How to Choose Childcare for Your Little Ones

Deciding where to send your children while you’re at work is no small task, especially if you’re a first-time parent who can’t afford to stay at home. In addition to cost and finding a place you’re comfortable with, parents also need to keep child development and individual needs in mind. Whether you’re looking for a preschool, babysitter, nanny or one of the best daycares in Phoenix, AZ, each approach to childcare has its pros and cons.

Child development needs

As you might imagine, your child has different social, educational, mental and emotional needs depending on their age and development. Before age three, keeping your kids home is best for them; they tend to experience less stress, fewer behavioral problems and less sickness. After age three, preschool is a great opportunity for socialization and school preparation. However, there’s no need to worry if you can’t keep your kids at home—any child can thrive in the right childcare situation.

When it comes to preschools versus daycares, preschools tend to have a focus on education, whereas daycare centers mainly prioritize childcare. Preschool programs in Phoenix, AZ may have set hours as well as spring and holiday breaks, while daycare centers have extended hours available to cater to the working parent.

Nannies and babysitters are also great childcare options. Nannies can perform in-home childcare and, depending on the candidate, may be able to provide child development and educational opportunities. They do tend to be more expensive. Finally, if your childcare needs are less intensive—for example, perhaps you and your partner work opposite schedules with a daily there-hour overlap—a regular babysitter might be the best solution.

Quality should be the top consideration

No matter what childcare option you choose, the most important thing to consider is the quality. Your child will benefit most from an actively involved teacher or caregiver—staying home with your kids won’t benefit them as much if you find yourself frustrated, disinterested or too focused on work to care for their needs. The same goes for any kind of caregiver.

High-quality care often takes the form of warm, friendly adults in an environment that offers equal amounts of stimulation and calm. You should look for a good adult-to-child ratio as well as a clean and safe environment. Any caregiver should be well versed in CPR and other emergency procedures. If your provider will be offering educational opportunities, ask about their accreditation. For professional daycares and preschools, review their business license and insurance.

While interviewing places and providers, ask about waiting lists, fees and what happens if your child has to be taken out of daycare due to unforeseen circumstances. Friends and family can be great word-of-mouth references, and if you don’t know any other parents, online review sites are helpful.

Finally, ask about their childcare philosophy, safety measures and how parents can get involved. This will help you find a fit with which you are comfortable.

Choose the best daycare and preschool programs in Phoenix, AZ

When you’re looking for one of the best daycares in Phoenix, AZ, put Magical Star Preschool on your list. We offer care for children ages six weeks to 12 years, including plenty of educational and developmental opportunities. Call us today to learn more.

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