Choosing the right daycare for your prospective child is one of the most crucial decisions you can make as a parent. It’s much more than just finding a convenient location and affordable price. Studies consistently show that high quality early childhood education sets children up mentally, physically and emotionally for excellent preschool and kindergarten school years.
But how do you know whether a childcare center is the right fit for your child, and whether their educational curriculum is truly helpful to their journey? You might think that the higher a price they charge, the better they must be. But this isn’t always true. Instead, you have to tour the center and look a little bit closer. Here are five key questions that you’ll need to answer when touring, and selecting, a high quality childcare center.
#1: Is the Daycare Accredited, and what are its Safety Standards?
Daycares in Ohio are strictly regulated, and with good reason, as these institutions house our most precious gifts in life. Did you know that you can check the accreditations and license of every registered daycare in Ohio? Simply Follow This Link https://childcaresearch.ohio.gov/ and locate the center you are interested in.
Big Hearts Little Hands is fully licensed and accredited, passing many different independent standards including:
- NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children)
- NECPA (National Early Childhood Program Accreditation)
- NACCP (National Accreditation Commission for Early Care and Education Programs)
- NAFCC (National Association for Family Child Care)
- COA (Council on Accreditation)
- ACSI (Association of Christian Schools International)
Schedule a Tour with us today and see our center for yourself!
#2: What is the Center’s Philosophy on Child Development?
Understanding how your center approaches the big picture of child development is vital. Look for centers that take a holistic approach. It’s not only about academics, or physical activity, or unscripted play. It’s all interconnected, and a high quality childcare center will offer a balanced blend of all aspects of cognitive, emotional, and social development. Additionally, look for a center that aligns with your own values and beliefs about raising children, so that you can have the best fit for your child.
Big Hearts Little Hands, since 2014, has offered a phenomenal in-house, custom-designed curriculum that is supplemented with rich extracurricular activities. This curriculum is taught by tenured, experienced and credentialed teachers who genuinely love what they do. Schedule a Tour today to see our classrooms!
#3: What’s Going on in the Classroom?
When you tour a center, ask which exact room your child is likely to be placed in, and then look around the room. Do you see toys or activities that would interest your child? How is the behavior of the other kids? Do you see personalities and play styles that would compliment your own child? Also look at the routine; are the children following directions, choosing their own activities, or a mix of both?
Finally, look at the Teacher-To-Child ratio. Count the kids in the classroom, and then count the teachers. If you were to split the children evenly between each teacher, how many children would each teacher have? The lower amount of kids each teacher is responsible for, the better. Because this allows the teacher to give more individualized attention to each child, including your own.
Big Hearts Little Hands is committed to providing a safe, loving, and nurturing environment filled with fun, creative, and educational learning experiences. You can see from our Virtual Tour page that our classrooms tend to be smaller and with a low Teacher-To-Child ratio. Contact Us today to set up a tour!
#4: What are the Daily Activities and Routine?
While a tour is not nearly long enough to observe an entire day for yourself, you can certainly inquire about the center’s daily activities and classroom routine.
All children need an extremely consistent and structured schedule to thrive and flourish. They need to be served a variety of activities, including imaginative playtime, learning sessions, crafts, sensory play, and others. They also need foundational pillars of their day at consistent times; these include meals, rest periods, and outdoor time. This routine not only keeps the children engaged, but also contributes to a well-rounded development.
Almost all daycares of any repute will have this type of schedule. However, the individual details may vary. Do the daycares build electronics time as part of their schedule? Studies show some negative effects of extended electronic and television time on early childhood development. Does the center seem to have a lot of unstructured play where the kids just run around and do whatever? Some is good, but it can be tempting to slip into too much, because other areas of the schedule require more effort and preparation from the teachers.
So it’s certainly worth checking as a parent to see if the center has a printout of their schedule or what their day looks like. Big Hearts Little Hands uses our custom-designed, in-house curriculum to formulate the perfect mixture for little minds to flourish. Contact Us today for more details!
#5: How Does the Center Communicate with Parents?
