Selecting infant daycare is a task not to be taken lightly. When you are selecting a daycare center in your area, it is important to understand the pros and cons of infant daycare and to know important questions to ask daycare providers. Our interview with Ashley Murphree, the owner of Carpe Diem Private Preschools, details the important aspects of selecting daycare for infants.
OwnADaycare: What options do parents have for infant daycare?
Murphree: Parents have the following options:
A family member, such as a grandmother
A nanny in their own home
Care in a child care provider’s home
Group care in a day care program/school
OwnADaycare: What is the earliest age that a parent should put his/her infant in daycare?
Murphree: 10-12 weeks
OwnADaycare: What are some important questions that parents should ask when selecting an infant care provider?
What do the caregivers know about infant development, so they can provide appropriate age and interest level activities and expert, loving care?
How do they feel about nurturing and stimulating infants?
How will the caregivers interact with the infants?
How do they feel about schedules for infants?
How responsive will the caregivers be to each child?
How much experience do they have?
Are they certified in infant/child CPR and first aid?
Is the environment clean and safe?
What kind of equipment and materials are available?
How will the caregivers communicate with parents?
What expectations do they have of parents?
OwnADaycare: What is an appropriate and safe teacher-infant ratio?
Murphree: Maximum of 1:3 ratio.
OwnADaycare: What are the pros and cons of infant daycare?
Daycare programs are regulated by policies, procedures, and licensing standards and are supervised by well educated, experienced administrators to make sure all criteria are met on a daily basis.
Programs are dependable. Nannies and home care providers aren’t always available, due to illness, vacations, and can quit without notice. They are also usually unsupervised and unregulated.
Programs offer parent education meetings and other opportunities for parents to socialize with each other. Caring family/school teamwork is encouraged and supported.
Infants interact with more people/children and may get colds, ear infections, etc. more often than those who stay at home with a nanny.
Some programs have high staff turnover, which disrupts the consistency of care for infants.
OwnADaycare: Some parents have concerns that putting their child in infant daycare will disrupt attachment and bonding. What are your thoughts?
When infants are in high quality daycare, there is no disruption in attachment. There may be problems if the quality is substandard. The type of relationship an infant has with all the adults in his/her life is what matters most.
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