10 things to consider when choosing day care for your children
When it comes to researching the different day care options available for your children in your area, there are a few approaches that you can take. Firstly, you can use the Childcare and Family Services Finder to find a list of nurseries that are located close to where you live, ask other parents that you know if they have any recommendations, or simply spend some time searching for them online. Once you have got your list, it’s then a good idea to take a look at each nursery’s website to get a feel for what they offer, and then once you’ve narrowed your providers down it’s time to phone them and book a time to pop in for a visit.
Taking the time to visit a nursery before making a decision about day care is so important – but while you’re there, what questions should you ask and what things to do you need to keep in mind to ensure it’s the right option for you and your child? To help you, we’ve put together a list of 10 things to consider when choosing day care for your children – we hope you find it useful!
1. Trust your first impressions
Listen to your gut instinct – when you arrive, what are your first thoughts as you step through the door of the nursery? How were you greeted? Does the nursery feel in a good state of repair? How secure does it feel? Do the children and staff appear happy? These are all things you should be taking note of.
2. Find out the number of places available
When you start your tour, it’s important to find out from the member of staff if they have a space available for the time you’re considering, otherwise it might not provide the most practical option for you.
3. How many children does the nursery look after?
Today nurseries range in size from between 10 to over 100 places. Although taking your child to a large nursery is not necessarily a bad thing (especially as they often tend to have better facilities and more opportunities available for your child’s development), it’s important to check how many rooms they have and how the ages of the children are broken down into groups. If your child is placed in a smaller group, then there is likely to be the chance of them receiving greater attention and support from the member of staff that is looking after them, for example.
4. Are any meals provided?
It is also important to establish whether meals will be provided for your child at the nursery, or whether this is something that you will need to arrange to bring with them every day. If meals are provided, you’ll need to find out what options are available and where it’s cooked and prepared – something which should be of extra importance if your child has any special dietary requirements or allergies.
5. Ask to see a copy of their latest OFSTED report
Nurseries are subject to OFSTED inspections in the same way that schools are. Therefore it’s always a good idea to either check out the report online before you visit the nursery or ask if they have a copy that you can see while you’re there, just so you can judge the outcome of their latest inspection for yourself and see whether they have any areas for improvement.
6. Do they have outside space where the children can play?
The opportunity to get some fresh air and a change of scenery is something that can be of real benefit to children, especially when it comes to having fun! So with that in mind, make sure you ask whether the nursery has any outdoor space available for playtime or other activities, and if not what alternative options they use instead.
7. Are childcare vouchers accepted?
If you receive childcare vouchers from your employer, it is definitely worth seeing if the nursery in question accepts them before you commit to a place for your child.
8. Specific questions to ask if you have a baby
When it comes to considering day care options for your baby, there are certainly extra points that you need to keep in mind. To start off with, you need to establish whether you’ll need to bring your own nappies and formula to nursery every day, as well as ask where the babies sleep during the day. It’s also worth double checking how babies are transported outside of the nursery too, so do ask to see the prams and buggies that are used for this.
9. Double check their policies
Every nursery has their own specific set of policies, so make sure you take the time to learn about each one to help establish which one will fit you and your child best. For example, confirm the notice period if you decide to leave, whether there’s any flexibility with drop off/pick up times, what their policy for sickness is and whether they have an open door policy for parents to be able to drop in unannounced or to help with activities or outings.
10. Ask for references and testimonials from other parents
It’s always a good idea to find out what other parents have to say about the nursery in order to get a clear picture of what it would be like for your child to be looked after there. If there are any parents on hand when you visit, be sure to ask them what they think, or alternatively you could ask the nursery staff if they have any references or testimonials available that you can read.
At Abbeywood Tots we’re committed to providing excellent day care for all children and a superior service to parents and carers. Family run with nurseries located across Bristol, our friendly and supportive team is here to ensure that your child is provided with a safe, caring and stimulating environment in order to prepare them for life at ‘big school’. To find out more about the day care that we offer, visit our website or get in touch with our nursery managers here.
Are you considering a new day care provider for your child? What questions do you think it is important to ask before making a decision on which nursery to choose? We’d love to know what your thoughts are, so feel free to get in touch today.