As parents, we always want to give our kids the best option when it comes to daytime care. However, it’s also important to find an option that doesn’t add stress and complication to your life. Whether you’re going to be away from home just a few hours or looking to find consistent all-day supervision and activity for your child, you’ll need to do a good amount of research to find out what option makes the most sense for you and your lifestyle. If your child is getting to the age where they need to start spending consistent amounts of time in a social environment, there are many options you can pursue as a parent. If you’re concerned about choosing a preschool or finding the best daycare Austin has to offer, here are a few tips to help you make the right choice for you and your toddler.
Choose Based on Flexibility
When considering the key differences between preschool and daycare, you’ll want to start by thinking about how many hours your child needs to be supervised during the course of a week. As a working parent, time will be a huge factor in your choice. If you’re someone who has a flexible schedule but still needs a bit more time than a traditional babysitter can give, a daycare could be a perfect way to keep your child occupied for a few hours during the busiest points of the workday. However, if you’re someone who works a 9 to 5 job, you’ll want to find something much more stable and dedicated, with a curriculum and a solid approach to education. Essentially, if your child has to spend in a supervised environment away from you, you should make sure they’re getting a lot out of it. As you look into the specific strategies and staff of each facility, you should be able to start figuring out what you’re looking for fairly quickly.
Learn About the Daily Routine
Every daycare and preschool facility is different, no matter how it might seem. Knowing more about how each place operates will help you find an option that won’t leave your kid bored out of their mind. When meeting with organizers and teachers, take the time to ask about the curriculum. Ask for a sample schedule for a regular day and ask as many questions as you can. Spend some time, if you can, observing children in the space. Do they seem happy and engaged? Is there a lot of conflict breaking out in the group? Many daycare facilities can be lax about keeping kids entertained. You’ll want to make sure that the place you choose won’t just plop your kid in front of the TV for hours on end. You’ll also want to ask about the basics. Do they offer food and snacks? Are they healthy options? How is discipline enacted? Asking these questions will give you a better sense of how things run on a day-to-day basis at any given facility.
Consider Your Child’s Age Group
As you most likely already know, not all little kids are predestined to get along. The difference in age and maturity between a 2-year-old and a 4-year-old can be huge. That’s why it’s helpful to get a sense of the age range in any given daycare or preschool. If your kid ends up being the youngest or oldest in a group, they might not feel as comfortable as they would in a group of true peers. You also don’t want to pick a facility that’s teaching down to students, in the case of a preschool aimed at much younger kids. When it comes to daycare, this will be less of a concern. However, with preschool, the main aim is to prepare your child for Kindergarten. For this reason, you want to make sure you’re placing your child with a group of kids who are working and learning along similar developmental lines. You’ll also want to find a place that will encourage a healthy level of play alongside inspiring learning and growth.
As with any care service, the price is going to be a factor in your decision. While preschool is a less optional step for your child, the cost of an all-day program can end up being a lot more expensive than a daycare, which often charges by the hour. Make sure you get a clear sense of rates and extra charges before making your decision. You don’t want to end up overpaying for a daycare or preschool service that doesn’t stimulate and engage your child during the learning process.