The Top Things Parents Look For During a Daycare Tour
Choosing a daycare can be an overwhelming decision for families. Often, the market is oversaturated and the options may feel endless. How can parents be sure they’re picking the best facility for their child?
There’s a certain level of pressure and maybe even stress attached to the experience. Touring a facility and exploring what it has to offer can be a reassuring and informative way to gain familiarity and help guide a family’s decision making. Here are some of the top things parent’s look out for.
A clean and sanitary facility is extremely important to all prospective families. What are the cleaning practices in place? What products are used? What is the typical nightly cleaning and sanitizing routine? How often are toys sterilized each day? Everything from how clean the adult bathrooms are to the smell of the air is important to families. Remember, their children are leaving their care and their homes for the first time — they want to feel comfortable with the physical space in which they will be laying, playing, crawling, eating, etc.
Staff to Student Ratio
When a young child is about to transition from being under the 1:1 care of a parent to being part of group or classroom, most parents will keep an eye out for the mandated staff to student ratio. This should be in place at all times and is an easy thing for any informed parent to look out for.
Demeanor of Staff and Students
Perhaps nothing can speak more to the culture of a facility than the genuine overall demeanor of staff and students. Friendly faces, a feeling of warmth and caring from staff and happy and engaged children are what all parents hope to see. Parents are typically in tune for anything that may be reassuring — from the way a teacher may comfort a student, to the manner in which staff or students greet one another and/or say goodbye at the end of the day.
Space, Layout and Design
A warm, friendly, open space is sure to draw smiles. Organized playscapes, quiet nap areas, baby-proof, safe places to explore and accessible, engaging activity centers are at the top of every parents wish list. Everything from the colors of the walls and carpets to the areas of open physical space will be noticed by any touring family, so it’s a great idea to ensure your layout is consistent with your mission and goals.
Anything that can help make parents feel secure with entrusting their child to your care is of the utmost importance. Cameras, alarms, window placement and accessibility emergency exits, fire-drill plans, kid-proof entrances and exits and proper identification methods at drop off and pickup are all imperative.
Aside from a clear organization of physical space (think: every toy has a space, cubbies are neat, the diapering area is clearly labelled, etc.) procedural organization is important, too. Touring families want to see that drop-offs, pickups, meal times and diaper changes happen in an organized, routine manner. Charts for all staff to see that track naps, changes, feedings are reassuring to families that want to know their child’s routines are being respected and maintained.
Healthy Meal and Feeding Options
Child nutrition is extremely important. During tours, offer a visit to the kitchen or pantry, showcase labelled and organized refrigerators, explain how mealtimes are handled and outline how you handle food allergies and special dietary needs. Provide sample menus for families to review, and be ready to answer any and all questions from “what happens if my child is still hungry,” to “how do you handle picky eaters?” Parents want to know their children are eating healthfully and happily.
The Bottom Line
But while your floors may be gleaming and children’s faces beaming, there’s one thing even the most show-stopping tour can’t compete with — verified reviews from actual families.
While generic online reviews may or may not be helpful to some, through Fyv, all
prospective families will have instant access to validated and recent reviews from REAL
Plus, by signing up with Fyv, you’ll be able to showcase all of your facility’s unique
attributes, too — thus reaching even more families.
Hearing anecdotes and experiences from fellow parents offers insight that can’t be gained from a tour (or Google search) alone, and having all information in one place can make all the difference in having confidence in making the final decision.