THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Sukanya was baffled when a toddler dashed to her at a crowded bus-stop, sobbing and demanding to take him home. She couldn’t find his parents nearby, and then she noticed the gate of a nearby daycare centre slightly ajar. Burning with indignation at their negligence, she returned the three-year-old to an apologetic staff. But the worst part was when she saw the ayah scolding and slapping the kid for venturing out on his own. For most parents leaving their kid at a creche is a matter of constant worry, often forcing the guilt-stricken moms to quit their jobs. “Taking the decision itself is so difficult and then you spend days searching for the right place based on accessibility, service and recommendations. When my son was born it was very difficult to find a daycare that fit our requirements. I had to quit my job after trying a couple of places,” said Bhagyalakshmi, a marketing professional.
It seems the working moms like her now have an option to stay stress-free as their baby is ‘just a click away’. Yes, you heard it right. Creches and daycare centres in the city are going high-tech with a lot of unique features including app-based live monitoring facility. “Yes we have live video streaming option so that parents can check on their kids whenever they please,” says Mini Rani, director, Alaska World School, situated opposite Infosys.
The physical distance becomes a non-issue when you can watch your baby napping or having food on your smart phone. “It’s such a relief. You don’t have to call up the daycare every 30 minute to know how your baby is doing,” says Nisha, a techie. Alaska has the facilities to take care of babies from the age of six months and it works from 8 am to 8 pm. “Our classrooms are air-conditioned and we always maintain a temperature comfortable to the kids. Hygienic is another aspect we never compromise on, something that the parents are very happy about. We have all the professional amenities needed for a play school and creche,” says Mini.
Patasala near Medical College believes in creating a homely ambiance for the kids. “We have most students in after school section. We directly pick them from school and then provide every service academically and otherwise. Our teachers help them complete homework and make sure that they have no difficulty in any subject. Apart from playtime they can indulge in arts like dance for music as well,” says Bindu who runs the school. The specialty of Patasala is its mandatory yoga classes and counselling sessions for parents. “There are hyperactive children, then slow learners and television addicts. We focus on such kids and we use scientific methods to handle them. Since these children only get very limited time with their parents we want their relationship to be special and healthy. That’s why we insist on counselling sessions on weekends,” she adds.
Very often daycare centres which keep a very sophisticated and professional image employ untrained ayahs. “There is no guarantee that they won’t ill-teat the kids. I used to bribe the ayah at my baby’s previous daycare and I am sure many of the parents do that,” said Simi, a bank employee. Individual care is also a very important requirement for the parents, especially when it comes to feeding. “You cannot ask a one-year-old about his menu. It’s a job that requires a lot of patience and just like teachers they need some skills in handling children. You cannot bully them into obeying orders,” she adds.
There are parents who think being away from home will affect the emotional well-being of their kid who often opt for a nanny. But according to experts, it’s better being around other children so that they learn to be sociable at a very young age. “More than that, they develop a more defined routine and grow up as more independent individuals. It’s not going to harm their development, rather helps them in more ways than one,” said Smitha, psychologist.
Choosing the right daycare
Proximity. It’s is an important aspect as you will always need to rush back in case of an emergency
Safety, health and hygiene requirements. Look for age-appropriate care and curriculum along with the diet, activities, playtime and naptime.
Professional amenities and trained staff. Always inquire about the adult to child ratio to ensure individual attention.
Reputation. Feedback and recommendations from other parents count and transparency is equally important.
Be observant. Drop by and check the place at different times to know how kids are treated.