Before you choose a child care center, take a tour and take notes about your likes and dislikes. When you talk with the staff about your concerns, be sure to ask these essential questions:
- How long has the center been in business?
- Can you get recommendations from other parents?
- Is it licensed?
- How much does it cost?
- What is the adult/child ratio?
- Can you visit any time?
- Does the center communicate regularly with parents?
- What happens if your baby gets sick? Is the center hygienic?
- Is cleanliness a priority?
- Does the center follow strict safety measures and required protocol?
- What toys and activities are available every day?
- Are the caretakers CPR-certified?
- What happens in case of an emergency? What procedures are in place?
Once you’ve selected a daycare center, take your baby for a few visits before you go back to work to ease him into the environment. Start with just a couple hours one day, then a little longer the next, and a few more the next.
For a list of all child care centers currently licensed in NJ, visit the New Jersey Deptartment of Children and Families website.
Source: The Essential Guide to Baby’s First Year by Erika Landau, MD, and Abigail Brenner, MD; Alpha Books, 2011.