Effective and transparent communication between daycares and you the parent, is absolutely essential. Most daycares of repute these days will offer electronic communication, where both daycare and parent has the same app, and you’ll get pictures and updates on your child’s day. Often these will occur several times a day. “Here’s a picture of your child’s lunch!” “Here is the drawing your child created during our afternoon craft time!” Etc. Technology like this is the next best thing to you actually being in the classroom observing your child directly. It does tremendous good for your parental peace of mind, and allows you to have directed conversations with your child about their day! Definitely make sure your prospective daycare has a clear and open line of communication well established before considering enrollment.
Big Hearts Little Hands is one of the centers that does use electronic communication. We are always responsive to questions and love to keep you updated. Schedule a Tour today!
Selecting the right childcare center is a huge decision, but it doesn’t have to be an intimidating one. We hope these 5 questions will help illuminate your path forward, and allow you to make the most informed choice on a center that ensures your child will thrive. Remember, the best childcare center is one that aligns with your family’s values, and your child’s needs.
The first day of daycare is a major milestone in both a parent and a toddler’s life! Time for your child to grow up a little and get out on their own, learning and socializing with their peers and teachers. For some children, the transition is seamless, and they come home overflowing with joy and excitement about the new friends they’ve made and all the fun they’ve had. For other children, it’s a fearful day, full of hesitation, tears, or even a meltdown. Most parents have a strong guess which reaction their kid is more likely to have. And for those with children of a more cautious disposition, you may be asking: “How do I get my toddler excited for daycare?” Well you’re in luck! At Big Hearts Little Hands, we’ve been caring for little ones since 2014 — both those who can’t wait to ditch mom and dad and hang out at our center, and those who would rather stay at home. Here are our best 7 tips for getting your child supercharged to take on a day at Big Hearts Little Hands:
1. Tour our Center before the Big Day
Before your little’s first big day, arrange a tour of the center. Let them take in their new class, meet their new teachers, and perhaps even play with some future classmates and friends. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, familiarizing a child with a new environment reduces anxiety and enhances their sense of security.
2. Talk About the Fun!
As the parent, you can really push and emphasize the best parts of daycare. Fun activities! New Friends! Crafts and Toys! Endless play! The promise of good things to come, as highlighted by Child Development experts, is a potent motivator for toddlers and plays a crucial role in their growth and learning.
3. Read Books Together on Daycare Adventures
Consider this from your toddler’s perspective: They have literally no idea what they are walking into when they go to daycare! All they know is it’s a strange building away from mom and dad, away from their toys, and away from their siblings and everything else they know. But there are plenty of children’s books about what it’s like to go to daycare and school! Reading such stories with your toddler can help them visualize what their day will be like, and get excited about their upcoming adventure.
4. Engage in Imaginative Play
Children at this age learn the most through playing, especially imaginative playtime. What if you set up a little role-play session, where you pretend to drop your little off at their first day of school? And also where you pick them up? This helps your toddler become familiar with their new routine, and helps set their mind at ease.
5. Obtain some Cool Gear
New possessions are one of the easiest ways to get your child excited! Spike their enthusiasm by showing them the new backpack, lunchbox, or even a special outfit that you got for their first day. They’ll be so excited to wear these things and show them off, they’ll forget all about the caution and hesitation they had before!
6. Exude Positivity and Calm
Your toddler picks up on your emotions and copies them. Avoid saying anything negative about the daycare where they can hear you. Always keep upbeat and excited about the big day, even if you are understandably a little nervous yourself! As per a study in Child Development, how you speak about childcare can influence your child’s outlook, making them more receptive and eager.
7. Celebrate the Small Wins
Once daycare begins, your child will have good days and challenging days. But especially at first, every positive story your child excitedly spills to you in the car ride home, is a win! Celebrate with them the happy memories they are making. This reinforces their excitement about the next day, their confidence to independently attend, and their new routine.
Millions of children across the world have made the transition from at home to daycare. It’s a part of growing up and developing as a young person. No one said it would be easy, for either parent or child. But with the 7 Tips above, transitioning to daycare is something that can be a genuinely exciting and positive step for your little one.
In today’s fast-paced world, both parents often feel the need, or the desire, to continue working and furthering their careers. Daycare has become the primary solution for taking care of these little ones while Mom and Dad are away. But some parents may wonder: Is it Healthy for Babies to go to Daycare? Like many problems, there are several different angles to consider. In this article, we’ll look at some of the Advantages, and the Concerns, for sending babies and toddlers to childcare.
