Young children must receive attention, be comfortable and nurtured to thrive. Hence, it is important to choose a quality childcare setting, when you have to entrust your child’s care to someone else. This is irrespective of whether he will spend just an hour or two or the entire work day there. A secure relationship with their caregiver is crucial for their emotional well-being and social development.
What does quality childcare mean?
Your personal idea of quality child care will depend on your beliefs, cultural needs and social expectations. In a good quality setup, your child will be accepted for who he is. It will be a well-managed environment with responsive and sensitive staff. The caregivers will nurture him and bring out his best, by providing the right stimulation. Your child will feel happy with the arrangement.
Most importantly, your child will be safe and healthy in a quality childcare arrangement. It will be a setup where your child is well-cared for and not prone to any harm.
The qualification, experience and professional qualities of the caregiver are also directly linked to the quality of care you can expect. It is always recommended to choose an accredited facility or licensed caregiver, since they are certified safe and healthy by concerned authorities. Such arrangements will comply with the set standards for childcare and are the safest options for young children.
Why is quality child care important
Every family is different and so are their needs. Hence, the ideal child care setting for one family may not work for another. As a parent, you are responsible for identifying the right setup where your child will feel secure and be happy. Whether you choose a nanny who comes to your house, a daycare center or home care at the caregiver’s residence, your child receive good care.
At the right childcare setup, your child will receive the attention he needs for his age. The younger your child is, the more one-on-one care he needs. In a crowded setup, children do not receive the stimulation they need for their emotional development.
If your child will be spending extended hours in childcare, it will greatly influence his overall development. His interactions with other children and caregivers will affect his character and behavior. Send him to a center that meets most of the quality indicators, and you can be assured of the well-being of your child.
Create your own quality child care checklist
We saw earlier that there is no single ideal child care setting for every family. Nonetheless, there are certain general indicators that are essential to ensure your child is safe and well-cared for.
When researching child care options, it is a good idea to personally observe and understand how a setting works. If you will be hiring a nanny, have a trial session where you can see how she interacts and cares for your child. If your choice is a childcare center, spend some time at the center observing the children and their caregivers in their natural setting. This will allow you to recognize whether your child will enjoy it there.
Look out for the following characteristics to ensure your arrangement is ideal
- It should be a hygienic environment which is regularly cleaned and well-maintained
- There are enough staff to attend to the children. If there are too many children and insufficient staff, opt out of it.
- Working with young children isn’t easy. The place should have qualified staff to deal with the educational, developmental and social needs of young children. They should also be passionate about the work they are involved in.
- Staff should be approachable and friendly. You should have a direct point of contact in case of emergency. The center should also be responsive and update you of your child’s progress on a regular basis
The advantages of home care
There are significant differences between home-based day care setups and centers that offer childcare. There will be fewer staff in a home care setting. The environment is very homely and often better suited for younger children. Due to limitations of space, it is likely that children of various age groups will be mixed together in a home care center. On the other hand, children will be segregated into different groups based on their age in a center.
One of the biggest advantages of home care is that there is a closer bond between caregiver and child as there are fewer number of children. Siblings can play and interact together in such a setting, whereas they may be assigned to different groups in a center. Finally, the homely setting is usually more comfortable for children, as it is less structured and allows your child more freedom to move about and tend to his needs.
How to make sure your child is receiving high quality childcare?
The people who interact and care for your child greatly shape and influence his development. Hence, it is essential to continuously keep tabs on your child’s progress and the care he receives.
Talk to your child to find out if he is content in the childcare environment you have chosen for him. Is his caregiver responsive?
Try to learn about the discipline policies and the rules followed at the setup. Does your child’s caregiver treat him with patience, listen to his issues and address them promptly? Licensed centers will have regular assessments. Look at recent reports to assess whether the childcare facility is maintaining and improving its standards. Staff turnover is also indicative of the quality of care and whether the place is employee-friendly.
Utilize every opportunity to visit and participate in meetings with your child’s caregiver. Follow your intuitions and trust your instincts if you feel something is amiss. Remember that you are the best judge of your child’s needs and trust yourself to make the right decisions in his best interests.