Finding the best day care centre for your child can be extremely difficult. Here are two factors you should take into consideration when making this important decision.
Unless you are in a very comfortable financial position, you will almost certainly need to factor in the fees charged by day care centres when deciding which one to choose.
There is no point in selecting an expensive day care centre (even if it seems to be a perfect fit for your child) if the fees are going to put a huge strain on your finances. The burden of trying to cover these payments will increase your stress levels and may even lead to you having to work more hours than you had initially planned to; this, in turn, will further reduce the amount of quality time you get to spend with your child.
If you have found a day care centre which is slightly out of your price range, it might be worth finding out if you are eligible for government childcare rebates. Whilst there are certain criteria which need to be met (for example, your must meet the eligibility requirements for Child Care Benefit), this type of rebate is not normally income tested; as such, you may still be able to claim even if your salary is quite high.
The centre's daily schedule
Young children thrive when given clear boundaries and structure. The sense of security and comfort that these things provide enables them to develop in a healthy and happy manner. As such, it's crucial to choose a day care centre which has a structured daily schedule that features plenty of age-appropriate, educational and stimulating activities for the children.
The daily schedule should include specific meal times, individual and group activities, scheduled naps or rest periods, physical activity and free time. Ideally, the activities that the children are involved in should be both creative and educational (for example, learning and singing nursery rhymes, completing jigsaws, dancing, painting and making crafts).
There should be very little use of televisions in the day care centre, as watching cartoon shows will not educate your child or do much for their social or intellectual development.
If during your visit to the centre, you notice that the television is on and that the staff seem to be reliant on cartoon shows to keep the children entertained and occupied, then it would probably be better not to choose that particular day care facility.