The Advantages of Daycare for Babies
- Social Development: Childcare provides babies with critical opportunities to socialize and interact with their peers. Early socialization is pivotal for emotional and interpersonal growth. As Dr. Jack Shonkoff from Harvard’s Center on the Developing Child points out, social interactions in early childhood lay the foundation for future emotional resilience and adaptability. If you keep the baby at home by themselves, they will miss this opportunity.
- Cognitive Stimulation: High quality childcare centers like Big Hearts Little Hands offer a wide range of activities specifically designed for babies and toddlers. From music to art, these sessions promote cognitive development. A study published in Child Development indicates that structured environments can facilitate better cognitive growth in young children. While most parents have age-appropriate toys at home, they may not be as educationally targeted, or as effective, to encourage this type of growth as the ones your childcare provider hand-curates for your child.
- Routine Consistency: A predictable routine in daycare aids in better sleep patterns and meal timings for babies, contributing to overall health and well-being. In childcare, mealtimes and nap times are on an exact schedule, and the child is encouraged to participate along with all their peers. At home, mealtimes and naptimes might vary widely or even be skipped, depending on the temperament of the child and the parent. And that can be detrimental to the baby. Daycares help ensure a stable routine day-to-day.
- Building Immunity: Daycares get a bad rap for bringing home “the plague”. And yes, putting a bunch of children together in close proximity, for long periods of time, does facilitate germ spread. But paradoxically, while new babies attending daycare might initially catch some common colds or gremlins, the constant exposure actually strengthens their immune system over time. Dr. Elsie Taveras, chief of general pediatrics at Massachusetts General Hospital, suggests that early exposure to germs can lead to a more robust immune system in the long run4. And it’s commonly observed that in daycare babies, they eventually acclimate to each other, and stop becoming sick any more often than a child at home.
Concerns Surrounding Daycare for Babies
- Germs and Illness: Though Building Immunity should happen eventually, parents should still be prepared for possible frequent illnesses, especially in the initial months. It’s no fun to watch your little one struggle with a sickness, and even less fun when they inevitably pass it to you and the rest of the family. Immune system boosters like Elderberry Syrup, or preventative medication, could help avoid nasty microscopic gremlins!
- Attachment Considerations: Like all things, daycare is a balance. Quality parenting time is still absolutely essential to maintain and strengthen the parent-child bond. Parents may be exhausted after a long day at work, but they should find it within themselves to still spend some quality time with their child, who has been missing them all day.
- Quality Assurance: It’s of utmost importance to select a high quality daycare or childcare center, like Big Hearts Little Hands daycare in Powell OH. Not all daycare centers maintain the same standards. Rigorous research and regular checks are essential to ensure a baby’s safety and well-being.
No one can make this decision better than you, the parent. Daycare offers numerous benefits for babies and toddlers. But the decision of whether to attend daycare, and what center to choose, is up to you. Big Hearts Little Hands is one such high quality daycare in Powell, OH. Since 2014, we are committed to providing a safe, loving, and nurturing atmosphere, with learning experiences that are fun, creative and educational. We have a phenomenal in-house designed, theme-based curriculum, supplemented with rich extracurricular activities. We have tenured, experienced and credentialed teachers that are passionate about early childhood education, including some that have been here 5+ years. If you’d like more information about our center, Book a Tour Today, or Check out our Facebook!
- Harvard’s Center on the Developing Child – Dr. Jack Shonkoff
- Structured Environments and Cognitive Growth in Children – Child Development Journal
- Benefits of Routine in Childhood – Psychology Today
- Dr. Elsie Taveras on Immunity and Early Childhood – Massachusetts General Hospital
- The Role of Parent-Child Bonding in Early Childhood Development – American Academy of Pediatrics
Daycare, or out-of-home child care, has long been a subject of debate, especially among new parents. While concerns typically revolve around issues such as child development, costs, and separation anxiety, an interesting line of inquiry pertains to the effect of daycare on a child’s immune system. Does sending your child to daycare bolster their immunity or does it expose them to a higher risk of infectious diseases?
