Leaving your child for any amount of time and for whatever reason is a difficult decision for any parent, especially in nuclear families. Hiring a nanny or a caregiver at your home is one option, another is sending your child away to a, daycare centre. Both have their pros and cons depending on your specific needs and requirements. These differ from one family to the next and even between each child.
For example-for your first child you may have preferred the “aunty next door” type of set-up, but with the second child, you may choose a bigger, more formal daycare centre set up where both your children can go and it’s easier for you to drop and pick them up.
Let’s very briefly look into the pros and cons of these options
Full Day or live in Nanny/ Babysitter-
This is a good option if you have someone known and trustworthy. Since the person is taking care of your child in your home, things are more likely to be done your way as compared to daycare centres. The caregiver lives with you and is aware of your child’s habits and routine, your child is in a familiar and comfortable setup. There is a higher level of hygiene maintained and the child is less exposed to infectious diseases. The difficulties come in when the caregiver falls sick or is unable to come in to work, then you might need a backup plan. Often, in India, most of these Nannies/Caregivers do not have any formal training in child care.
Daycare centres/ Crèche
This is an institution dedicated to child care. They are equipped to handle children of various ages, and many of them offer flexible hours keeping in mind the needs of parents, whether you’d like to keep your child with them for half a day or even a full day. The best daycare centres like Eurokids, offer healthy food, snacks, and multiple caregivers around so there is always a fill-in if required. Their staff will have some sort of formal training in child care, though a few may not. These daycare centres will also ensure that your child receives a higher level of care than the “aunty next door”. They have a structured routine, the children are fruitfully engaged and adequately supervised. One main benefit of this type of child care is the social development that takes place as the children interact with each other. The downside is that it can be expensive, they might even be closed on certain holidays whereas parents might have to work, again a backup plan may be required. Children may fall sick often due to interaction with so many other children- but this will help build their immunity for the future. Finally, though highly recommended, the daycare centre might not be in an ideal location.
Choosing what’s “right” for your child is simple provided you have a ‘game plan’. There are certain things that need to be kept in mind. To begin, use these tips for choosing a Daycare or a caregiver.
If you are leaning towards the nanny/ live-in caregiver option, talk to the references provided, discuss in advance about leave, holidays, type of work expected and so on. Get the necessary documentation, medical history and registration done, including police verification.
For daycare, here are a few tips –
Do your research –
look up the internet for daycare centres in your area, talk to your neighbours, friends, relatives, feel free to converse with other parents in the park and shortlist the popular ones.
Plan a visit –
Make time to visit each of these centres personally, have a look around and try to imagine your child in that setting, examine the child areas- cleanliness, ventilation, lighting, safety, observe the children – are they happy, fruitfully occupied, sufficiently supervised, are the toys engaging enough and child appropriate, keenly pay attention to how the adults communicate with the children.
Have a conversation and ask questions-
Make a comprehensive list of queries (remember when it comes to your child no question is too ‘silly’ or obvious) talk to the management, if you happen to reach as the children arrive to school or are leaving, approach a few parents and talk to them, most will be happy to share their honest views.
Trust your instinct-
No one knows your child better than you, if something feels odd or not right, explore it further, and ask questions about it if the answers satisfy you great, otherwise it would be better to explore your other options. If you’re choosing a daycare for the first time, the best tip is to trust your gut instinct.
Once this is done, let’s look at a few more tips for choosing a daycare to help your selection-
- Location- A centre that’s close to home, your workplace, or enroute, works best due to its convenience. Many companies also offer corporate daycare.
- Adult Child Ratio – while the best daycare centres offer a ratio of 1:3, which is ideal for children under 2, do stay away from places that have too many children and not enough adults around. Also observe the adult child interactions.
Safety and Medical Assistance –
while keeping an eye out for child safety within the premises talk to the management about the SOP for medical emergencies. Again, the best daycare centres already have one in place and is often displayed at strategic locations.
Cleanliness and Hygiene-
Have a look at the dining areas, playing areas and even the toilets if you have to. Sufficient Ventilation and lighting are a must.
Choose a well-known Brand –
Popular brands are the best daycare centres since they have been around long enough to establish themselves, have gained experience and can now anticipate the needs of both the parents and children.
Brands like Eurokids are known for their preschools and Child care services. Since they are in the business of children and education most of your needs will be taken care of here itself. Using the daycare tips for parentsthat we shared earlier you will see that your child will be appropriately engaged, will get the right nutrition, optimum supervision, timely first aid (if required), the activities, toys, books, equipment are age appropriate and they even prep the child for higher schooling.
So, what are you waiting for, let’s get going. Use our tips to choose your home caregiver or check out the nearest EuroKids daycare centre near you. Most importantly give yourself ample time and choose what’s right for your precious little one.