In 2018, a report emerged of rogue daycare centres in Naivasha that were drugging children so that they could sleep. The report sent chills down the spines of parents in Naivasha most of whom work in the flower farms and have to rely on daycare centres to watch their children while they are at work. The news was a wake-up call to parents all over the country on the need to conduct due diligence before taking children to daycare centres. How do you identify a good daycare centre for your child?
Do your research
Reviews and referrals are the best way to identify a great daycare for your child. Interact with fellow mothers and get their opinions on the daycare of their choice, or ask them where they take their children.
If you are a first-time mom with no moms in your network, ask the moms you meet at the doctor’s office, or you can ask your doctor for referrals. Every opportunity you get is a learning opportunity, and moms never stop networking.
Visit the daycare
Even after you get referrals from fellow moms, make a point of visiting the daycare centre. Sometimes, moms who refer you may have gotten a referral from someone else and may not know a lot about the chosen centre.
Moreover, they may have used the services of the daycare a long time ago and things may have changed. Therefore, visit the centre and observe the environment. Is it clean enough for children? How do the caregivers interact with children?
Sometimes, the environment at the daycare may seem perfect for your child but you still don’t like it. Trust your gut. You would better be safe than sorry.
Check for licensing
The first red flag of an unsuitable institution is a lack of registration. Lack of a license means that the institution may not meet the required standards and may not have trained caregivers.
If the centre cannot provide proof of accreditation, that is not the environment where you want your child.
Talk to the caregivers before a visit
Sometimes you just need to make a call to a daycare centre to find out all you need. For instance, if you call a daycare centre and the staff is rude, do not consider the centre. If you call and the person on the other end cannot satisfactorily answer your questions, do not consider the institution.
A good daycare should have a polite staff that can be able to address the concerns of parents.
Observe your child in the centre
Sometimes you may find a daycare centre that you think suits the needs of your child. However, it is important to study your child’s behaviour in the first few days. You can even drop by unannounced and observe your child at the centre. Do they appear withdrawn and agitated? Are they playing with other kids? Do they look happy?
If you notice that your child would rather stay alone or they are sad even when they come home, then it may be time to change the institution.
Other things you need to consider include the ratio of teachers/caregivers to the children. If a centre is understaffed, it would be best not to take their child there as they may be neglected. Also, the staff may be overwhelmed and they may end up mistreating the children.
If your child has special needs, ensure that the centre you are eyeing has the necessary provisions to accommodate your child, and that the staff is trained to care for children with special needs.
Daycare centres make it easy for parents to work without worrying about the safety of their children. Therefore, if you cannot afford a live-in nanny, or one that can stay with your kids during the day, a daycare may be your best bet for children who are not yet of school-going age. However, ensure that the daycare you chose is safe for your child.
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