The arrival of a baby presents first-time parents with exciting changes and challenges – from the non-stop cycle of feeding, burping, and cleaning, to the growing bags under the eyes from dedicating every available hour tending to their infant’s needs, new parents may get themselves in a fret over providing the best care for their little ones in their first years of life.
For parents who are unable to look after their newborn full-time due to the pressures of work, infant care proves to be the best alternative. Ms Charlotte Wong, Infant Care Expert, Kinderland, with more than 20 years of experience working with children, shares some insightful tips on choosing a suitable infant care to meet your child’s needs.
Choosing an appropriate time to put your baby in infant care
Infant care is suitable for babies from as early as 2 to 18 months of age. In fact, the sooner you kickstart the infant care programme, the better. The first three years of your child’s life is a crucial period of growth which sees rapid cognitive, linguistic, social, emotional, and motor development – during which the lively, stimulating environment provided by an infant care would go a long way in helping them achieve significant developmental milestones.
How do you know if your child is ready for infant care?
More often than not, it is about whether the parent is ready to leave their child with a stranger than if the child is ready for
infant care. Due to the tender age at which children are enrolled in infant care, they are often unaware of what is going on. However, little ones can sense if their mother is feeling anxious or uneasy – hence it is best for parents to regulate their own emotions and be mentally prepared for their child to be placed in infant care. Only place your child in infant care when you are ready to be separated from your precious one for a couple of hours in the good hands of a qualified educarer.
Key criteria for assessing an infant care for your baby
Firstly, there are certain criteria that you must not overlook: the general facilities, safety guidelines, and cleanliness of the centre. Following which, individual preference comes into play when assessing other criteria. For instance, some parents may prefer a smaller centre for the personal touch appeal, while others may look out for larger name establishments.
Whichever centre you select, do ensure that it is registered with the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA).
In addition, the school should fulfil the basic requirement of providing regular updates on your child’s progress – an example of this would be Kinderland’s Developmental Assessment System (DAS), which helps track observations made by our educarers when your little ones attain relevant developmental milestones, such as rolling over, sitting up, and standing. Knowing that your child is in good hands and growing healthily would definitely help ease
your mind at work.
Don’t forget to take a look at the curriculum, which should ideally adopt a holistic approach in nurturing your child. Take Kinderland for instance – its infant care programme combines the best of East and West methodologies, based off the Singapore Early Years Development Framework (EYDF); practices from USA’s Programme for Infant & Toddler Care; Early Years consultants in Japan and health experts in China. The Kinderland infant care programme exposes children to music early on, thereby increasing their abilities in the areas of temporal and spatial reasoning, and instilling independence and confidence in them.
Another important thing to look out for is the presence of age-appropriate equipment in the centre. Such equipment should aid in the development of your child to help them get the most out of their daily activities. At Kinderland, for example, our facility is fitted with supportive features to help infants learn to stand and walk better, while little ones who are mastering their gross motor skills can tumble and roll on well-padded gym equipment.
What to look out for when touring an infant care centre
The next step after shortlisting your top infant care centres is to visit them. When paying a visit to a potential site, observe the hygiene standards and cleanliness of the environment.
Look at the way the teachers communicate with one another, children, parents, and third-party vendors. Pay attention to how they physically handle babies, and check if there is a system and process in place for handling potential situations. Go through the curriculum and routine for each day and watch how they are carried out. Most importantly, ask as many
questions as you would like, as at the end of the day you have to be comfortable with the environment you are leaving your child in.
Asking the important questions
Here are some guiding questions to help you through during your visit to the centre:
● How often would they check the temperature of the infant?
● What is the procedure taken should the infant run a fever?
● What are their perceptions of babies and how do they respond to the babies? Is crying for milk and attention the only thing babies do, or are they growing, eager individuals ready to learn and keen to be responsive to our interactions with them?
● How would they handle active babies who are not getting enough rest as they should?
● If your child has allergies, do check with the school on what sort of procedures and methods they have in place to handle the situation.
In particular, questions pertaining to how scenarios that call for concern are handled can reveal if a teacher is respectful, loving and responsive enough to provide all-rounded and professional care to someone else’s bundle of joy.
To sum up…
Choosing the suitable infant care for your baby is an all-important decision which requires much thought and consideration. By following these helpful tips and asking the relevant questions, you can give yourself peace of mind and feel fully confident in your choice.
Kinderland Educare Services is a leading provider of quality infant care, bilingual kindergarten and preschool education for children two months to six years of age. A member of Crestar Education Group, Kinderland has over 40 years of experience in nurturing confident children and enabling them to be life-long learners. Kinderland’s curriculum integrates the best education approaches and methodologies from the West and the values of morality and inter-personal relationships of the East. Kinderland is also renowned for its music-infused curriculum proven to accelerate language literacy and enhance cognitive development in young children. Kinderland, founded in Singapore, now also serves an extensive regional preschool network beyond our borders, of over 60 centres in Malaysia, Indonesia, Bangladesh, China, Cambodia, and Vietnam.