Friday, September 11th, 2009

Day care dilemmas


There is no place like home. But for mothers who work day-care is inevitable and so is the dilemma. Dr. Arvind Taneja, consultant paediatrics with Max Healthcare says, “ Depending upon the compulsions of the parent any child older than 3 months can join day care.” When it comes to children we hate to compromise, yet many of us are ignorant of the facts, one should look for while deciding on a day-care. You need not fret because we have brought a checklist for you, which will help you decide on the right day-care.


1. Go by the word of mouth. While deciding on a day-care, go for one, which is highly recommended. Seek the opinion of other mums.

2. Find out adult to child ratio. Experts say that crèche should have a realistic child-staff ratio. That is one adult to four two-year-olds or six three-year-olds. Avoid crèche that is run by ayahs, maids rather than mothers and facilitators.

3. Is it clean? Look for a day-care that is clean and comfortable. This means toilet flushes should be in working conditions, clean toilets and mattresses to loll around the daytime. Staff should be aware of hand washing practices.

4. Are children punished? Corporal punishment is a big no. So is a crèche that ostracises children by making them wear badges for an unacceptable behaviour. “A day-care that reprimands children for accidental leakages is to be avoided”, advises Dr. Taneja. Finding the right mix is slightly tricky but do endeavour to find one.

5. Safety. Safety is of paramount concern. Have a close look at the driver who ferries children in the van. If the school employs a teenaged driver then reject the day-care immediately. Does a maid accompany children in the school van? Do they keep tissue papers to wipe nose of children and water with plastic cups in the van. Do they have child-proof switchboards? Is the toilet seat low for toddlers?

6. Could you visit anytime? An open door policy for parents is what you want. Does the place seem clean whenever you walk in? Large imposing gates are intimidating and a day-care that does not allow you easy access to your child is not a good idea, after all.

7. Activities. A day-care should endeavour to have a healthy mix of activities. Children should have a routine to follow for all their activities, which should offer age-appropriate stimulation.

8. Open space. A day-care that offers open space like a jungle gym or a park is preferable to one that does not have this kind of space. Young children need open areas to expend their energy.

9. Number of children. Smaller the size of daycare better it is. Also it is not a great idea to mix children of different age groups, as they have different requirements. “Ideally seven to ten children is a right mix in each group”, says Dr. Taneja.

10. First aid knowledge. “The staff should be trained enough to handle emergency situations. Children as well the staff should follow the vaccination chart religiously”, cautions Dr. Taneja

Making the transition

Leaving your child with the day-care becomes a heart-wrenching experience if your baby is in tears, screaming at the top of her lungs. To make the transition easier on you as well the baby follow these tips—

§ Patience. Once you have decided on your child-care setting, spend some time with your child adjusting to the programme. You and your child can visit together the daycare before.

§ Use simple reassurances. Tell the child that mom and dad always come back in the evening.

§ Leave familiar things with your child. Children love to have pictures of their families with them in childcare. Some day-cares post them low on the wall or make little books with them so that infants and toddlers can see them easily.

§ Strive to build a strong partnership with your child’s caregiver.

Finally, a mother’s instinct is the best judge. If you feel that your baby is not accepting day-care, there has to be some inherent problem with the day-care, or your child is not ready to accept separation from the mother. To make transition easier start looking for better options—like a crèche at work, working from home, flexi-timings, so that you are able to spend more time with your baby.

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Category: Toddlers
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