Tips for Taking Baby to Childcare
From finding out your pregnant to bringing baby home from the hospital, being a new parent brings about a flood of emotions. But when it comes time to return to work after maternity leave, many new parents find themselves paralyzed with fear.
Taking your baby to childcare is a huge decision, one of which takes a lot of thought and planning. Far more goes into choosing a childcare provider than a quick Google search.
Read on to learn the easiest, if not the most stress-free ways, of taking your baby to childcare:
1. Do Your Research
Leaving your little one with strangers is never easy, especially as a new mom or dad. But when it comes to returning to work, many families have no choice. The key to returning to work without spending the day gripped in fear is research. Taking your baby to childcare takes research and planning. Since there many types of childcare facilities, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with each.
Types of Childcare Centers
Childcare while you’re at work means someone else will take on your role. As such, you need to choose a provider you feel comfortable with. The two main types of childcare centers are group and in-home care.
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Group childcare centers are licensed by the state you live in. Typically, there are children of various ages, which are cared for in diverse groups. Each group has its own set or childcare providers, which are also CPR certified and may even hold degrees of early childhood education.
If you choose home-based childcare, this means the facility is owned and operated out of someone’s home. Many home-based childcare centers are also licensed by the state, and the owner and all of the employees must earn and maintain state-specific certification.
Deciding which type of childcare center is best personal. You need to weigh the pros and cons of each type and also feel secure in your decision. Once you do decide, you need to ensure your child will receive the highest level of care.
2. Interview Each Location
Even if you’re still sitting on the fence about which type of facility is best, you need to start the screening process. Make a list of centers you want to tour and set up interviews. Make a list of points you want to touch upon, which should include prior to taking your baby to childcare:
- Verification of licensing
- CPR certification
- Procedures in case of an emergency
- Protocol for cleaning
Although not inclusive, the above-mentioned items should be researched and verified.
What to Look For
When touring, it’s also important to keep an eye out for possible red flags. Taking your baby to a childcare center means someone else is responsible for their well-being while you’re at work. That means the environment they provide should parallel the one you have at home.
During your interview, look around at the other children. Note whether or not they’re happy or upset. While it’s not uncommon for small children and babies to shed a few tears, it’s never a good sign if most of the child in the childcare center are unhappy. In addition, take note of the staff. They should be genuinely interested in the children. They should also provide a stimulating environment. Ask for a brief description of a typical day. Even for the smallest of babies, this should include age-appropriate toys and interaction.
3. Control First Day Jitters
After you decide on taking your baby to a childcare center, you need to start prepping for the first day. Even if you have older children, it’s normal to feel a little anxious. Calm your nerves by preparing everything in advance.
Make sure you have your baby’s bag ready to go with everything they’ll need. In addition, make sure you have alternative contact information in case you can’t be reached. This should include your partner’s or family’s contact information, your office and your pediatrician’s number.
In addition, make sure that any special instructions are clearly understood by everyone involved in your child’s care. For example, if your baby suffers from an allergy, everyone in the facility needs to know and follow your instructions. Never assume that the information will be relayed. Particularly in group centers, it’s easy for information to get lost in translation.
4. Practice Sleep Hygiene
If your baby is only a few weeks old, then getting them acclimated to a new sleep schedule isn’t necessary. However, since most babies entering daycare already have an established sleep schedule, you need to implement the sleep schedule they will follow when at daycare. Inquire about the sleep schedule and strive to make necessary changes prior to the first day.
5. Label Everything
In addition to packing your baby’s bag early, you also need to label everything that’s inside the bag. Taking baby to childcare usually equates to lost socks and pacifiers, so keeping everything separated and labeled will spare both you and your baby a lot of frustration. It will also prevent your baby’s things getting mixed up with others’ belongings at the center.
6. Show Up a Little Early
While newborns usually aren’t at the stage of knowing when their parents are gone, older babies do. If your baby is older than a few months, plan on arriving early and sticking around for a little bit.
If you do linger, make the process of exiting as streamlined as possible. Don’t go overboard with saying goodbye to your baby. Especially if they’re older and understand that you’re leaving, you want them to see that it’s okay for them to stay without you.
Taking your baby to childcare can be overwhelming, so it’s important to make the first day as peaceful as possible. Make sure that you stay calm and always smiling. Older babies can easily recognize when parents are stressed, which can lead to them feeling stressed as well.
7. Bring Comfort Items
Even the smallest of babies can find comfort in their favorite things. In addition to labeling and being organized, you need to pack what makes your baby feel good. It could be their special blanket or a pacifier, if they use one. If your baby is younger a year old, make sure that any comfort items are kept away from baby while sleeping, excluding a pacifier.
The key is making your baby feel safe and secure when away from you. Taking your baby to childcare shouldn’t cause them to feel distressed. If you do witness any signs of this, you might need to find another alternative. Signs can include unusual mood changes or crankiness after taking your baby to childcare.
Taking your baby to childcare for the first time doesn’t have to be an unpleasant experience. Most importantly, be patient. It does matter if you have only one baby or multiples, leaving your baby at childcare can be stressful. You will have good days and bad days. However, over time, you’ll start to feel more relaxed as you and baby settle into a routine.