The Hygiene Hypothesis
The basis for the belief that daycare might improve immunity is rooted in the ‘hygiene hypothesis’. This hypothesis suggests that exposure to various pathogens during early childhood can stimulate the immune system and reduce the risk of developing allergies and asthma (Strachan, 1989). The idea is that regular exposure to diverse germs and viruses can help “train” the immune system, making it more robust and less likely to overreact to harmless substances.
Reference: Strachan, D. P. (1989). Hay fever, hygiene, and household size. BMJ, 299(6710), 1259-1260.
Evidence in Favor of Improved Immunity
Several studies have suggested a link between daycare attendance and improved immune function:
- Reduced Allergies and Asthma: A study published in the journal “Pediatrics” found that children who attended daycare or had older siblings (thus exposed to more pathogens) during the first six months of life had reduced risks of allergies and asthma later in life (Ball et al., 2000).
- Resilience to Colds: Another study showed that while children in daycare might get sick more often than those cared for at home during their first year of life, they tend to get fewer colds and respiratory infections when they start school, suggesting a more developed immune response (Lau et al., 2005).
- Ball, T. M., Castro-Rodriguez, J. A., Griffith, K. A., Holberg, C. J., Martinez, F. D., & Wright, A. L. (2000). Siblings, day-care attendance, and the risk of asthma and wheezing during childhood. Pediatrics, 105(4), 732-738.
- Lau, S., Illi, S., Sommerfeld, C., Niggemann, B., Bergmann, R., Von Mutius, E., & Wahn, U. (2005). Early exposure to house-dust mite and cat allergens and development of childhood asthma: a cohort study. The Lancet, 356(9239), 1392-1397.
Counterarguments: Immediate Illness Concerns
While there may be long-term benefits to immunity, there are also short-term concerns. Children in daycare settings are indeed exposed to a greater number of infectious agents than those not attending. This means they might suffer from more frequent illnesses, such as colds, ear infections, and gastrointestinal bugs, during their early years in daycare (Haskins & Kotch, 1986).
For parents, this could mean more frequent doctor visits, more days off from work to care for a sick child, and the risk of transmitting the illness to other family members.
- Haskins, R., & Kotch, J. (1986). Day care and illness: Evidence, costs, and public policy. Pediatrics, 77(6), 951-982.
Daycare might indeed play a role in strengthening a child’s immunity in the long run. Early exposure to pathogens could potentially decrease the risk of allergies, asthma, and even some infections later in life. However, it comes at the short-term cost of more frequent illnesses during the early years.
For parents weighing the pros and cons, it’s essential to consider both the immediate and long-term effects, and to be prepared for the higher likelihood of illnesses during the initial years of daycare. But it’s also comforting to know that these early challenges might be paving the way for a stronger immune system in the future. As always, decisions regarding childcare should be made in consultation with healthcare professionals and based on individual family needs and circumstances.
For many families, daycare is a necessity. Whether driven by dual-career households or other reasons, many parents find themselves weighing the pros and cons of enrolling their children in daycare. A prevailing concern among many is the question: “Is daycare stressful for kids?” This topic requires a more in-depth exploration, given the individuality of each child and the variability of daycare environments.
The Positive Aspects of Daycare
- Social Interaction: Perhaps the most touted benefit of daycare is its role in fostering social development. Interacting with peers of the same age group, children learn valuable life skills such as:
- Empathy: Understanding and responding to others’ feelings.
- Conflict Resolution: Addressing disagreements or misunderstandings in a non-hostile manner.
- Collaboration: Working in teams and understanding the value of collective effort.
- Routine & Structure: Like adults, children also find comfort in predictability. Daycare provides:
- Scheduled Activities: From nap times to snack breaks, children understand what comes next, reducing anxiety.
- Structured Learning: Set times for reading, arts, or other educational activities help children anticipate and prepare mentally for tasks.
- Educational Foundations: Modern daycares often blur the lines between care and formal education. They introduce children to:
- Literacy and Numeracy: Through story sessions, counting games, and more.
- Creativity: Arts, crafts, and music sessions spark imagination.
