You've enrolled your kid at a reputable childcare centre, yet you're starting to doubt that the centre is not suitable after all.
Should you change to another childcare centre? These warning signs could help you make the decision.
HE KEEPS CRYING
Your little one has been attending childcare for more than six weeks, but he still cries when you leave him there each morning. You understand that he tears up frequently throughout the day, as well.
While it is common for young children to show some degree of separation anxiety, this typically eases within six to eight weeks.
HE LOOKS SLUGGISH
There are no tears when you drop him off, but you've noticed that your little one appears rather glazed and lethargic when you pick him up at the end of the day.
He should be enthusiastic and lively, and be stimulated by all the activities there. If he is not animated that way, the childcare programme might not suit him.
YOU DON'T FEEL COMFORTABLE WITH THE CHILDCARE STAFF
You have trouble getting an appointment to chat with them about his progress.
The staff should be accessible at all times so that parents can discuss their concerns, minor or major. And if you feel uneasy with the staff, chances are, your child won't feel comfortable with them, either.
HE ISN'T MAKING PROGRESS
Your child should make good progress this year, in all aspects of his development and growth. You can expect him to acquire new skills in language, thinking, coordination, and social situations.
If that isn't happening on a regular basis, the curriculum may not be suitable for his needs.
THE CENTRE IS TOO FAR AWAY
If you have to wake up ridiculously early to get him there and rush from work every evening to pick him up in time, this isn't a practical arrangement. When it's too disruptive to your routine, this centre might not be right for you.
THE FEES ARE TOO COSTLY
As you have discovered, quality childcare is expensive. That means the economic value of your going to work has to be offset against the cost of childcare fees.
Some parents find that going to childcare means there is more money going out than coming in to the family bank account - it is just not affordable at this stage.
Switching centres is a huge step that will affect everyone in your family, not just your little one. So think carefully before taking such drastic action when you see some of the telltale signs above.
Share your concerns with the principal, and arrange for a regular progress update with the teacher in charge of your child. Sometimes, a slight alteration can have a huge positive effect. It's certainly worth trying to resolve your concern before concluding that this particular centre isn't right for you or your kid.
But if the changes don't produce the desired improvements, or if you simply can't make any changes at all, then you should probably think about finding an alternative.
This time round, however, you'll know exactly what you are looking for because you have learnt what can go wrong.
This article was first published in Young Parents.