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A high-quality daycare is perhaps the best gift you can give your little one before you return to work. As the name so evidently suggests, daycare is a place where parents can drop off their kids during the daytime to be cared for, nurtured, and taught by professionals. If you’re exploring the Hollywood Park daycare landscape, then you probably already knew that.
What you might not know, though, is just how tough it is to find a good daycare with well-trained and highly motivated staff. It doesn’t help that there are many varieties of daycares out there. Whether you’re interested in a traditional childcare center, family daycare, or an in-home caregiver, it’s important to do your homework and find a daycare that aligns with your family’s specific needs.
The daycare needs of your family can be philosophical, practical, or something in between. Here, we have put together key pointers to help you snag a top-notch daycare in Hollywood Park for your child.
How Does Daycare Work?
When most people think about childcare, the first thing that pops into their mind is a babysitter or nanny. Daycare is an alternative childcare option that allows you to drop off your child at a facility for supervision, care, and learning. These facilities specialize in the care of younger children of different ages, from infants to preschoolers. They are often situated in a quiet, safe, and supportive setting close to family neighborhoods such as Hollywood Park.
While babies, toddlers, and preschoolers are the primary target of daycares, some daycare sites offer after-school and before-school care for school-age kids. Most of them operate much like preschools as they have formal schedules and offer either full-time or half-day child-care services that include learning, naps, feeding, activities, playtime, or perhaps some outings.
If you’re considering daycare for an older kid, a full-suite daycare center that provides more structured learning routines and opportunities for social development may be your best shot.
Like preschools, some daycare centers offer care around approaches or philosophies like Reggio Emilia, Waldorf, Montessori, Jewish, Christian, and Bank Street, just to state a few. On the same note, many of them are part of bigger regional, state, or national chains, such as Primrose, Kiddie Academy, Kids R’ Kids, and Children’s Lighthouse, while others are privately owned and run.
Even though more affordable than a full-time nanny, daycare services aren’t cheap. Most Hollywood Park daycare facilities charge a monthly or weekly fee that tends to vary from one daycare to the next. Others offer flexible care, including hour-by-hour payment for parents who just need childcare for a few hours at a time.
Daycare can be a lifesaver for parents who need two or more incomes to thrive financially. They take the pressure off of the parents, helping them focus better on their work knowing that their babies are well taken care of. While it has always been a childcare solution for children who don’t have stay-at-home moms or dads, daycare has also caught on with stay-at-home parents. This trend is all thanks to well-documented social, emotional, and behavioral development benefits of sending kids to daycare.
The ultimate goal of every daycare is to provide parents with quality childcare services, but they are not all the same. Hollywood Park daycares come in a variety, even though most of them fall into three loosely-defined categories: family day care, in-home daycare, and formal daycare centers. And each category works in a little different way.
In-home daycare is a childcare option where care is provided in a home, which can be your own or provider’s house. Nannies and au pairs provide this type of daycare within your family’s household. While you’ll have to share your living space with an au pair, nannies are basically babysitters who leave when they clock out.
Family daycare is a type of in-home childcare in which the provider looks after a smaller group of children in the comfort of their own home. The provider usually has a dedicated space in their house where the kids can nap, play, learn, sing, and whatnot. This somewhat informal arrangement is not only wallet-friendly but can also provide your little loved one with a rather warm and familiar family-like setting.
Daycare centers, on the other hand, are specialized, nonresidential facilities with high-quality, trained staff. Because they have more caregivers and accommodate more children of diverse ages and backgrounds, your kid will likely acquire excellent socialization skills and develop an early appetite for learning. Some daycare centers may be also affiliated with specific workplaces; otherwise, their rates can be rather high.
How Does a Daycare Affect My Child’s Development?
Many parents are often split between hiring a nanny and sending their kids to daycare. One question they often wrestle with is whether daycare is beneficial to their child’s development. And the answer is a resounding yes — a raft of recent childcare studies concluded that daycare indeed provides babies with a great environment that promotes mental, emotional, and social development.
