If there’s one thing that can be said of most parents these days, it’s that free time isn’t quite as abundant as it used to be. Raising kids has always required energy, attention and love — but in these modern times, there are so many pressures that simply weren’t there twenty or thirty years ago. On one hand, everything is more convenient, and there are more options than ever. On the other, people don’t always have time to make full use of the parenting resources available to them.
Daycare is one area where it can be difficult to define expectations and needs. Far from being “just a place to leave the kids during the day,” today’s daycare center should be a vibrant, dynamic place where kids experience real development and growth. Recent studies on daycare have illustrated the various social and academic benefits for kids, extending right into high school.
But it’s fair to say that these benefits are only possible when the daycare center itself is operating on a high professional level.
Here are some relevant questions for parents: Are my daycare standards high enough? What should I expect out of my daycare provider? Do I really know what goes on from day-to-day? Do I have confidence that my child is receiving the best possible care?
Answers will obviously vary from case to case, but the very act of asking these questions is a constructive exercise for parents. The fact is, many of us haven’t gone out of our way to think about what’s really possible with day care, and whether our children might benefit more by going to a different center. Changing routines can be difficult for both parents and children — but if there’s a compelling reason to do so, it’s difficult not to consider the possibility.
Children’s Medical Daycare is something that has appeared relatively recently, but it speaks to some of the issues we’re discussing here, and can help parents better understand how high the bar can be set. Here are some of the ways in which this type of daycare is “out of the ordinary”:
- Specially trained and accredited professionals
- Skilled nursing care on staff
- Assistive learning devices and other adaptive learning techniques
- Trained dietician on staff
- Physical and speech therapy
- Pharmaceutical assistance
- In-house transportation services
The list goes on, but this gives us a fairly good idea of the ways in which the bar is being raised on daycare. It’s true that most of the children who benefit from Children’s Medical Daycare have some sort of special need, whether it’s a learning disability or a specific set of medical or dietary requirements. If you’re not sure whether your child falls into any of these categories — or if you’re just curious about exploring different options for your daycare needs, start by making a detailed assessment of your daycare center and the people who staff it. Then research other daycare centers in your area and explore whether the services or standards at these other centers are more suitable to you and your child.
Remember — really high quality daycare is out there. If you feel like your daycare center isn’t the best possible choice, knowing your options is a powerful thing.