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The reality of placing one’s child in someone else’s care can summon a wave of emotions and uncertainty for many mothers returning to work after maternity leave.

Sasha Rama, educator at Just Juniors in Somerset Park and Cheryl Mahabeer, owner and principal at Kiddies Junction in Morningside agree that the best way to prepare is to educate yourself. Knowing how your chosen establishment is run will help make the transition easier.

So, before you contort into a pretzel of stress and anxiety, Rama and Mahabeer share what you need to ask your creche/daycare centre before enrolling your child:

Are you registered with the Department of Education and the Department of Health? Being registered helps ensure that your child is in a safe and clean learning environment as creches will be monitored by the department through random visits.

How long have you been established? A daycare that is well established has more experience and will have gained the trust of many parents over the years. New parents can therefore use other parents experiences to navigate their decision.

Have the service staff been screen checked? Knowing that staff have been screened puts parents at ease and ensures that their little one is in good, responsible hands.

Are the service staff trained in first aid? Staff need to be trained in basic first aid in order to treat children who obtain minor injuries, who are choking or who are burnt while in their care.

Ask to look at the creches daily program - doing so will enable you to know if their structure suits the needs of your child as well as whether they align with what you are looking for in a daycare.

Is there a CCTV? Parents might want to ensure children are not being mistreated and be able to check what their child has been up to whilst in another's care. Having a digital surveillance system can offer parents the piece of mind they need.

How many children are there in a class? In smaller classes, teachers will usually be able to provide  children with the necessary amount of attention they need, without being overlooked due to overcrowding.

How do you handle mealtimes? Apart from needing to know about whether meals are provided and at what cost, parents should also ask if the service staff are trained and equipped to deal with eating problems (ranging from picky eaters to feeding and swallowing disorders).

What is your toilet routine? Is there potty training for children who are not fully trained and are staff willing and able to teach and assist them with using the toilet until they become independent.

Are you open throughout the year? Parents can rest easy knowing that their kids are still cared for during the school holidays and won’t have to make last minute arrangements.