Daycare can be a scary step for parents and children alike — but the fact is, there is a growing body of evidence in support of quality daycare. When you find the right setting for your child, you can expect social and academic advantages that last through high school. Gone are the days when daycare was simply a convenience or necessity. True, there is still an element of necessity for many parents. But it’s now possible to expect more from daycare. It’s possible to look more closely at the benefits and advantages it offers.
The truth is, daycare centers come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The experience of one child at a certain daycare center will be markedly different from the experience of another child at a different facility.
As you stop and consider whether your current daycare center is meeting all your needs (or perhaps you’re researching daycare centers in advance for when the day comes), it’s a good idea to consider some of the common complaints about daycare, and how they might apply to your experience.
1. The staff aren’t highly trained
A lot of daycare centers are minimally staffed by people who don’t have any formal qualifications. This is not an ideal situation for parents who want the absolute best for their children, day in and day out, in terms of care and education. At the bare minimum, someone on staff should have training in early child development or education. Experience is also a big factor.
2. Special needs aren’t addressed
Children with special needs (whether physical, developmental or a combination thereof) benefit greatly from specialized attention and assistive learning opportunities. But these opportunities are lacking in many daycare scenarios, simply because the necessary training and resources are lacking. There are also important questions of dietary requirements and medical needs. Are the staff at your daycare center aware of your child’s needs, and are they equipped/trained to handle them? This is a really important question for parents of children with special needs.
3. Not enough structured activity
A quality daycare program includes time for spontaneous activity and socializing with other kids, in addition to structured activities that stimulate learning and growth. Parents often complain when they find out that most of their child’s time at daycare is spent in supervised free time — and for good reason! Daycare is a tremendous opportunity for social and intellectual development, no matter what special needs a child may have. A good daycare center will seize that opportunity and make your child’s time both enjoyable and productive.
Finding a daycare center you (and especially your child) loves
It goes without saying that daycare should no longer be an afterthought, or a kind of babysitting arrangement for busy families. Daycare is a chance for dynamic learning, social interaction, health dietary practices, and all around fun for kids and adults. By taking a closer look at these common complaints, you’ll be better equipped to make quality daycare decisions on behalf of your little ones and your family.