Choosing Child Care in the UAE

If you are worried about choosing the right child care in the UAE, these tips will definitely help you.

Are you a guilty working parent? Or are you anxious about leaving your tiny toddler at preschool to prep him for school? We get you totally, because we have been through this! Many factors like UAE being largely an expatriate community with little family support system, the need to pursue one’s career, catch up with the rising living costs and better living standards, facilitate a social life to your kid beyond the four walls of your house at the right age etc. makes childcare inevitable. A recent study states ‘Working mums have daughters who are better educated and higher earning while their sons do more housework and childcare while balancing their careers’ (Source : Harvard Business School research). That is a promising pay-off!

So hurray parents - you have got plenty of reasons to rejoice here in the UAE! UAE being a soulful melting pot of global cultures, nationalities, life styles, cuisines, etiquettes and much more, your child is introduced to a miniature global community which is highly stimulating in their early childhood education. Also, UAE boasts of high childcare standards and facilities and with so many options – preschools, a day care home, day care center, a nanny or in-home babysitter, and family care – you just got to choose the one that suits you the best.

While choosing childcare, experiment the various options available for a few days and finalize the one that works best for you and your child. Regardless of the type of childcare that you choose, these are few generic guidelines to help you choose the right one:

  1. Safety – Their child’s safety is definitely a primary concern for all parents. Ensure that the center is adequately baby-proofed and child’s access to potential dangers like roads, pools, electronic devices etc is minimal. Unlatched doors and windows, exposed electric outlets and wires, steep stairs, slippery floors, sharp edges, open balconies etc pose threats.
  2. Access to the center – The location and accessibility of the center are of prime importance, the closer it is to your workplace or where you stay, the better. Thus you can ensure you are within reach in case of any emergencies. This can reduce long travel hours for your kid too.
  3. Staff / nannies / teachers – In your absence, the staff plays the role of a parent, teacher and caretaker to your child. So it is important that they have the right qualification, experience and emotional connect. Most childcare centers in the UAE let parents spend time with kids at the childcare occasionally to get a feel of the culture of the center, promptly responds to their queries and stays connected through webcast, live photo sharing etc.
  4. Activities and Equipments – The activities are generally designed to cater to the overall social, intellectual, mental and physical development of the children of various ages and interests. It is advisable to ensure that the toys, equipments, rides and learning tools are safe, age appropriate and stimulating.

Generally, the cost of childcare and education is on the higher side in the UAE. Finding a quality childcare facility that doesn’t burn a hole in your pocket requires some research.

Other factors to be considered are the cleanliness of the childcare center, the quality of food being served, access to neat and child friendly bathrooms etc.

It is just a matter of time before you and your child gets accustomed to a new childcare routine. Meanwhile, if you have any concerns about your child’s changed routine or behavior, the licensing of the centre etc, discuss it with the caretaker. You will soon feel at ease and your child will start enjoying the new world he has explored.

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