In an extensive study published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, scientists noted that children who went to a high-quality daycare center for more than a year are less likely to experience relationship, attention, emotional, and discipline problems later in life. Their closing statement read that positive interaction with daycare staff and peers, along with structure, offered a social and supportive environment that encourages healthy development.
When you dig deeper, there are specific aspects of daycare that contribute to your child’s development. These include:
Structured and scheduled routine. Young children are not known for being avid respecters of schedules. Even so, daycare’s structured tasks like playtime, meals, singing, naps, storytelling, and learning help immensely with multi-faceted growth and development. And the structure makes it easier for parents to deal with their children and make them happy at home. In short, daycare will help reinforce your child’s development because kids tend to thrive in a predictable and consistent environment.
Passionate caregivers. Let’s not kid ourselves–there aren’t many millionaire daycare caregivers. Most of them are not out to make big bucks. However, most also have a genuine love and passion for children and want to nurture them to grow into their best selves. Babies are happy when they are around such people who exude positive, loving vibes.
Social time with peers. There’s nothing more important for developing minds than interactions with others. That’s why smart parents go out of their way to arrange playdates for their kids. In the same way, a good Hollywood Park daycare provides your child with lots of peer interactions in a structured, safe, and supervised setting.
It’s through these fun and structured interactions that your tot will learn important virtues like sharing, friendship, problem-solving, and playing with others. It can be especially helpful because children’s minds are growing, and their personalities are still emerging.
Is Hollywood Park a Good Neighborhood for My Child?
Hollywood Park is a popular neighborhood for many families and married couples, and it’s easy to see why. The closely-knit, family-oriented neighborhood has gorgeous homes, vast green spaces, nice sidewalks, a large lush park, and low crime rates to boot.
Homes in Hollywood Park have noteworthy backyards and front yards where kids can have a blast and the entire family/friends can break out the BBQ grills. The neighborhood has its fair share of culture, arts, and entertainment scenes for the whole family. Several spots organize kids-friendly visual arts, dance, music, theater, and film programs.
The nearby Peterson Park and North Park Village Nature Preserve are dog-friendly and offer great trails for a stroll, jog, run, or nature walks. The top public and private schools serving Hollywood Park include Peterson Elementary School, Bais Yaakov High School, Northside Learning Center, Mather High School, and Hope College Prep. If you need childcare, highly-rated Hollywood Park daycare centers are available.
All in all, Hollywood Park offers a small-town, homey feel within an urban setting. Close to transport hubs, close to downtown Chicago, and with good schools and safe streets, this neighborhood may be a dream come true for anyone looking to raise a healthy child.
How Can I Pick a Great Daycare in Hollywood Park?
Did you know that daycare can be your trusted partner in your child’s growth, well-being, and development? Choosing a daycare for your child is a vital decision that you need to make well ahead of the baby’s arrival. This is especially the case because many Hollywood Park daycares have long waiting lists. Here are some questions and tips that you should use to see if a particular daycare is a good fit for your child and situation.
– Home-based vs. Center-based Daycare
Do you feel that your kid will benefit from a family daycare or is a traditional daycare center more your speed? High-quality daycare centers typically have separate rooms for preschoolers, toddlers, and babies, each with dedicated teachers and caregivers. They usually offer extended hours to cater to late pickups and early drop-offs.
Daycares may also be convenient or subsidized if they are affiliated with your workplace. Younger children will enjoy structure while their older counterparts may take advantage of perks like toys, art and craft supplies, and computers. Besides, if a provider takes a leave or falls ill, there’s always someone—often already known to your child–who can fill in.
Family daycares, on the other hand, offer a more intimate setting with no more than 6 kids per caregiver, which is what some parents prefer. Even more exciting, these in-home childcare options can cost up to $6,000 less than center-based care per year, according to Child Care Aware of America.
Family daycares generally don’t have waiting lists and they can accommodate siblings so they can learn and build a strong sibling bond. Unfortunately, you may be out of luck if the caregiver takes a vacation or gets sick.
