7 Tips For Choosing A Daycare In Nigeria
So you’re a working mom, an entrepreneur or a stay at home mum looking for a few hours of peace and quiet in your home. Daycare: a place where you can safely leave your child to learn, play, socialize and be looked after without worrying and coincidentally the answers to our prayers(God bless the person that thought up daycare). But not all daycare’s are good. Especially in Nigeria where childcare centers are springing up everywhere with the lack of a proper monitoring body, the quality of services is at an all time low. So finding a good daycare for your child that wont cut deep into your pockets can be a bit of a challenge.
First off, what makes a good daycare? What are the signs that a daycare is good for my child. What should I look out for in a daycare? If you’re looking for answers then you’re in the right place. As an educationist in early childhood, I’ve been privileged to serve at several quality day-cares so be rest assured that you’re getting professional help. When searching for a suitable daycare for your child, there are 7 basic things you should look out for
- Cleanliness: when dealing with children, a certain level of hygiene is expected. Because little hands touch the floor all shoes should be at the door. If you walk into a daycare with your shoes on, then something is wrong somewhere. Daycare floors should be a soft, dirt free place that is regularly swept , mopped and disinfected (ideally) for child safety. Aside from the state of the floor, take a look at the sheets of their sleeping area, are they fresh and clean or old and somewhat dirty. Do they look new and cared for or thread bare and somewhat faded. Are their fans clean? Is the place properly ventilated. Does it smell( of dirty mop water, urine, spoiled food or any other odour?) Do the staff practice regular hand-washing? Are the toys and surfaces cleaned regularly (I mean do they look clean?) if not then you run the risk of having your child get infected and sick because of dirty toys and unsanitary conditions
- Safety: Does the daycare look baby proof? Are there wires on the floor? Are chemicals and cleaning materials out of children’s reach? Are the children been adequately watched? Is the playground properly fenced? Do they have security personnel? How easy is it to gain access to the daycare? Are the care providers observant and watchful? If you walk into a daycare center and find the provider watching TV, or cross-legged with ear piece plugged (I tell you it happens) with the children awake and active, then you can be sure that she’s just there to while away time and not to watch your kid(s).
- Communication; a good daycare will always encourage their caregivers and parents to stay connected and updated about relevant information regarding your wards and alert you about any arising issues or potential problems. The center should also provide you with regular reports(monthly or quarterly) on your child’s progress and activities ( so you can be rest assured your child is actually learning something at daycare not just sleeping and watching TV)
- Respect for your concerns: if you have any issues, questions or request for the manager or staff of the daycare then by all means air them. Don’t let anyone make you feel like you’re being overprotective or that ‘your own is too much’. your questions should be answered in an attentive and helpful manner. If your concerns are dismissed or ignored, or if the staff becomes defensive or rude, then its a red flag that your child’s care may be compromised while you are not there.
- Children’s countenance: when you walked in the door and saw the children how did they look. Were they busy and entertained. Was it a focused activity or everybody doing their own thing. Were the children crying their eyes out? When choosing a daycare, the atmosphere matters a lot check that the children look happy and well taken care of. And if you find them sleeping check back again. Another red flag is when you find the children always sleeping. Some day-cares have taken up the practice of drugging the children to sleep so as to have quiet time to themselves.these type of people are not fit to be caregivers and need to be incarcerated.
- Staffing : Six small children per care giver is the maximum recommended ratio for an effective daycare. So if the daycare is understaffed its likely your child may not get the best care or monitoring from that type of place. Ideally daycare staff should be trained in early childhood education in order to nurture your child’s skills and development (Amen to that in Nigeria), but at the very least the staff should be literate and able to communicate effectively, slow to anger and should have received (at the very least) some kind of orientation into childcare through experience or in house training. The centers director should be available and easily accessible. If not then it is an indication that the supervision at the day care is not sufficient. In addition, daycare should be neutral concerning religious affairs and not imposing, approving or encouraging one religion over another. Parents reserve the right to their children’s religious inclination so they aren’t confused or influenced by external bodies.
- Visitation: a good daycare should have an open door policy for parents. Where you can drop in at anytime to breastfeed or just check on your child. If you are discouraged from doing this or asked to call before coming unannounced, it may be a sign of inadequate care. In addition take notice of how the staff reacts when you make an unexpected visit to get a true picture of how the center operates
So there you have it! Seven cardinal points for choosing a good daycare for your little one. I hope you found them helpful and relevant. Feel free to add any other points you think are important or ask a question in the comment section below
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