Choosing a good daycare can be incredibly overwhelming. Most of the time there are either too many or too few to choose from. How can you know which daycare will be right for you and your little ones? Follow these tips to help speed the process along.
Grab Referrals From Friends & Family
Does someone you know utilize a daycare provider in your area? How do they like it? Have they had positive experiences there? How do their kids seem to do with the providers?
Always be sure to ask your friends or family if they know of a reputable daycare center or provider in the local area. You might be surprised with the information that they provide. A friend or family member’s recommendation can often be trusted more highly than an online review.
Licensed & Certified?
Does the provider possess a valid license from the State that allows them to provide childcare? This license is to protect you and your children from individuals who are unfit to perform the duties associated with caring for children. The license should be on display where all patrons can view it.
What about early childhood education certifications? While these certifications are not necessarily a “make it or break it, must-have” for some parents, they are worth considering. If the daycare center regularly staffs providers with these certifications, you can feel more secure in knowing that your child is well cared for by individuals who have experience in this career field.
Children to Providers Ratio
When visiting the daycare center, take careful notice of the ratio of children to providers. Do the providers seem overrun or frazzled? Are the children in control, or do the providers have a handle on the activities? This is an important aspect to consider when choosing a good daycare provider.
In a perfect world, there would be a 1:1 ratio of children to providers, but unfortunately that is simply not possible for most daycare centers. Consider instead the ratio of 3:1, or three children for every provider. This ratio is quite manageable for most providers and is often the norm for most daycare centers. Any ratios that are higher than this can become unmanageable for providers, and can become unsafe for your little ones.
Safety & Cleanliness
Is the center clean? It should not only look clean, but smell clean as well. Obviously, there might be an unpleasant smell here and there (there are children here, after all), but the providers should be making a point of keeping the entire center clean and organized. This means keeping the toys and surfaces clean, as well as the children.
Consider especially the kitchen/food preparation areas and the bathrooms. These areas are germ havens if not properly cleaned and disinfected. And since everyone knows that children are basically little germ soaked sponges, these areas need to be regularly cleaned after every use.
In addition to cleanliness, a good daycare center should be safe. This doesn’t just mean that the little ones are properly corralled and kept away from sharp objects (although, they should be doing this too…). It means that there are proper procedures in place for any sort of emergency. There should be first aid kits available in every room of the center, as well as fire extinguishers in the kitchen/food preparation areas, childproof locks on cabinets, outlet covers on exposed outlets, and baby gates in areas where crawlers should not be visiting.
The providers should also have emergency procedures in place for disaster type situations, such as fires, floods, hurricanes, tornados, and the like.
Go With Your Gut
In visiting various daycare centers you may have better feelings about some than others. A daycare center can have all of the certifications and learning opportunities available in the universe, but if your gut says no, listen to your gut. You should feel comfortable leaving your kiddos with your daycare provider, and ultimately your childcare provider should be keeping your little ones safe and loved. If your gut is set on a specific daycare provider, be sure that they meet the following requirements:
- Must have a valid license to practice childcare in your state.
- The environment must be safe and clean.
- The ratio of children to providers should be low.
- You trust the providers.
- The providers are passionate about providing childcare that meets or exceeds your expectations.
How to Avoid the Epic Meltdown: Understanding Your Child’s Cues
Duh, duh, duh….the dreaded meltdown. With one kid, this can bring the strongest mommy to her knees. With multiples, well…the word “epic” takes on a completely new meaning. In the worst possible way.
Moral of the story? A little organization and forethought can go a long way. Considering WHY my kids were throwing tantrums and then exploring what I could do to prevent them before they started has saved me a million tears. Like I said, it’s not a perfect system. But every little bit helps.
How to Speak the Right Language: Understanding Your Child’s Cues
Every day I pick up my children from day care to hear “They are such great kids! They had a blast today and are some of the best listeners we’ve ever had. They’re so well-behaved!” Yay, Mama win! And then we go home and they act like total demon-infested, hell-raising psychos and won’t listen to a word I say. Weekends can be brutal and I sometimes find myself praising Jesus that I decided to keep working and not stay-at-home.
sweet kids from day care?
Best Thing I Ever Did: I went to pick the kids up one day and they were enjoying themselves, so I decided to just sit and watch for a bit and let them play. Funny thing happened. I started listening to how the day care teachers communicated with my children and how they responded. And the light bulb went off. I don’t know how to speak the language my kids understand.
I started listening harder. And then I came back the next day and did it again. Now, every time I drop off or pick up, I listen. How are they talking to my kids? What are they saying? How are the kids responding? And then I mimick it at home.
Major win!!! My kids are starting to see an extension of their daily routine back into the home and it’s making sense. I say certain words they’re used to hearing and like magic, they listen. Not every time (which I suspect also happens at day care), but the majority of time. Major improvement. We are starting to speak the same language.
Sometimes I forget (or refuse to admit) that I am not my children’s primary care provider. For those of us that work outside the home, most often our kids spend the majority of their time somewhere other than with us. Sometimes, being reminded of that hurts. A lot. But truth is, they develop routines, cues and references that we’re not familiar with. We need to learn the language they are used to hearing every day so that we can communicate our needs in a way they understand. I need to speak my children’s language.
Phrase Adjustments that Worked for Me:
- “Walk away please” instead of “No!” or “Don’t Touch!”
- “Are you using your listening ears?” instead of “Listen to me!”
- “I’m going to go to work for awhile, but Mommies always come back!” instead of “Say bye to Mommy. I have to go to work.”
11 Alternatives to Self Harm: Emily Speaks
If you’re just connecting with the Emily Speaks series, be sure to check out her first post, Cyber Bullying and Self-Harm, to catch up. Today, Emily will be sharing 11 alternatives to self harm to help those hurting to make healthier choices to cope with emotional struggles.
I know it can be hard not to self-harm if you’re being bullied, but you need to try to think of other ways to deal with the pain. Cutting leaves angry scars on your body. You should try to deal with your hurt in other ways. Here are 11 good examples that will hopefully help you out a little bit.
1. Try talking to somebody about what’s going on so that you can get it out of your system.
2. Go outside where nobody is around and just scream as loud as you can for as long as you want.
3. Take a rubber band and keep it on your wrist so whenever you feel like cutting you can just take that rubber band and snap it on your wrist (softly – not to where it harms you).
4. Get an old teddy bear or stuffed animal that you don’t want and take your anger out on that.
5. Go on a jog or go out and ride your bike or long board or whatever you have and just ride around to calm yourself down.
6. Go hang out with your friend(s) and get your mind off things that would make you want to cut or do anything else to harm yourself.
7. Sleep it out and take a long nap and see how you’re feeling when you wake up.
8. Go hang out with your family and just relax.
9. Listen to some music.
10. Read a book.
11. Get an art journal and draw out your feelings. You can paint, draw pictures, even just scribble hard.
These are some of the ways that I stop myself from cutting, because I do still think about it when things get rough. When that happens, I try to do these instead and it helps. It does! You need to do anything that would take your mind off of any bad thoughts you are having and make you want to hurt yourself. This might not be the best list of ideas, but if you take a chance and try them out, they might end up working for you. You’re not only helping yourself, but you’re helping everyone else around you by making a better choice to not self-harm.