Child care refers to care provided by a caregiver for toddlers and infants and school-aged children. This is done either in the child’s home, that of a relative or caregiver, or a childcare centre.
Childcare has a lot of influence on a child’s behaviour, growth and development. According to research carried out on children who received Quality childcare, either from family or care providers, it has proven to be instrumental in child compliance and cooperation.
Child care is categorised into:
- Centre-based child care
- Family child care
- In-home child care
- Care provided by relatives, friends, neighbours
Child care centres or centre-based child care are often labelled daycare centres, preschools or nursery schools. These centres provide care to children in groups. They get sponsorship from individuals, schools, social service agencies, employers or independent owners.
Child care centres are often a preferred option for parents because they believe that larger groups of children, the presence of many care providers and state regulations assures them of more safety and reliability.
Some parents consider centre-based care as a pleasant and conducive learning environment for their children. Child care centres are regulated and monitored by specific government organisations and policies. Child care centres operate by specific recommendations. These are the minimum standards to be observed by child care centres. Some of these include:
- A caregiver should be in charge of not more than four infants, and the number of children per group should not exceed eight in a childcare centre.
- The number of young infants per caregiver should not exceed four (12-24 months) and not more than 12 young infants with three caregivers for each group.
The choice of a standard child care centre for your young infant is as crucial as providing basic needs for a child. It is vital to the child’s wellbeing, health and development. Before making this choice, parents are to put various factors into consideration; who handles the child, the environment and other conditions. Some of these factors to include:
- Adequate supervision of every child. Every child requires special attention to their needs. A right child care centre should be able to attend to the needs of each child under their custody. Parents can get more information about regulations for childcare centres peculiar to their state by contacting the department of health and human services.
- Adequate attention is given to health and safety. These include a routine cleaning of the facility, proper hand-washing habits. Caregivers should be well trained in first aid, and resuscitation in case of emergencies. Accident prevention and safety precautions should be put in place and strictly adhered.
- Children are taught to explore and are given adequate exposure to songs, games and conversations to improve their learning and language development.
- There are sufficient and appropriate play materials and equipment.
- Parents are allowed to make unscheduled visits and are free to air their views and make suggestions.
- Professionalism and quality training on the side of caregivers.stability of caregivers is an essential element of quality care.
Most parents express concerns over the ability of their children to cope and adapt to a new environment and receive care from another person. Parents can assist their children in adjusting by visiting the care centre or home, introducing the kids to their caregiver, amongst other means. Parents also worry about exposure to communicable diseases and certain respiratory illnesses in child care centres.
However, all these concerns are resolved when the choice of the right child care centre is made. A child care centre in Darwin is inspected and regulated by the appropriate health agencies.