If you are planning to go back to work after your baby is born, one of the biggest challenges is finding the right child care for a newborn. To help you make the best decision for your family, our child care center in Raleigh is sharing exactly what to look for and what questions to ask on your search for the right newborn child care.
Write Down Your Must-Have Features in a Child Care Center
Before you start making calls and scheduling tours, it’s important to know exactly what you need in a center as well as some of the things you would like to have. Grab a pen and paper and answer the following questions so you can determine some “non-negotiables,” that way you won’t fall in love with a center only to find they don’t stay open late enough or they’re out of your price range.
- Hours of operation – If you work nights or weekends, you need to find a place that is open when you need them.
- Location – If you rely on walking or public transportation, or you simply don’t want to worry about being too far, set up a radius to look for your center.
- Cost – The price of child care varies greatly, and it’s important to find a center that meets your budget, and, if applicable, if they accept child care assistance.
Other issues may include specific teacher-infant ratios, wanting a five-star rated child care center or your state’s equivalent measurement for quality, or wanting a center that relies on a specific philosophy or curriculum for caring for the children.
Questions to Ask Before Touring The Center
With your list of non-negotiables ready, it’s time to start making calls to specific centers. Before you tour a center, you can narrow down your list of prospective centers simply by asking the right questions. To help you create a list, we would recommend asking the following:
- Are you accepting newborns right now? If no, what is the waitlist like?
- What are your hours of operation?
- How much does it cost to enroll a newborn? Do you accept Child Care Subsidies (or the name of the program in your state)? – if applicable.
- Is your center licensed?
- What kind of qualifications does the director have and how are teachers qualified or experienced? – In a center, the director should have their degree in early childhood education, and teachers or staff should have some experience and education in the field.
- How many newborns do staff care for at once? – Make sure to cross-reference this with your state’s guidelines.
- What is your “sick child” policy? – There should be a clear policy or guidelines in place about when a child needs to be kept home or picked up.
- What is your philosophy on working with newborns? – This can be an open-ended question related to how the center works with soothing, feeding, and caring for babies and making sure it aligns with how you want your baby cared for.
What to Look for When You Tour a Newborn Child Care Room
If you have found a potential child care center and you’re ready to take a tour, you’ll have an opportunity to ask more in-depth questions, plus see how the center really operates. While it can be a little overwhelming, and even emotional at the thought of sending your baby away for the day, be sure to keep an eye out for things like safety, health, and bonding.
When you’re looking around, especially in the infant rooms, make sure to keep an eye out for safety in action. This includes things like:
- Safe sleeping – Cribs should be see through rather than have solid wood sides so staff can always see the baby as they sleep. Also, the only thing in the crib, besides the baby of course, is a fitted sheet and the baby’s pacifier. No blankets, toys, stuffed animals, or pillows should be in the bed, and the baby should be placed on their back to sleep.
- Clear walkways – Floors should be clear of tripping hazards and should be free for crawling babies to move safely. There should also not be any choking hazards anywhere a baby can access.
- Safe feeding – If staff is feeding a baby, are they holding the bottle properly, rather than propping it up? Also, make sure babies are eating age appropriate foods and aren’t being given finger foods unattended.
In addition to safety, make sure the spaces are healthy. This means making sure diaper changing stations are cleaned after each use, feeding stations are separate from changing areas and are clean, and staff is washing their hands and sanitizing regularly. You’ll also want to look to see if any of the babies or staff seem ill or aren’t following their own sick-child policy.
Staff and Baby Interactions
You want your baby to feel safe, loved, and nurtured, and one of the best ways to tell if that will happen is to see how the babies are acting in the center. If they are happy and playing and there’s proper interaction, that’s an excellent sign. Look for age appropriate toys and play, positive interaction, and plenty of engagement from the staff to the babies as well as making sure there’s the proper staff to baby ratio.
Schedule a Tour at Our Raleigh Child Care Center Today
If you’re looking for child care for your newborn, we can help. We have two five-star child care centers in Raleigh and are dedicated to providing a safe, caring environment to help your baby learn and grow. To schedule a tour, call our North Hills Drive location at 919-785-0303 or our Spring Forest location at 919-790-6888, or fill out our convenient contact form to get started!