Is this your first experience with infant care services? If you're new to daycare, take a look at the questions to ask before your baby's first day.
When Can You Drop Off and Pick Up Your Child?
What are the daycare center's hours? Some centers have an open drop-off/pick-up schedule. This means you can bring your child to and from daycare any time during the center's open hours. Before you assume that it's acceptable to drop your infant off mid-morning or after lunch, ask the center's staff. The infant care teacher may have a set schedule they prefer all their students to stick to.
Along with the teacher's schedule, make sure the center's hours match your needs. This could include early morning drop-offs or late evening pick-ups. The daycare center may have an extra charge for late pick up times. Failure to pick up your child on time may mean the center needs to pay a staff member overtime for the extra minutes or hours.
How Many Infants Are in Each Room?
Will your baby get the attention they need? Ask the center's staff how many children are in each room and what the staff-to-infant ratio is. Most states or local areas regulate adult-to-child ratios in licensed daycare centers. If you're not sure what this ratio is, contact your local child care licensing agency for specific numbers.
The lower the number of infants to each adult/teacher, the more attention your baby will get. A low ratio means your child will get the attention they need to feel safe and comfortable during their time in care.
What Do You Need to Bring to Daycare?
You'll need to provide the basics for your baby while they're at daycare. These may include diapers, wipes, diaper cream, lotion, a pacifier, extra clothes, and bottles. If your baby is formula-fed, you'll need to send either ready-made (liquid) formula or the powdered version.
Even though your breastfed baby can't nurse during their daycare day, they can drink mom's milk. Send bottles or containers of refrigerated breast milk with instructions for feeding.
What Will Your Baby Do in Daycare?
Unlike older children, your infant won't have a day filled with art activities and outdoor play. But that doesn't mean your baby won't experience plenty of social interactions. The infant care center should provide a stimulating environment that helps your baby to develop basic skills. Activities may include storytimes, outdoor walks (in a stroller), or tummy time.
For more information, reach out to an infant care center like Kids Country Club near you.