Between coordinating childcare, figuring out a new schedule and beginning to feel like a normal person again, life with a newborn can be a lot to handle. Finding the right daycare center on top of it all can seem like a nearly impossible task.
Consider these suggestions to find the right daycare for your little one.
Look for safety first
One of the most important things to look for is evidence that your potential daycare follows safe practices, including at nap time.
“When you first walk into the infant classroom, check for see-through cribs,” said Naomi Lennis Hicks from the Park Avenue KinderCare. “Teachers should be able to see your baby every moment of every day, even when they’re sleeping.”
You should also ask how teachers at the daycare put babies to bed and what’s allowed in cribs. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome, babies should sleep on their backs on a firm surface without pillows, blankets or toys in bed with them.
Find a place that follows each baby’s schedule
Although babies’ schedules are never 100 percent predictable, an accommodating daycare may work with parents to follow their children’s routine as closely as possible.
While some daycares enforce naps at certain times, you can look for an option that takes into account each baby’s sleeping needs. Teachers should know how to watch each child closely for signs of tiredness. Eye-rubbing, sucking on hands or fingers and heavy-headed nodding are all signs that it’s time for some shut-eye.
Whether baby likes rocking, singing, being held or using a pacifier, a daycare that partners with parents to learn what works best for each baby can be a more comforting option.
Make sure the center is clean and tidy
When classrooms are spick and span, it’s typically a sign that a daycare and its teachers are paying attention to the details, while also likely employing a dedicated cleaning staff to ensure the space is safe for babies to crawl and play.
In infant classrooms especially, keep an eye out for shoe-free policies and disposable booties for visitors to use.
“We have a bootie- or sock-only policy, and many of our teachers even bring their own slippers just for the classroom,” said Sheila Silveria with the Mercantile KinderCare Learning Center. “As soon as babies are ready to start crawling, it’s important to give them freedom to explore. A shoe-free policy is the best way to keep their little hands and mouths away from germs and dirt while they discover the world.”
For many parents, the most important thing is that their babies are safe and happy, meaning they can rest assured they made the best decision for their family. Find more information and tips to find the right daycare at kindercare.com.