For first-time parents or even families with multiple children, the decision to place your little bundle of joy in someone else’s care be a difficult one. However, the benefits of day care can be significant, especially for children who start a program as infants.
A high-quality early childhood program not only promotes children’s safety and well-being, but also supports their growth and development at a critical time in life as children’s brains develop more rapidly from birth to age 5 than any other time in their lives.
“The pressure on families to do what’s best for their children while balancing the need to safely return to consistent routines is immense,” said Dr. Elanna Yalow, chief academic officer of KinderCare Learning Centers. “Many families have concerns about possible health risks to their children. At the same time, there are extensive data that demonstrate children are actually safer and better off developmentally when they are around other children. It’s no wonder so many families feel conflicted. Rigorous safety protocols give families confidence they can count on our programs to protect their children and help them thrive.”
Consider these things when seeking care for your infant:
Ensure the providers you’re considering follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Academy of Pediatrics and local health department guidelines. Beyond COVID-19 protocols, look for a program with teachers and staff that take pride in keeping children safe, particularly when it comes to safe sleep. Confirm the provider has external validation of their program’s quality, like national accreditation.
Responsive Teachers Who Care for Your Baby Like You Do
Caring for young children requires a unique set of skills. Understanding what children need at each age and stage in life comes with expertise and an ability to build relationships with them. It should be clear right away your baby will be in a warm, nurturing environment and supervised by teachers who will respond promptly to your baby’s every coo, gurgle, smile and cry with kindness and compassion.
You’ll know you’ve landed in the right place when your child’s teacher and day care staff feel like an extension of your family. To help start things on the right foot, share expectations and preferences with your potential provider early. It’s important the caregiver knows how often you want updates and what kind of information is most meaningful to you – whether that includes videos and photos, phone calls or texts, or short notes about the things your child is doing.
They should also be available to answer your questions and ask their own in return to ensure they’re supporting your baby in the best way possible while also encouraging your child to develop at his or her own pace. It’s important for teachers to understand key milestones and how to support your baby’s ongoing growth and development.
When parents know their babies are safe, happy and loved, they can focus on all the other things they need to do. For more information, and tips for finding the right child care, visit kindercare.com.
Story & Photo Credit: Family Features