Last time, I discussed some key points on finding quality child care for your child. Some readers mentioned they needed to find a place for their infant or toddler. While all the points covered in Finding Child Care are important for your infant, you need to take other items into consideration.
When looking for a quality, loving place to care for your precious baby answer these questions:
There is plenty of open floor space? Babies need tummy time for exercise and room to roll, scoot, and crawl. By providing tummy time, your baby will develop the muscles necessary for pushing up, sitting, rolling, and crawling. Babies also need sturdy things to pull up on, are those in the space?
Open space prevents tons of baby equipment. You don’t want your baby confined to baby equipment all day (swing, bouncer, saucer, crib, or high chair). Little time frames are great, some babies really need the swing, but they shouldn’t be in them for long periods of time.
Are items are on the infant level? There should be books, soft toys, and colorful items all on the infant’s level. Like I said before, if items are higher (like the bulletin boards) then those items are not intended for baby. I worked in one facility where the books were beautifully displayed around the room. Yet none of them were in reach of the infants, I would have to move them down every morning. Babies have to chew on things to learn about them. Plus books can be an incentive. If a fun shiny book lies just out of reach on the bottom shelf, then the child may work to reach it! Tada! Crawling.
Are the toys and books developmentally appropriate? For the infant, this means board books and cloth books, things not easily destroyed by inquiring mouths. These books are also easy to sanitize. You don’t want to see shelves full of paper paged books. It is okay for the teacher to have other children books in the room, but those shouldn’t be at the baby level. Toys should be colorful, easy for baby hands to grab, and in working order. Older infants LOVE stacking cups and musical toys. Puzzles should be wooden, not easy to destroy but easy to clean.
Where are the mirrors? Every infant space needs to have a non-breakable mirror at their level. Mirrors provide opportunities for babies to learn about where they are in space while providing great entertainment for them.
How many cribs? Does each baby have a safe sleeping space? This could mean that for six infants they have four cribs, because not all babies sleep at the same time. But, staff must change the sheet for each individual baby. It could mean for six babies you have six cribs.
Finally, what is the philosophy for infant care? Is this a learning environment or an environment focused on meeting their basic needs? A learning environment meets the baby’s needs while doing much more. Does the staff read to babies? This early development time is crucial for language development. Books provide your child with TONS of words that are not used in every day conversations. Does the staff talk to the infants? Do you hear singing? Again, language development is happening, by talking and singing to baby, the baby will learn SO much. Is the schedule posted and flexible? A baby does things when it needs to, not according to a center’s schedule. Do babies get to do projects or activities? They can you know you just have to adapt the activity to their level. It could be as simple as putting them in the high chair with a glob of paint on their paper. A fun mess is had by all.
Finding child care for your infant can be nerve wracking, but rest assured that many wonderful people seek to provide the best care for your child that they can.