I'm likely to be heading back to work 3 or 3.5 days per week when baby is 12-13 months. I've got my name down at the day care centre where I work, but would like to look at other centres, including family day care options.
As new parents, we quite anxious at the thought of this! I think once I find a place (or places) that I'm comfortable with, I can get my name down on a waiting list (or 2... or 3....) and hopefully we can relax knowing he's going to be OK when I go back to work. I've heard stories about wonderful day care, and terrible day care, so I'm hoping to go into this as prepared as I can be.
Any tips on what to look for in centres and family day care facilities for babies 1-2 years old? Any tips on what questions to ask?
Some things I can think of after reading threads here:
- number of children in the room/house and ages
- staff:child ratios
- continuity/consistency of carers - how many different people will be looking after our little one on a regular basis
- continuity/consistency of other children in the room/house
- training/experience of carer(s) who will be looking after our little one
- what activities will our little one be doing when awake
- for FDC - what other people are coming into house
- quality control and standards - who checks/accredits them
- for FDC - will my little one have to go on trips in car or errands with the carer
- policy on sick children attending
- where will our little one sleep, how are the babies helped to sleep
- where will our little one be playing when awake? Safety? Comfort in hot/cold weather? Fun activities and other little ones to play with?
- meals - how, what, when
So - what do you look for? What questions would you ask and what answers tell you that you are onto a winner? What should I be looking out for when I visit? What would set off warning bells for you?