- Physical Activity: Playtimes ensure physical health, which is essential for overall well-being.
Potential Stress Triggers in Daycare
- Separation Anxiety: Especially prominent in toddlers, the distress caused by separating from primary caregivers can be intense. This anxiety can manifest as:
- Crying and Clinginess: Especially during drop-offs.
- Regression: For example, a potty-trained child might start wetting themselves again.
- Changes in Sleep Patterns: Difficulty sleeping or nightmares related to separation.
- Overstimulation: For some children, the sensory-rich environment of a daycare can be overwhelming. This can be due to:
- Noise Levels: Multiple children talking, playing, or even crying.
- Visual Stimuli: Bright colors, movement, toys, and decor.
- Activity Pacing: Moving quickly from one activity to another without downtime.
- Peer Conflicts: While interactions with peers are beneficial, they aren’t without challenges. Conflicts can arise from:
- Sharing Issues: Over toys or attention.
- Personality Clashes: Just as adults don’t get along with everyone, children too have preferences in companionship.
- Bullying: Unfortunately, even young children can exhibit or experience aggressive behavior.
- Variability in Care: The quality of care varies considerably across daycare centers. Potential issues include:
- Inadequate Supervision: High child-to-carer ratios can lead to neglect.
- Inconsistent Discipline: This can confuse children, leading to uncertainty about what’s expected.
- Lack of Personal Attention: In large groups, a child might feel lost or overlooked.
Reducing Stress: Best Practices for Parents and Caregivers
- Gradual Introduction: A phased approach can make a world of difference.
- Initial Visits: Before formal enrollment, visit the facility with your child. Let them explore the space while you’re present.
- Shortened Days: Begin with shorter hours and gradually increase as your child gets more comfortable.
- Open Communication: Build bridges, not walls.
- Dialogue with Children: Understand their fears, joys, and concerns. Their narratives provide invaluable insights.
- Feedback Loop with Caregivers: Regularly check in with those who care for your child to be in the loop about any issues.
- Diligent Selection of Facility:
- Research: Use reviews, personal testimonials, and official ratings.
- Personal Visits: Observe the environment, the staff’s behavior, and the children’s general demeanor.
- Staying Engaged:
- Participate: Be it in events, parent-teacher meetings, or casual drop-ins.
- Build a Community: Connect with other parents. A community approach can help address common concerns.
The question of whether daycare is stressful for kids doesn’t have a definitive ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer. While there are undeniable advantages to child care, potential stressors require attention. By approaching the transition with empathy, diligence, and open communication, parents can make daycare a positive experience for their little ones, setting a foundation for many fruitful years of learning and growth ahead.
Introduction: The Crucial Question
Every Mom and Dad wants their child to be happy and thrive, especially in settings outside the home, like daycare. Childcare centers provide kids with a platform for the development of social skills, cognitive abilities, and emotional growth during the formative early years 1. As a parent, you may often find yourself asking: “Is my child truly happy at school or day care?” Young children might not be able to express their feelings directly, making it crucial for parents to identify signs that can signal their child’s emotional state 2.
Tip 1: Notice your Child’s Mood during Morning Goodbyes and Afternoon Hellos
Observing your child’s behavior during drop-offs and pick-ups can serve as a barometer of their feelings about school. If your child typically separates without excessive fuss in the morning and appears cheerful or relaxed at pick-up time, for example, it’s a strong sign they feel secure and satisfied at childcare 3.
Bear in mind, however, that it’s perfectly normal for your child to display some anxiety or hesitation, especially during the initial days of childcare or kindergarten, or after a long break 4. It’s a new environment, and it can take some time for them to adjust and build trust in their caregivers and surroundings.
Tip 2: Ask your Child about their Interactions and Relationships
The social aspect of childcare is of tremendous importance. Notice how your child interacts with the daycare staff and other children. A child who is content at day care will likely build positive, meaningful relationships with both caregivers, families and peers 5.
Does your child seem comfortable and willing to engage with the staff? Do they participate in group activities with other kids? Perhaps they even talk about their friends or teachers at home. These can all be indicative of their positive feelings towards the daycare 6.
