By the YeahBaby.com editorial staff
Just as your baby will change when entering the toddler years, its childcare needs will also change. Finding qualified day-care for your toddler does not have to be a daunting task. There are many criteria which will help you cut through the clutter of providers. YeahBaby helps you wade through this maze of day-care options.
Your first and foremost goal in finding daycare should be the safety and well being of your toddler. A daycare center for toddlers should be trained in Early Childhood Education or its equivalent. Daycare centers will be more than accommodating in showing this certification. As an extra dose of precaution, you may want to contact the local or state licensing bureau to ensure the authenticity of the certification.
The toddler years are critical for emotional development, so you will want to ensure a daycare center will cater to your toddlers emotional needs. Spend time at the day-care center to ensure children's self esteem is being nourished. Is every child being treated as they are a special person? Take note of the interactions of the care givers and the children. Caregivers will be instrumental in nurturing behaviors such as sharing, caring, and interacting with others.
The toddler years are their most lively and rambunctious years, which aids in their physical development. Make sure your day care center has ample room for your little one to roam, both inside and outside. Daycare centers with large outdoors are always entertaining for little ones. Playgrounds can transform a toddler daycare into a wonderland! Having plenty of toys on hand can help your little one develop physically, while keeping them entertained for hours.
Day care centers will be providing lunch and snacks for your toddler at a time when a toddler will be developing an emotional attachment to food. Ensure a daycare center will not overfeed your toddler with snackfoods and other unhealthy foods. This will help develop good eating habits for life. Meals should be healthy and consist of all 4 food groups. Ask if a daycare center has meals planned by a registered dietician.
Some children may not like the hustle and bustle of a large day care facility. Some toddlers may be adverse to large groups and develop anxiety to social situations. In this case, you may want to check out alternative home daycare by a family member or a loving mother in the neighborhood. Simply make sure your child is not too reclusive by bringing them to the park to play with other children. These opportunities will prove invaluable in honing your child's social skills.
Safety is also a critical element in a daycare provider. Ensure the daycare center is in a good neighborhood. Are the toys and playthings in good repair. Is there suitable fencing around the playground? Is the kitchen clean?
The daycare's centers location is also important. For every minute spent driving to the daycare is one less you'll be able to spend with the little one. Check the traffic to and form the daycare center at the times you go to work, to avoid unnecessary congestion.
While daycare center rates are important, check for hidden fees which will add up during the year. Being late to pick up your toddler will incur some hefty overage charges!
Finally, and most importantly, check a daycare center's references. Feedback from friends and family is usually the best feedback. Otherwise, feel free to speak with the other parents dropping off their little ones.
Finding good childcare will require patience and persistence, but finding the perfect day-care center will pay life long dividends for your little one.