The American family is evolving rapidly, and with it any notion of traditional is being tossed out the window. No matter the structure, make-up, or communion of your family, all you really need is love to hold things together. And money. Unfortunately, families also need to be provided for, and any notion of how that’s traditionally done has been lobbed aside as well. Some choose to be stay-at-home or work-from home moms or dads, while others weigh heavily on the decision between a nanny or daycare. Unfortunately, most American families don’t have all three options at their disposal.
For those of us who need to go back to work
, we know how to tell a good daycare from bad at a glance. Clean facility, staff that is background checked and vetted, nutritional meals and snacks provided, as well as a comprehensive safety plan. State, local, and federal guidelines are in place to protect our children, as well. However, there are a few marks of a good daycare that most don’t think to look for.
One thing that most people don’t think to look at is a daycare’s turnover rate. A very high one can definitely signify an unstable facility or poor working conditions. According to Child Research Net
, high turnover rate negatively impacted children in more than one way. They found that frequent turnover kept children from developing secure attachments with teachers, deterred their social, emotional, and language development, and also resulted in strained relationships between parents and care providers. It’s important to remember that childcare jobs are often picked up by younger adults making their way through school or into the world in general, meaning that they sometimes have a shorter lifetime than a career in corporate America. However, their employee base should be generally satisfied with their work, and the management will have hopefully stuck around for a while.
No Mandatory Naptimes
Sleep is a very important aspect of every child’s day, and lack of it could lead to all sorts of health issues, and even behavioral problems
. It’s important to not only make sure kids get enough sleep, but to also provide an environment that allows them to do so when they need it. Naptime is imperative, especially for infants and toddlers. However, a recent study by the Sleep in Early Childhood Research group
showed that mandatory naptimes actually had a negative effect. They found that children who were exposed to an hour or more of required naptime during the day actually slept an average of 24 minutes less a night. Worse yet, they found that this trend of reduced nighttime sleep followed them into their school years. While it’s important that your childcare provider encourages and allows naps for toddlers to school-age, it’s looking like simply providing the option is all you’ll be looking for. If you find a daycare that has a required naptime every day, it might be in your child’s best interests to pass on that one.
Safe Stairs And Ramps
Not every child care facility has stairs, but if they do, there should be ramps as well. Each stairway or ramp, both indoors and out, needs to have a handrail. The ADA dictates the height requirements for stair safety railings: 34 to 38 inches. But, did you know that buildings where children are the primary demographic (like schools and daycares) have separate ADA handrail height requirements
? In these cases, there should be a second handrail installed at a height of no more than 28 inches. The other requirement for these facilities is that there be a minimum of nine inches between the two handrails to prevent entrapment. While the requirements are specific, they are not always enforced, even though they are in place for good reason. Make sure any stairs and ramps in your child care facility have both sets of handrails (for the safety of children, parents, and childcare providers alike) and that they are situated at the proper heights.
Copper Touch Surfaces And Fixtures
Did you know that copper is inherently antimicrobial? So much so that Pullman Regional Hospital in Washington State installed antimicrobial copper faucet levers
and IV pole handles in its high priority units in an effort to protect patients from hospital-acquired infections. Bacteria spreads rapidly in daycare facilities, even when they are sanitized regularly. Copper is considered a natural contact killer
, which basically means that bacteria, and yeast die very rapidly on copper surfaces, deterring them from spreading around rampantly. It’s unlikely that most childcare facilities are specifically utilizing antimicrobial copper in large numbers at the present time, but the movement is gaining steam. Hopefully this new research on the antimicrobial properties of copper will see a growth in its use in daycare facilities across the nation. If you find a facility that utilizes copper surfaces for their antimicrobial properties, you’ve likely found a progressive facility that pays attention to the latest developments in the industry.
I hope this article helps you find the daycare facility of your dreams! Us working parents sure do appreciate everyone who makes it possible for us, and daycares are included in that. Sometimes it takes a bit of time and effort, but finding a good childcare provider is worth it.