Day Care

Choosing a day care can be extremely difficult for parents, especially those who are not quite comfortable leaving their children with strangers. When choosing a day care, there are a few things parents should be aware of. The best way to learn about any day care or school your child will attend is to spend a day there. Sometimes it can be hard to take a day off of work, but it is certainly worth it when you’re child’s care and education is at stake. When visiting a day care, you should look for the following things:

1. A Schedule – make sure the center has a schedule for the kids. It is VERY important that this schedule does not include more than 1 hour of unorganized play per day, which would amount to about half an hour in the morning and half an hour in the afternoon. A good schedule for a day care would include organized activities in the morning with literacy centers and math activities, about half an hour of free play, Circle time (which includes instruction on the days of the week, months of the year, the weather, etc…), and a group reading (preferably with a book large enough for all children to see). In the afternoon some schools require nap time. If your child does not take naps, make sure that the school is aware of this and WILL NOT force naps. Ask what activities are available for these children. After nap time, story time is a good activity. If free play is included in the afternoon, ask what activities are available. Most of them should be activities that build motor skills and help with coordination.

2. Discipline – make sure you know hoe the center handles discipline. Children need consistency, and if the center has no set plan for discipline, it’s probably not consistent. Make sure that children who are being disciplined are not called out in front of the group. Just as you wouldn’t want your boss to yell at you in front of your colleagues, your child will be embarrassed if his teacher corrects him in front of the group. When the children are disciplined, make sure that the tone of voice used by the teacher is appropriate. Yelling at a child, especially one that is not your own, is never acceptable. It teaches the children to mistrust adults, and that is not the kind of experience you want your child to have in any school or day care. The best methods for discipline involve a warning, a removal from the situation with a time-out for one minute per the child’s age with an explanation of the unacceptable behavior, and an apology from the child when the time is up.

3. Lunch – many day cares provide lunch or snacks for the children, and the quality of these is extremely important. Make sure that the lunch includes milk or juice (NOT the sugary kind), a vegetable and fruit, a meat or other protein, and some kind of grain. Snacks should be healthy, as well. Make sure that the day care provides you with a schedule of meals and that you check with your child daily to make sure the center is sticking to that schedule. Some day cares will provide a schedule but through talking to your child you find out that he has been eating only peanut butter and jelly. Some day cares may not have an objection if you choose to pack your child’s lunch yourself, just make sure they are aware and that they do not allow your child to trade items that you have packed for less healthy items other children may be eating.


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