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5 Easy Daycare Tips

When I was six months pregnant, I thought I had the whole child care arrangement handled for my little bundle of joy. My hubby and I had opted to go with an in-home provider, who came with glowing recommendations from friends. Well, let’s just say that didn’t work out as planned. Little did we know, the provider still needed to have proper licensing and credentials, which they did not, and before my seven months of being prego came around, it was shut down. Major bummer for us, as childcare (let alone, parenthood), was a whole new world that we were about to set foot into. We had no idea what to look for.

Credentials?

Quality care?

We just wanted someplace safe and loving for our baby. Unfortunately, we did not have family that could care for him, so we had to look for an outside provider. How hard could that be, right?!?! … wrong! For us, it was a difficult decision, especially in the Orlando area, as there are a plethora of options available. With all the choices out there, it can sometimes feel overwhelming. Bottom line — do research and see which type of daycare is right for your family. Do drop-in visits and tour facilities. Talk to other parents and friends. Use your resources!

Long story short, we ended up choosing a corporate daycare center close to our home, and have never looked back {my kiddo is now 3}. For any parent that has to work, making the choice to leave your child in the hands of ANY stranger is one of the most difficult decisions EVER. Especially, for a hormone-induced mama coming off a maternity leave… yikes! Talk about water works… hahaha!

08-23_backpack pic

To facilitate a successful relationship between the center & my family, these are my tips that I have learned along the way these last 3 years:

1. Advocate for your child

Be THEIR VOICE  — especially at this young age when they really don’t have one, don’t be afraid to speak up, if you would like something to be done differently, or if you just have a general question. Both the teachers and the management are there to help you and care for your child. Many times, they won’t know you are upset or concerned about something unless you voice it to them.

2. Communicate

I am a strong believer in maintaining great lines of communication between all staff at our center. This includes both my child’s teachers and the management. Be friendly, say hello & good-bye not only to your child each day, but also to these people. Talk to them and ask how your child is doing. I have found this to make a big difference and it makes me feel better about my son being there because I feel like I have a better connection with those who are caring for him during the day.

3. Be flexible

Remember, this is a business, too, so there will be staffing changes, policy changes, etc. Your child is also going to change rooms as they grow and most times, this will harder on you, then on them. Remember my point #2 above, but also keep in mind that working with the daycare instead of trying to work against them makes for a happier you, and in turn, a happier child!

4. Utilize Media

Many daycare centers offer camera options that you can utilize to watch your child in the classroom. This is not a bad thing. They are not there to ‘catch something wrong’, but rather to help you catch a glimpse of your little one when you might be missing them throughout the day, or maybe you want to check on him to see how the potty training is going. Use this resource! Believe it or not, I have seen some pretty hilarious moments of my kiddo goofing off that I might have otherwise missed from moments I have watched in the midst of my day at work. I am thankful for this option. I also utilize social media that my center offers, such as Facebook and Twitter. They take pictures of him periodically and post them for the parents to see and also post reminders for upcoming events & activities.

5. Establish Routine

We all know that children thrive on routine, and establishing a routine around daycare is no different. I have found it especially helpful to keep drop off and pick up times consistent, whenever possible. For example, my little guy knows that when we get to daycare in the morning, we get breakfast from the kitchen area and sit down at the table in his classroom. That helps facilitate a smooth good-bye process for me. He also has recently requested for Daddy to pick him up from school & they walk home together, so {again, whenever possible} we try to make that happen, as he looks forward to that.

2014-05-16_lunch with mommy day

These are just a few of my tips and tricks to help make our daycare experience the best that it can be for our family. I am so thankful to have a great center watching over my little man! How has your experience with daycare been? Do you have any tips & tricks of your own that I haven’t mentioned today? I would love for you to share them in the comments below!


 

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