It's not easy to leave your child in daycare for the first time, but making sure your provider has pertinent information can mitigate your stress, as you'll know that she has what she needs to keep your child safe and happy. A good provider wants as much information as possible to provide optimal care for the children. Most of this information should be changing hands in a written form before the first day, but double-check to make sure that when you leave on day one, the provider knows about your child and your expectations.
The daycare provider needs to be able to reach you at any time. Make sure that she has a number to reach you no matter the time of day, and at least one trusted back-up person to reach in case you're unavailable. You should also talk to the provider about non-emergency contact information. For example, perhaps you prefer an email or text if she has questions that require quick responses, but aren't emergencies. You need to supply a clear list of contact information on the first day and update it as needed.
You need to know that your daycare provider can keep your child safe, so be sure to give him all the health-related information he needs. You need to clearly communicate in writing any allergies that your child has, whether to food or medicine or bee stings, as well as exactly what the provider needs to do if your child has a reaction. If the provider needs equipment to help your child recover from an allergic reaction, whether a lotion or an epinephrine shot, make sure that it is handy for him to grab, that he knows how to use it, and that it's stored out of the reach of children.
I'll Be Back
Hopefully, you selected a daycare provider that you trust implicitly. Still, make sure that the daycare facility or provider knows that you expect to drop in without notice to see your child. If she balks, or expects you to call first, that's a warning sign -- providers should expect and encourage parents to feel comfortable dropping in any time. However, keep in mind that when you do visit, try not to disrupt any activities or nap times that are in progress. Make sure the provider knows that you expect to meet all adults that are around your child during the day -- and that you expect all adults involved in your child's care to be appropriately trained and remain supervised. Check that other safety elements are in place on the first day, like working smoke detectors and safety gates -- and check them again throughout the year.
Time to Talk
Tell your provider how your child is doing the first day. For example, perhaps she's excited, nervous or scared. If you're dropping off a baby, it's important for the provider to know how she slept the previous night and what sort of nap and eating schedule to expect that day. Babies and children are often unpredictable, but any information you can share with the provider to help decipher your child's needs that day is helpful. This is important on the first day and every day, so if you feel like you aren't getting a chance to check in with your provider when you drop off and pick up your child, look for a better option to make sure you both have time to communicate. For example, perhaps, you can drop her an email or call to check in with her.
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