Has your child ever come home from their early learning center with the dreaded “child care center crud”?
While exposing your child to illnesses early can help them develop more immunities as they enter Elementary school, having your child become unnecessarily sick (and infecting your family!)
is something that you and your child care center can work together to avoid. See below for five questions to ask your child’s early learning center or daycare center about illness.
1. What is your policy on sick kids?
Making the decision to send your child to Child Care Center when they are sick or stay home with them and miss work or other events is sometimes an impossible choice. Asking your early learning center what happens to your child in case of illness before drop-off or if they become ill during the day can take away some of the ambiguity. Does the early learning center allow sick kids to attend? If so, are they put in a separate area? Who supervises this area and looks after your child? Ask the same questions if your child gets sick at the center. How soon will they contact you? Will they be allowed to stay, or will you have to pick them up?
2. Is the child care staff trained to handle illness?
Most child care centers don’t have a nurse on staff like at schools, but most workers have many years of experience working with children in varying states of health. When shopping for child care providers, ask the teachers or directors what steps or training they have taken in the past for sick children.
3. How many kids attend per day? Interact with each other? Are in the classroom?
Insisting on a small classroom size for your child goes beyond the one-on-one and small group attention that they need to flourish academically and socially—it can also limit the number of germs they come in contact with per day.
4. How, and how often, are toys and surfaces disinfected? What kinds of toys? Plastic? Plush toys? Wood?
Make sure that your child’s early learning center has policies and routines in place for the cleaning and disinfecting of any hard plastic, soft plastic, plush or stuffed objects, and wood toys. Ask about the frequency of cleaning for each object. Note that the way to disinfect each category of object is different—and the staff should know this too!
5. How many sinks are available for hand washing? Sinks in the classrooms? Are there tissues available? Hand sanitizer?
This one is pretty self-explanatory. While a sink isn’t a necessity in every room, make sure that your child’s early learning center supplies a sanitation method with which you are comfortable. Are you ok with wipes available for the teacher to use? Would you like hand sanitizing stations in every classroom?
Illnesses caught at child care centers are inevitability, but not one that you always have to surrender to. Work with your early learning center to learn the best ways to work to fight germs and protect your early learner.