Tip 3: Carefully Watch Learning and Developmental Progress
Your child care provider serves as a rich environment for fostering various developmental skills. If your child is happy at preschool, they will likely be receptive to learning and demonstrate noticeable progress 7.
Watch out for improvements in problem-solving skills, language development, and motor abilities. Regular progress reports provided by the school or childcare center staff can be an invaluable resource in this aspect 8. Your child’s progress in these areas doesn’t just suggest that they’re learning; it also indicates that they’re comfortable and emotionally secure in their childcare setting.
Tip 4: How is your Child’s Attitude About Daycare?
Another telling factor can be your child’s overall attitude towards childcare. Do they seem enthusiastic or excited when daycare is mentioned? Do they recount fun stories or experiences from their daycare day? Their willingness to discuss and share their daycare life with you can signal their happiness 9.
Tip 5: Understand the Bad Days
Children, like adults, can have bad days. There might be instances when your little one seems upset or acts out, possibly due to reasons like fatigue, hunger, or a minor change in routine 10. It’s crucial not to overinterpret these occasional displays of negative behavior.
However, if your child consistently shows signs of distress—frequent tantrums, regression in skills, or excessive clinginess—it might be a sign of their discomfort or unhappiness at daycare 11. In such instances, it becomes vital to communicate with the daycare staff and try to identify and deal with any potential issues.
Tip 6: Communicate with Daycare Staff
Regular communication with the daycare staff about your child’s behavior, emotional state, and progress is essential. Remember, you and the daycare staff are partners in your child’s well-being and success. Foster an open dialogue with them and express any concerns you might have 12.
Trust your instincts as a Mom or Dad. If something feels off or you believe your child might not be as happy as they could be, don’t hesitate to voice your feelings. The right daycare center will always be open to feedback, offer reassurances, and take necessary steps to address any concerns.
Conclusion: The Goal of Happiness
The ultimate objective for any parent is to ensure their child is not just safe and learning at daycare, but also truly happy. A child’s sense of happiness doesn’t just mean they’re content; it makes them more open to learning and development. In other words, a happy child at daycare isn’t just a joyful child, but also a thriving one 13.
- Shonkoff, J. P., & Phillips, D. A. (Eds.). (2000). From neurons to neighborhoods: The science of early childhood development. National Academies Press.
- Knafo, A., Zahn-Waxler, C., Van Hulle, C., Robinson, J. L., & Rhee, S. H. (2008). Children’s empathic responses to distress of others: The role of affective temperament and socialization. Social Development, 17(2), 390-409.
- Ahnert, L., Pinquart, M., & Lamb, M. E. (2006). Security of children’s relationships with nonparental care providers: A meta-analysis. Child development, 77(3), 664-679.
- NICHD Early Child Care Research Network. (2001). Before Head Start: Income and ethnicity, family characteristics, child care experiences, and child development. Early Education and Development, 12(4), 545-576.
- Howes, C., & Hamilton, C. E. (1992). Children’s relationships with caregivers: Mothers and child care teachers. Child Development, 63(4), 859-866.
- Thomason, A. C., & La Paro, K. M. (2009). Measuring the quality of teacher-child interactions in toddler child care. Early Education and Development, 20(2), 285-304.
- Vandell, D. L., Belsky, J., Burchinal, M., Steinberg, L., Vandergrift, N., & NICHD Early Child Care Research Network. (2010). Do effects of early child care extend to age 15 years? Child Development, 81(3), 737-756.
- The Office of Head Start. (2021). Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework: Ages Birth to Five. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
- Bronfenbrenner, U. (1979). The ecology of human development: Experiments by nature and design. Harvard university press.
- Fabes, R. A., Leonard, S. A., Kupanoff, K., & Martin, C. L. (2001). Parental coping with children’s negative emotions: Relations with children’s emotional and social responding. Child development, 72(3), 907-920.
- Davies, D. (2004). Child development: A practitioner’s guide (2nd ed.). Guilford Press.
- Howes, C., & Hamilton, C. E. (1992). Children’s relationships with caregivers: Mothers and child care teachers. Child Development, 63(4), 859-866.
- Weiss, H. B., Caspe, M., & Lopez, M. E. (2006). Family involvement in early childhood education. Harvard Family Research Project, 7.