We recently had to look for suitable daycare for our children for the first time and I must say, it proved to be a lot harder than we thought. Not only was it difficult for us to find a daycare that had room on the same days for our children but there were also a number of traits we were looking out for at the centres too. One thing was certain though, we were glad that we shopped around so that we could eventually make the best decision for our children and us.
Choose a daycare where you know your children will be happy
Here are some of the things that were important to us when looking for a suitable daycare centre:
Plenty of stimulating toys/activities.
Some centres we visited had very few toys for the children to play with and the rooms almost seemed bare, like the kids would be bored after half a day in there. Others though were jam packed full of bright, colourful toys and games that were bound to keep the children busy for days on end.
Stimulating toys and games is important
When we spent some time looking around the centres it was apparent that some had friendlier staff than others. We wanted our children to attend a centre that welcomed children and had staff that our children would be comfortable turning to if they need help. Staff that can connect with the children was an absolute must for us.
Now I know this might seem like a difficult thing for a daycare centre to adhere to but some can pull it off. Children are messy and they have fun when theyíre getting their hands dirty Ė thatís all part of the fun, but when the eating and bathroom areas in a daycare centre are blatantly dirty, that puts us right off.
A lot of centres we visited had great outdoor play areas, but absolutely no shade which was extremely puzzling to us. We realise that most centres enforce children wearing sun cream and hats but we still worried about our kids playing out in the beating Queensland sun for long periods of time. The centre we chose is full of leafy trees which shade the play areas from the sun and they also have large shade sails over most of the outdoor areas, which was a big plus for us.
Word of mouth.
When people have a bad experience they talk about it and word gets around, so when we heard that a daycare centre had a good reputation it was high on our list to check out. Likewise when we heard a bad word about a centre we obviously kept that in mind when we made our final decision. Also check to see if the daycare has any reviews online, good or bad. Parent forums are a good way of finding out what parents really think.
Do some research and find out for yourself what a centre is really like
Go with your gut.
Ultimately we chose a centre that we both had a good feeling being in. It was a combination of all of the points above as well as a general gut instinct. Youíll know which centre best for your children and where you feel comfortable leaving them each day, the hard part is finding it!