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Signs of a Good Childcare Center

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With so many working parents these days, childcare centers are a must for a lot of families. Choosing the right daycare is one of the most important decisions you will make as a mom or dad, and for many reasons.

For one, the safety and security of your child during the work day will be placed in the childcare workers' hands. And, during the preschool years, your little one will be going through a rapid scale of mental, physical and social development - and as such, you need to choose a childcare center that values education and wellbeing.

Choose a daycare center that's reputable and focused on childhood development.

There are no federal regulations for childcare facilities, and licensing details can vary state by state. So, it is up to you as parents to do the research when it comes to choosing a daycare. There are several signs of a reputable childcare center, but sometimes parents lose sight of the really important aspects of the facility due to cost and location.

"If they find a place that's convenient and affordable, they'll put blinders on and not see certain things that are important," Richard Fiene, associate professor of human development and family studies at Penn State University, explained to The Bump.

If you are a new parent, read below for these details so you can make the best possible decision about your child's future daycare facility:

1. State licenses and safety precautions

Whether you are thinking about joining a group daycare or home daycare, ensure that the facility meets state licensing requirements and training. Good childcare centers will also have requirements for immunizations, handwashing and changing diapers in order to foster good health and hygiene. Additionally, all childcare workers at the facility should have training in CPR and first aid.

2. Educational programs

Daycare employees are more than just babysitters. A good childcare center will have educational programs tailored to your child's age, complete with socialization tactics, reading, crafting activities, counting exercises, cognitive skills and physical fitness. While there is no set of nationwide educational standards for childcare centers, following these tenants is usually a good sign you are heading the right direction.

"Daycare employees are more than just babysitters."

3. Word-of-mouth recommendations

Like most other major decisions you make for your children (hiring a babysitter, booking your first appointment with a pediatrician), recommendations from friends and family are going to go a long way. Usually, if the people closest to you and your family go out of their way to tell you that a childcare center is good enough for your child, it's worth considering. In the same vein, looking up reviews on Yelp can also give you further insight from other parents who have used its services.

4. Flexible hours

Most good childcare centers will accommodate all types of work schedules. Many daycare centers stay open for at least 12 hours on workdays in order to serve as many types of parents as possible.

5. Caring and creative childcare workers

Your daycare facility might not require their workers to have a degree in early childhood education, and that's OK. The important thing is to have your child educated and cared for by someone who is engaged and dedicated to helping kids get a good start in life. Directors of the daycare center should also let their workers feel empowered, according to Parents magazine. Usually, if you see mutual respect between the people who are working together at the center, it's a good sign that they are engaged and focused on your child's development.

Selecting a childcare center is a big decision. Make sure to look for these signs as you begin your search for your little one's daycare.

 
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