Does childhood care=day care center?


by Vaishali Sudan Sharma updated on February 22, 2015

TCT brings to you some basic pros and cons of a Day Care Center along with a few questions that you must ask any Day Care Center before making the final decision regarding your little one’s childhood care.

Selecting a kindergarten school or a Day Care Center for your child can be quite a task. As a parent, I would be looking at 3 things when deciding on the right day care center for my little one: (i) my baby’s safety (ii) the environment it is offering to the child, and (iii) Is the Day Care Center contributing to my child’s social, physical and intellectual development

Last year, a friend was looking at a childcare facility for her baby and she wasn’t sure whether a nanny would do justice. After a sabbatical of a year, my friend was now getting back to work. She and her husband had decided that life has to go on and a full-time job was more than just a necessity for her to go back to a proper working environment. The baby at that time was over a year old and the couple had their parents’ support. But the challenge was whether to leave their child behind and let her learn whatever was being thrown at her or put her in a Day Care where a hundred other kids would be passing on all sorts of infections to each other on daily basis.

Childhood care 02Here are a few pros and cons of a Day Care Center that were carefully assessed by the couple:

Pros

  • Affordable: Day Care is comparatively affordable as compared to a nanny care.
  • Reliable: If your child is sick, they take care of your child and certainly do not disturb you until and unless it’s super urgent.
  • Ample Supervision: They have ample staff members to look after your child. Absence of a caregiver won’t affect your child’s care.
  • Children socialize: Children learn to socialize with other kids and also start learning some basics like weaning from bottle and potty training.

Childhood care 03Cons

  • Care is distributed: Caregivers generally take care of more than one baby. Ratio varies from place to place.
  • Sickness: Your child tends to catch infections like flu, cold, etc. easily in day cares as they are transmitted by other kids to them.
  • Rigid timings: Day Care Centers have very specific pick up and drop off timings.

Having said that, it is imperative to have a few questions ready for a quick ask. DO NOT hesitate, just go ahead and ask the below listed questions from the management of the Day Care Centers shortlisted at your end and evaluate their responses at the time of your final decision.

Childhood care 01

  • Does staff communicate daily with parents about their child’s well being, behavior and progress?
  • Does staff pay individual attention to each child?
  • Does staff encourage children’s sharing and manners?
  • What is the caregiver-to-child ratio? Are hazardous materials locked away?
  • Is there an emergency plan?
  • Are there security measures in place?
  • Are there a policy and a separate sick room for sick children?
  • May I visit any time?
  • What do you do if a child is sick?
  • What would you do in case of emergency?
  • What training does the staff have?
  • May I see a copy of your license?
  • Do you have a substitute or backup caregiver?
  • May I have a list of parents who have used your care (current and/or former)?

It’s been just about a year since Rhea (my friend’s daughter) has been attending a Day Care. She is turning out to be quite a star. Thanks to all the learning that’s been happening while her parents are away! And then I see my cousin’s daughter who is all of 6. She is being home-schooled. They are settled in a country where home-schooling is a brilliant concept and is totally acceptable. My cousin has never left her at a Day Care. That little angel of her’s has never even been alone with a nanny! Now, that kid is a bright one too! So, whether it is a Day Care Center or one’s own family and house available for your baby’s care, all that actually matters at the end is how your baby’s childhood is being taken care of..Isn’t that what REALLY matters at the end of the day?

Image courtesy: 01, 02, 03

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