It can be challenging to raise a baby even in the best of times, but many parents need additional support for the education and care of their young children amid the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, both parents work in nearly two-thirds of families with children. The number of working single parents is even higher.
However, as long as teachers and staff follow rigorous health and safety practices, day care centers are among the safest places for children right now.
“More than ever before, families are struggling with balancing the need to return to consistent routines with concerns about the possible health risks to their children,” said Dr. Elanna Yalow, chief academic officer of KinderCare Learning Centers. “Our rigorous safety protocols give families confidence they can count on our programs when traditional support systems may not be available.”
Although the decision to place your baby in someone else’s care can be difficult, the benefits of day care can be significant, especially for children who start a program as babies. Consider these important factors when choosing an infant day care.
Exceeding recommended guidelines
Parents will want to make sure their day care center follows Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Academy of Pediatrics and local health department guidelines. These include masks and social distancing, restricted access to classrooms, consistent grouping of children, health screenings upon entry, handwashing throughout the day and frequent cleaning and sanitizing. In addition to knowing the steps teachers and staff are taking to keep children safe, ask about staff training and the checks and balances the center has in place to make sure written polices translate into best practices in classrooms.
Teachers who see each baby as an individual
Responsive, caring teachers tend to each baby’s specific needs. From the moment you meet them, they’ll ask what your baby enjoys, what comforts him or her, what milestones your baby is working on and so forth. The best teachers see each baby as a unique person and work to meet your child wherever he or she is, whether that’s watching for signs of tiredness and holding him or her or responding to your baby’s babbling and coos as signs of early language development.
Trusting someone else to look after your bundle of joy is a tremendous leap of faith for many parents, particularly as safety-conscious providers are limiting access to their classrooms and parents may not be able to go any further than the front door. That leap is easier if you know you’ll receive updates about your child throughout the day. Whether you want videos and photos, phone calls or texts, or short notes about the things your child is doing while you’re at work, talk with your potential provider about how often you want updates and what kind of information is most meaningful to you. While it’s natural to feel a twinge of nervousness when you get a phone call from your child’s day care, you should also be contacted with good news and friendly reminders.
For many parents, the most important thing is that their baby is safe, happy and flourishing in a loving, caring and engaging environment. Once they find this, they can rest assured they made the best decision for their family. Find more information and tips to find the right center at kindercare.com.
— Family Features