I think it is so stressful and scary putting your bub into daycare for the first time. We are just going through this with my almost 10 month old DD. But she actually really likes it! She likes playing with the other kids and is settling in so well. She cried when we left the other day. it was much harder for me than her!
I think it might be possible that your fears of daycare are clouding your opinions of the centers a bit (I don't mean this as a criticism - I totally felt the same!). It is important to figure out what you really want and to not worry about some of the little things. Like, there is a big difference between a place that is dirty and untidy. The baby rooms at our center have 8 babies in them - it is understandable that there are toys everywhere and it's a bit messy! But I wouldn't be happy if it was really dirty and didn't look like it was ever cleaned.
The friendliness of the staff really mattered to me. And their approach to things like food (my center only introduces food we've introduced at home, and they provide/prepare fresh food for the bubs), nap time (my center will help the bubs settle if necessary) and how they interact with the kids. I was also pleased with the general set up - lots of toys, a nice outside area (under shade and with a big sandbox), rooms with enough space for the babies to move about but still be always supervised.
Definitely go and check out the centers - do a tour and ask lots of questions.
I have given bub and me a couple of weeks to "transition" to daycare, where I went with her a couple of days and now am at home so if there are any issues I can just pop in. It is working so well.
I also went with my gut instinct! One centre I walked into just didn't feel "right" to me, there was a few things that just jumped out at me and I couldn't get out of their fast enough!
Absolutely love the girls at the my centre now and the minute I walked in I felt like it was meant to be.
I went to the only one that had a vacancy for my son, a week before I was due to start work!
It turned out to be lovely but its expensive, as most are.A year on I've got into one that is cheaper and I'm trying two days in the new one and two days in the older one (to keep my spot). If there is no difference in it we will move him to the cheaper place. At 5 grand difference a year we just couldn't afford not to try even though the cheaper place looks less flashy.
Also, if we do manage to have a second bub and s/he goes to daycare 4 days a week it will be 10 grand cheaper! Really hoping it works out.........
I was always bit skeptical about daycares and I am an early childcare teacher but after doing quite a lot of temp work through an agency last year I was exposed to some great centres, my favourite was one in Sydney in a mall where the outdoor area was very large but it was covered due to the mall was a godsend because no matter the weather the children could let off steam and all the teachers were relaxed and some of the teachers brought their babies too, which was good.
Please investigate family day care it is a wonderful experience for children. Good luck in your search.
My advice, trust your instincts & watch how the staff interact with the children. Do the carer's talk/play with the babies at nappy time? That is a big one for me as it's an opportunity to give one on one attention & a good carer will take this time to bond with the child.
I looked at a lot of centres before choosing one. What I looked for is:
- how the staff spoke to the students
- how calm the room was (some were bedlam, my son would not have coped).
- I always asked about staff turnover, a sign of a happy healthy organisation.
- gut instinct
- willingness to get to know my sons routine (he was 7months at the time).
- how the staff interacted with other parents as they came into the room
- a good orientation program
That's all I can think of at the moment. It is hard, I struggled with the whole process but the ladies at my centre made a big difference.
My priority list was
Opening hours- I need it to be open by 6-6.15am as my shift starts at 7am. And occ I finish at 5.30pm so needs to be open till 6pm.
No in house food. I don't want a centre to provide food.
Plus the obvious - nice staff, happy kids, good communication etc
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Thanks well looks like I can put DD on the waiting list for the centre I want her to goto as df lost his job today (boo) but in other ways good.
Looks like I can choose the centre I really loved even though was 6 month wait
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My priority was
Little to no staff turn over. For continuity of care but also cause it's a very good sign that staff is happy, children are well cared for, good organization etc
Excellent communication skills from the staff
Food prepared fresh at the center
Outdoor area away from the street
The rest didn't matter much to me. My centre isn't flash and I like it that way. I didn't want a brand new centre with all the chemicals still being released from fresh painted walls (I used to work in the paint industry and people don't know half of it) etc
Happy if it is not tidy. I'd rather see the staff interacting with the babies rather than spending time putting toys away all the time.
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