree with his schedule at the center.  When is rest time?  What food and drinks will be offered?  How does the center handle discipline?

Make a list.

Before interviewing child care centers make a list of what you expect of your child’s care.  You can base this on what you would do if you were caring for your baby at home.  You have every right to expect the best possible care for your child and it is up to you to see that your child gets that care.

Drop in unexpectedly a few times and see what is happening.  If you are happy with what you see then you have found the care center you are looking for.  If not, keep looking.

Summing up.

Leaving your baby with strangers is never easy so expect a few tears the first few days.  Yours, probably not the baby’s.  Returning to work for many mothers and having to leave their baby is very distressing so don’t be too hard on yourself.  If you are worried ring the center and ask how he is doing.

When you pick him up after work make sure his carer gives you a comprehensive report on his day.  How manyNanna Knows Day Care bottles he had, what he ate and drank, what times did he sleep. was he settled, how many nappies he used and so on.

When you drop him off in the morning  make sure you give the carer a full report on how he slept overnight, when his next feed is due,  if he has been restless and irritable and anything else you can think of that will give his carer a guide to his care needs during the day.

I am sure you will find excellent day care for your baby and I would love to hear  about it so please leave me a comment below.





6 thoughts on “Finding The Best Child Care

  1. Viljoen

    Hi Margaret

    The factors that you pointed out are crucial. It is not easy to trust strangers to look after your children and this can have a massive influence on the upbringing of your child.

    I think that a mother needs to know a lot about the care takers before she uses them.

    1. Margaret Kennedy Post author

      Hi and thanks for commenting on this. You are right about the influence the carer has in your baby’s life and you need to know you can tryst that person completely. The ideal is if mum could stay at home until the baby goes to school and then go back to part time work during school hours. Sadly this is not an option for most mothers and I really feel very sorry for them.
      If only we lived in a perfect world.

  2. Pitin

    Hi Margaret,

    I am not a fan of daycares. 🙁 I have seen some of the day cares nearby my house. They have only one person attending 6 babies/toddlers. Most of the time I observed random daycares, they would just let babies cry. These people (not all), will not give the “love” you expect them to give but I agree that your little one should at least be safe and well taken care of. As much as we moms hate to leave our babies to strangers, sometimes we have to do it because we need to pay bills and therefore go back to work.:( I would prefer to hire a stay in nanny probably because my baby would at least develop a relationship and bonding with her and I will be in full control and access them anytime through baby monitors. But of course, you’ll need to really do a very careful background check as you have advised.

    1. Margaret Kennedy Post author

      Hi Pitin,
      The problem never arose for me when my babies were young as there were no child care centers. I would have hated leaving my babies with anyone and can especially strangers. I am sure there are people who would take excellent care of your baby. Child Care takes a special type of person to do it well a bit like nurses really. I truly believe it has to be a calling and not just a job.
      It would be wonderful if we could just stay home with out children but as you say the bills keep coming and have to be paid..
      Your re right even a live in Nanny isn’t always the answer.
      I hope if you have ot leave your baby you find a real Mary Poppins to take care of her.
      Many thanks for your comments

  3. Desiree

    Thank you for the great info! As a mother the list of people I trust to watch my kids is miniscule, so having this information is very helpful. I can’t tell you how many stories I’ve heard of daycares not redirecting the wishes of the parents. I agree that watching how they interact with other kids is a great way to see how they’ll be around your kids. Thanks again for the info!

    1. Margaret Kennedy Post author

      It is always stressful when you have to leave your baby in the care of strangers. I am so glad my post was a help to you.

      Best wishe Margarey


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