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How to Find the Best Daycare

Whether you're ready to head back to the workforce, or you're ready for your little one to learn new skills and make friends, you'll want to know how to find the best daycare. Here are different factors you need to take into consideration when you're looking for the best daycare.

What Is Childcare/Daycare?

Childcare and daycare are the same. Daycare is the supervision of one child or multiple children simultaneously. This type of care involves the supervision and care of children ages 2 weeks to 18 years old. Children who are in daycare should have social interaction, access to different activities, and age-based learning that involves a variety of skills and learning techniques.

How to Find Good Daycare

Finding the best daycare for your child is similar to finding a job. It's a good idea to start your search for quality childcare as soon as possible because it may take a while to find the ideal daycare facility.

Identify Your Priorities

You need to decide what you want from a daycare facility. Think about the location of the daycare facility, and how far it is from your home and job. You will also need to consider the amenities the daycare offers. Do you need part-time or full-time childcare? Do you prefer an in-home daycare or a daycare center? These are some of the questions you need to ask yourself before choosing a daycare.

Do Your Research 

You're going to have to do some research to find the best daycare to suit your needs. A good place to ask for references is your friends and family. Ask them if they recommend one or more daycares that would be a good fit for you. Another good idea for finding a great daycare center is to ask the experts. Contact the daycares in your area and see what amenities they provide. The internet is a helpful resource to use to find an awesome childcare network. Search for daycares that are close to your home or job, and choose at least three daycares to compare. When you're comparing daycare centers, consider the programs that are available, price, meals, and other factors that may get your attention.

Check for References

Word-of-mouth is the most popular form of advertisement. Check the social media sites or websites the daycare centers have and look for reviews. See what other parents are saying regarding their experience with the daycare, such as their likes and dislikes. Don't forget to check the star rating of the daycare, as this rating plays a major role in the amenities that are offered to children attending the daycare center.

Visit the Daycare Centers

Schedule a visit to the daycares you have taken an interest in and see how they operate on a daily basis. Notice how clean the daycare center is and how the teachers interact with the children. If the daycare provides meals, look at the quality of food the children are given. You will also want to check out the security features of the daycare center, toys, books, and activities the children can access.

Kid-Test the Daycare Center

If you like what you see during your initial visit, take your child with you to see how they adapt to the daycare's atmosphere. Notice if your child is comfortable around the caregivers and how the caregivers interact with your child. Some daycare centers give you a trial when you can let your child attend the daycare for a few hours to see if the daycare is a good fit.

Get On the Waiting List

If you find the daycare of your dreams, it's likely the daycare is a dream come true for other parents, too, so there will be a waiting list. If there is a waiting list, don't give up hope. Even with a waiting list, it's almost a guarantee your child will be able to attend the daycare at some point. However, feel free to check out the other daycare facilities on your list because they may not have a waiting list.

Consider the Price

The cost of care is an essential factor when you're choosing the best daycare. Daycare prices vary greatly depending on your needs. The cost of care will depend on how many hours per week your child needs care, your child's age, the type of care you require, and where you live. As of 2020, the average daycare cost in the United States was $11,896 per year, according to Childcare Aware of America, which breaks down to $991 per month. This price can increase or decrease depending on your specific childcare needs.

Daycare STAR Levels

Every early learning daycare center will not have the same standards, training/professional development, assistance, and resources (STAR) level. Daycare facilities can obtain a STAR rating between one and four. At each STAR level, daycare facilities must meet certain criteria and research-based quality standards in four specific areas that play a role in the difference in the quality of care your child receives. These four quality standard areas include the staff's education, the learning environment created for your child, leadership management, and family and community partnerships.

Choosing the best daycare for your child is one of the most important decisions you will make. Use this guide to help you find a childcare facility that meets your needs and your standard of care.

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