For most parents in Singapore, infant care is one of the care options to consider once mum returns to work after her maternity leave ends. However, with the array of infant care centres available here, it is tough to choose the best one.
Many infant care centres also have a long waiting list, so parents need to make a decision quick and secure a slot for their child.
If you are unsure about what to look out for when it comes to choosing the right infant care centre for your child, here are some things that matter to other Singaporean parents when they go through the same process.
Decide on the location
The first thing you could do to narrow your search is to filter by location.
For working parents, placing your baby in an infant care centre near your workplace could be more convenient for travel, as it allows you to visit your little one during your lunch break.
However, having an infant care near your house would be more ideal if you have the support of other caregivers such as grandparents, as they can help you out in times of emergency (e.g. when your child falls sick).
Assess the Singapore-based Infant Care’s curriculum
Although infants do not have the cognitive capacity to process information, they are incredibly opportunistic learners. At some infant care centres in Singapore, specially recorded books are played for the babies to introduce them to the rhythm, flow and sound of the language, which aids them in picking up languages in the future.
Carers will also carry out activities like encouraging the baby to look at a moving rattle or a mirror in order to teach them how to focus their attention on something. The infants are also given individual cradling time, which stimulates positive emotions. All these activities will allow them to take advantage of elements in their environment and learn.
Caring staff who cater to the needs of infants
Babies need a lot of care and attention, so it is important that the carer to child ratio is kept low. This is a big concern for parents and as shared on the MummySg forum, a mum who has an infant daughter wondered if her child would be “left lying there and be bored”.
At MindChamps Infant Care, a tailored plan for each child is created to ensure that their daily routine is not disturbed as they play and learn. Carers would spend time with each child and note down their progress in their Sensory, Motor, Intellectual, Linguistic, Emotional and Social (S.M.I.L.E.S.) development.
It is important for parents to decide on the amount that they are willing to pay to place their child in infant care. Apart from assessing their finances, this would also depend on whether they are looking for a full day or half day programme. The hours would depend on your working hours and whether you have someone to take care of your child during the later part of the day.
Communication with parents
Some parents are also concerned that their child would not be able to adapt to infant care if they have specific needs. Amy Wong, a first-time mum with an eight-month-old, mentioned that her daughter was reliant on the pacifier and needed to be rocked to sleep each time.
However, babies are very adaptable, and they would be able to adjust in no time. In addition, infant care teachers are experienced and would be able to find a solution to all these issues. At the end of the day, communication between carers and parents is vital, and the best infant care centres in Singapore will update parents on their baby’s progress to give them a peace of mind.
Lastly, parents should take a tour of the centre and assess that all safety procedures are in place. Some things to look out for include the incorporation of padded flooring and child-sized furniture, as well as the appropriateness of sleeping arrangements which cater to the different stages of babies (i.e. cots for younger babies and floor beds for crawlers and pre-walkers to ensure their safety).
Booking a centre tour would also give you the chance to talk to the staff who will be taking care of your baby and better assess the infant care centre to ensure it will meet your child’s needs.
Written by Steffi Wee