Whether you only work part-time or if you are a stay at home parent in need of a little free time, flexible day care options can work for you. Unlike full day care or preschool schedules, your child will only attend part-time. To ensure that it works best for both you and the child, implement the following tips.
Tip #1: Pick a consistent schedule
When it comes to kids, consistency is key. Day care is a place that is ruled by the daily schedule, so it can be stressful for children if they always enter at a different point in this schedule. To help eliminate this stress, plan to use day care on the same days or at the same times, when possible. For example, you may only use day care on Tuesdays and Thursdays, or perhaps the days vary but it is only for the afternoon. This will also increase your child's chances of being around the same kids and teachers each time, which will help them develop friendships and bonds.
Tip #2: Find out about transition and activity times
A day care day is divided into periods of activity and transition times. Find out when the transition times are, because this is often the best time to drop off or pick up your child. For example, it can be difficult to get into the swing of the day if the child arrives in the middle of a game, but arriving at the beginning of the transition to recess is much easier. As for pickup, it can be upsetting to leave in the middle of the daily story, but much easier to do so at the beginning of a rest period. Most day cares have a printed daily schedule you can use to help plan your pick ups and drop offs.
Tip #3: Plan for field trips
Many day care centers also have periodic field trips throughout the year. These can include trips to local museums, parks, zoos, or other child-friendly activity. Find out the schedule for these field trips ahead of time. Although your child may not be a full time participant in the day care, they may enjoy these field trips and it can be difficult for them if they feel left out when most of their friends are going. This way you can plan and budget for your child to stay the whole day when there is a field trip.
Talk with a day care center to find out what options they offer for flexible or part-time care. Most have varying weekly or monthly packages so you can find one to fit within your budget.