Important Questions to Ask an Infant Daycare Center

daycare provider caring for infant

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One of your to-do's while you're pregnant is to visit an infant daycare center in advance of your baby's arrival—particularly since many are on a waitlist. You'll want to find out if this type of childcare would be a good fit for your family. 

Here's how to decide which infant daycare center to visit. Decide ahead of time if it makes more sense to find a center that's closer to home or closer to work. Also, consider how far it'd be from your spouse's work, too. Once you choose a few centers, you can narrow down your search by checking if they are open during the hours you're in need of childcare.

Now it's time to schedule a tour and a personal interview with the director and perhaps a few teachers (if available). You'll be able to see what the rooms look like, what kind of toys they have, and what the environment of the center is like.

Now it's time to prepare for the interview. Research the testimonials on the infant daycare center's website to get a feel for what other people think of the place. Make notes about what you want to learn more about and be sure to include these six questions.

What Is the Tuition and Payment Process?

It's the big question you need to ask each center. If the tuition is outside of your budget, what options do they offer to help you out? Also, if you pay them late, would you be charged a late fee?

In addition to tuition, find out if you are charged if you are late to pick up your child. While you're on the subject of money, ask if there are any other additional costs you should be made aware of.

What Is the Infant to Provider Ratio?

You want to be sure that your child gets the attention they deserve. An infant needs constant attention, so that ratio should be as low as possible to ensure your infant is adequately cared for.

A favorable ratio would be one childcare provider to three infants or fewer. Each state has its own ratio, but the smaller the ratio the better.

What Does the Daily Routine Look Like?

You want your newborn's development to include stimulation and learning opportunities. Some great activities could be things like music classes, storytelling, one-on-one interactive play time, sensory time, and the use of baby sign language.

Also, you'll want to find out what schedule will they plan to put your baby on so you can try to replicate that at home. Will that schedule work for you? One last thing, be sure to ask what supplies will you need to provide such as diapers, wipes, extra clothes, or bedsheets.

How Are Milestones Tracked?

From making the transition from a bottle to a sippy cup to crawling for the first time, infants are constantly developing. They reach many milestones in the first year of their lives.

Ask what programming is in place at the infant daycare center to track and encourage that babies reach these milestones. Then research this curriculum to see if you think it's the right fit for your child.

How Will Your Child Grow at the Center?

Children in daycare centers have the advantage of being in a social situation early on in life. They also get the opportunity for early education. For this reason, you need to ask about future educational opportunities.

Does the infant daycare center follow a nursery school and pre-K curriculum? If you know that your child will miss the cut-off date for kindergarten does the infant daycare center offer a kindergarten program? This would help your child transition well into kindergarten when the time comes.

How Are Allergies Managed?

If food allergies run in your family you'll want to know if the infant daycare provider can look for early signs. How do they track the food your child eats?

If your baby develops hives, it's imperative that the infant daycare provider can recount all the food the child ate that day. Is there a nurse on staff who can treat a child if an allergic reaction occurs? If not, who is qualified to do so?

After a visit and an interview, you'll be in a better position to make a choice. Are any of the infant daycare centers right for your baby? There are many perks to investing in an infant daycare center ahead of time. Perhaps you'll decide that one of your local centers is perfect for your child.

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