What to Look for in a Daycare for Your Baby

Between coordinating childcare, figuring out a new schedule and beginning to feel like a normal person again, life with a newborn can be a lot to handle. Finding the right daycare center on top of it all can seem like a nearly impossible task.

Consider these suggestions to find the right daycare for your little one.

Look for safety first.

One of the most important things to look for is evidence that your potential daycare follows safe practices, including at nap time.

“When you first walk into the infant classroom, check for see-through cribs,” said Naomi Lennis Hicks from the Park Avenue KinderCare. “Teachers should be able to see your baby every moment of every day, even when they’re sleeping.”

You should also ask how teachers at the daycare put babies to bed and what’s allowed in cribs. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome, babies should sleep on their backs on a firm surface without pillows, blankets or toys in bed with them.

Find a place that follows each baby’s schedule.

Although babies’ schedules are never 100 percent predictable, an accommodating daycare may work with parents to follow their children’s routine as closely as possible.

While some daycares enforce naps at certain times, you can look for an option that takes into account each baby’s sleeping needs. Teachers should know how to watch each child closely for signs of tiredness. Eye-rubbing, sucking on hands or fingers and heavy-headed nodding are all signs that it’s time for some shut-eye.

Whether baby likes rocking, singing, being held or using a pacifier, a daycare that partners with parents to learn what works best for each baby can be a more comforting option.

Make sure the center is clean and tidy.

When classrooms are spick and span, it’s typically a sign that a daycare and its teachers are paying attention to the details, while also likely employing a dedicated cleaning staff to ensure the space is safe for babies to crawl and play.

In infant classrooms especially, keep an eye out for shoe-free policies and disposable booties for visitors to use.

“We have a bootie- or sock-only policy, and many of our teachers even bring their own slippers just for the classroom,” said Sheila Silveria with the Mercantile KinderCare Learning Center. “As soon as babies are ready to start crawling, it’s important to give them freedom to explore. A shoe-free policy is the best way to keep their little hands and mouths away from germs and dirt while they discover the world.”

For many parents, the most important thing is that their babies are safe and happy, meaning they can rest assured they made the best decision for their family. Find more information and tips to find the right daycare at kindercare.com. (Family Features)

SOURCE:
KinderCare

Building Babies’ Brains

3 indoor activities to encourage fun and education

(Family Features) Being stuck inside with a baby during the colder months can leave even the most seasoned parents feeling a bit stir-crazy.

Consider these activity ideas from Ann Fisher, an award-winning teacher at KinderCare, that you and your baby can do together no matter the weather or where you’re traveling. Because these ideas involve materials you likely already have at home, that means you can entertain baby without going out to buy new toys or materials.

“The important thing is to show your baby how excited you are to teach them something new,” Fisher said. “You just have to be down at their level and make lots of eye contact. Talk to your baby about what you’re doing and ask questions. It’s OK if they can’t answer you yet – it’s all about the interactions you have while you’re exploring and learning together.”

1. Explore a world of smells.

Spicy cinnamon, sweet vanilla, crisp mint – your pantry is probably already stocked with tantalizing scents that can help your baby learn about the world. It’s easy to grab a couple spice jars and introduce your baby to new smells right in your kitchen.

Take an empty spice jar (the smell typically lingers) and hold it under your baby’s nose. Choose plastic instead of glass so your baby can play with the jar after taking a whiff. He or she may be captivated by all the new smells, and you’ll be putting old things to good use – it’s a win-win.

Safety tip: Make sure the jar is big enough that it won’t end up in your baby’s mouth, and always keep a close eye on him or her.

2. Reuse all those old boxes.

Turn any empty cardboard boxes lying around the house into a brain-building activity for your baby – it’s never too early to start playing pretend.

Whether you make a box fort to explore together, a maze for crawling through or a make-believe drum set, your old cardboard boxes are full of imaginative possibilities for play.

When you’re all done, it’s easy to break the boxes down and either store them for next time or recycle them.

3. Bring the outdoors in.

Snow, sand, dirt – wherever you live and whatever the weather is like outside, you can let your baby dig with his or her little hands right in the comfort of your home. All you need is a bucket and some extra wipes for the inevitably messy fun.

Getting down and dirty lets your baby practice fine-motor skills and explore with his or her senses. Just scoop a few small shovelfuls of (pesticide-free) snow, sand or dirt into the bucket and bring it inside for your baby to play with. Adding some “homemade” sandbox toys like a big spoon and spatula can make the game even more fun.

To keep cleanup easy, consider laying down a sheet of cardboard or a plastic tarp on the floor.

For more activities you can do with your baby any time of year, visit KinderCare.com/blog. (Family Features)

SOURCE:
KinderCare