– What’s the Cost? How Are Payments Made?
This big question should always top your list of what you’ll ask each daycare you are interested in. If the cost is beyond your means, what options do they have for you? What happens if you pay late? In addition to the standard fee, ask if there are any extra charges. Will you be charged a fee for late pickups? What about supplies for your child? It’s always a good decision to know what you will pay for upfront.
– What is the Child-to-Provider Ratio?
Yes, a center with many children will be beneficial for your child’s social and behavioral development. However, it can come at the expense of one-on-one time with the caregiver if there are few providers. Babies crave constant attention, and they deserve it. A ratio of no more than three children under 30 months is the law in Illinois — but the lower the ratio, the better.
– What Does the Daycare’s Routine Look Like?
Your little one’s development needs to incorporate learning, socialization, and stimulation opportunities. Intellectually stimulating activities can include baby sign language use, sensory time, 1-on-1 interactive playtime, storytelling, singing, and more.
Another reason you want to find out the daycare’s routine is that you may also want to partially replicate it at home. This will help calm the baby and create some consistency and structure in her life. Don’t forget to ask about the supplies you will be required to provide, such as bedsheets, extra clothes, baby wipes, diapers, etc.
– Take It to the Floor
A visit to all potential daycares is a no-brainer move. When you visit, be sure to check how caregivers and teachers interact with the kids. Ideally, the staff should be on the floor teaching, playing, and having fun with the children. Younger children, especially infants, need lots of close adult interactions to thrive.
– Do Background Checks
Are all caregivers in the daycare well-trained and qualified? Ideally, your choice should be accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). Next up, make sure potential providers are licensed by both the City of Chicago and the State of Illinois.
Continuity is crucial for infants or toddlers who are growing fast. That’s why you need to ask about the daycare staff turnover and how they address staff transitions. At a good daycare site, the person caring for your little one should have at least 40 hours of early childhood education training.
– Follow Your Gut Instincts
Every parent knows when something doesn’t sit well. When that little birdie inside you tells you something doesn’t feel right, don’t hesitate to move on to the next daycare center on your list. Don’t be bothered if you don’t seem to like a daycare everyone’s talking about.
Your kid deserves the very best of child-care, so keep hunting until you find the crème de la crème of Hollywood Park daycares.
– What’s the Daycare’s Policy?
A great Hollywood Park daycare center will have a documented policy with guidelines on major issues like meals, screen time, discipline, sleep time, playtime, and more. Make sure that you are reading from the same page when it comes to parenting approaches. For example, you may be a big proponent of time-outs, but the daycare may use a different approach. This philosophical difference can turn into a nightmare later when things go south.
Don’t forget to ask about their sick-child policy. What symptoms require your child to stay at home? What backup measures does the daycare have if the primary provider is out sick or unable to work? The more you inquire during the search phase, the less likely you will have a bad experience with a daycare later.
How Long Can My Child Spend in Daycare?
How long should a kid stay at daycare has become a hot-button topic since these childcare facilities became popular. There are reports that some parents leave their children for as long as 12 hours or longer. Let’s make one thing clear: no one can substitute for parental nurturing and supportiveness and a good home environment.
It’s generally agreed that 36 hours weekly of daycare time is favorable for any child older than three, according to the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development.
How Expensive Is a Daycare in Hollywood Park?
Childcare costs have skyrocketed in the last seven years, so much so that nearly half of parents are afraid of placing their kids in daycare because of the hefty price tag. According to the latest numbers, parents should be prepared to pay an average of $343 per week for daycare in Hollywood Park, which is well above the national average of $215/week.
Do Daycare Providers Need to Be Licensed?
Daycare licensing regulations vary from state to state. In the state of Illinois, all daycare providers must be licensed through the Department of Children and Family Services. This applies to both family daycare and traditional child-care centers.
In addition to the state-issued license, daycare centers also need to be licensed by the City of Chicago. The so-called City license is based on the age group catered to by the daycare.