New parents have so many options for childcare these days. Deciding what kind of childcare provider may feel overwhelming, especially for first time parents. Shining Star CDC understands the challenges new parents face as well as all the questions you may have when picking a provider.
Whether you choose us as your provider or another center, we'd like to be as helpful as we can in helping you make your decision.
Below you'll find helpful tips and answers to the many questions we find new parents often have when they begin their search. We've also included some general information that new moms and dads may find helpful from things like your baby's schedule to making time for yourselves. Shining Star CDC knows that your approach to childcare can affect the entire family and making the transition into parenthood should be one that is smooth, stress free and enjoyable.
Child Development Center
Preparing yourself and your new baby for daycare can be a daunting task. Finding the right center may be tricky and once you do, mentally preparing for that first day when you drop off your baby may feel heart wrenching to say the least. We've put together a top 10 list for you in hopes of it making the transition a little easier and more bearable.
1. When choosing your provider, ask questions about visiting.
There is nothing worse than picking a childcare provider, getting there that first morning to drop off your little one and being told you can not pop in for a visit. Even if you hadn't planned on stopping by, knowing now that is goes against some "no visiting" policy that center has, is going to weigh on your mind all day. "Why can't I visit" and "What if the baby needs me" is going to run through your mind. You'll wonder why on earth would a center not permit you to come in and visit your child if you felt like it.
They may give you an answer such as "It's disruptive for the baby" or "It's best to get them acclimated to the center", however, that's inaccurate..
Look for a center that allows new moms and dads to visit their little one if they want.
At Shining Star CDC, you are welcome to visit your baby whenever you like. We don't need a call first or a "warning" that you are coming. We know that new mothers may struggle being away from their baby for the first time. and a full work day away from one another can seem unbearable. We also know that mother's that breastfeed may want to stop by on their lunch break and nurse their baby, or just come in for little cuddle time in the rocking chair. We are all for it, know that knowing that can put a new parents mind at ease and make them feel less anxious and want to provide you with what your family needs.
Top 10 Tips to Prepare You and Your Infant for Daycare
2. Make sure the cost of daycare tuition is in your budget and will remain in your budget for the duration your child is with the center.
Finding a provider you can afford is one thing, but new parents may not realize that a lot of daycare providers raise their tuition rates, sometimes several times a year. A good center is going to LOWER their rates the longer you are their and should have an answer for you if you ask "Do you raise your rates and if so, how often?". Many parents don't ask this important question and then find a little note in their baby's mailbox that reads "Unfortunately, our tuition rate will increase $10 this month." and while $10 doesn't seem like a whole lot, try doing it two, three or four times a year, and you will quickly find that the affordable childcare center you just signed on with is now quite unaffordable
3. Choose a center that allows you to visit BEFORE your first day.
A good center will invite newly signed up families to come in for a visit for 2, 3 or more hours. The visit is to allow new parents some valuable time to get to know the people who will be caring for your baby. Often they will invite you to come in and just hang out with them for a little while, or visit for a couple hours and then let your baby try it out without you for a couple hours. It's a great way to help put new parents minds at ease and make them feel more comfortable in general. .
4.Make sure you know what your center expects you to provide.
Get informed about meals and snacks, diapers, wipes etc.. and then make a checklist when packing your baby's diaper bag. You want your baby to have all the necessary items available for their day. Extra bottles, pacifiers, diapers, wipes, ointment are a good idea. it's best to purchase items that you can leave at the center. This is helpful when you are running late in the mornings and don't have time to pack the entire bag with every item your baby will need for the day. Don't forget to label, label, label all of your baby's items with their name or initials. This helps your provider know the difference between your baby's bottles and another baby.
5.Prepare your baby.
A good provider will schedule your baby's day around your baby. They'll make it a point to rock them and sing to them and do the things that you do when you are at home. However, if you spend the majority of your day holding your little one, and only put them down when you are placing them in someone else's arms, it will make it difficult for your provider to do the same. They do care for other babies at the same time, and even the best childcare provider is not able to hold one baby all day long while providing the other babies in their care with the time they need too. Try and get your baby used to spending a little bit of time in a comfy pack n play, swing, or some other type of rocker. They're ability to do a little self soothing will go a long way when they are in daycare.
6. Prepare Yourself
If you are like a lot of first time new moms, you've spent your entire maternity leave with your baby, feeding them, holding them, cuddling them, reading books on all the how to's of being a mom, and not spent a lot of time away from them. Just like we want to prepare our baby for being away from you, you'll want to do the same. Make a point to leave the baby with a relative, baby sitter or even your spouse and have some time to yourself. You won't want that first time away from the baby to be your first day back to work. Ease in to the days apart gradually, even if it means starting daycare earlier on a part time basis just to give you and your baby a little time to get used to the idea of being apart. As your provider about easing into the full time care if needed.
7. Write Everything Down
On the first day of daycare, instructions for infants should be written down clearly and precisely by parents and handed over to the daycare professional. You'll want to write out what your baby's current schedule is, when he eats, sleeps, if you prefer for him to do tummy time, or if there are any special instructions.
It is important to put down on paper the kind of formula the child requires, the sleeping habits of the child, any medications if required, diapers, diaper wipes, sheets, etc.
8. Have an alternative plan
Have an alternative plan for childcare for times when the provider is closed, your baby is ill, weather prevents driving etc.... Don't wait for the time to happen when you won't be able to use your childcare provider. Most are not open 7 days a week, may close for holidays or vacations or snow days. Good childcare providers will have a healthcare policy that prevents sick children from attending and getting other children ill. You want to have alternate childcare on standby so that you are prepared as this is the best way to ease stress and avoid missing time from work. Make your employer aware that you have a baby now, and may need to be away from work in the event he/she is ill and can not attend daycare. It's best to be up front with your employer as they will appreciate the heads up and know what to expect from you.
9.Read the center's handbook.
A good center will provide you with a handbook that will include all of their policies and procedures. They should have a healthcare policy, policies on fees and payments as well as late charge policies. The handbook should include the centers hours of operation, days they are closed for holidays, a mission statement and philosophy and basically everything you will need to know about them. read this carefully before your baby's first day so that you are aware of all of their policies and can ask any questions if needed before dropping off. Understanding your centers philosophy and general way of thinking and approaches to learning will let you know what you can expect from them and what they will expect from you.
10.Have emergency contacts and authorized pick ups on stand by.
It's always a good idea to reach out to grandparents, close friends or neighbors and ask if you may use them as an emergency contact or authorized pick up for your baby if needed. Good daycares will require 2 or 3 people to have as contacts should you not be available. In the event that you get a flat tire, hung up at the office or if your baby is ill during the day and needs to be sent home, you want to have reliable people your baby knows and you trust on hand if you need them.