If possible, visit during regular business hours. While in the waiting room, and walking to or from the pediatrician's office, try to notice the patients and their parents. Some may be sick or otherwise distressed, but you should still be able to get a vibe of whether the practice is organized and mostly happy, or chaotic and/or stressed/unhappy.
Similarly with a daycare, if you can visit while they're in the middle of a normal day.
Posts: 32919 | Registered: Mar 2003
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For both, spend some time thinking about what is important to you. For example, with daycare, do you want a really structured day or more freedom? Do you want them to teach your kid sign language/ spanish/ whatever is popular where you live? What kind of extra stimulation do you want? I have two kids so the daycare they go to has lots of perks for the older girl, but not so much for younger. Older has science room, library, stage with karaoke machine, newscaster/tv setup, library, indoor gym, outdoor play area, basketball, tennis courts, garden and fake city street. They are also a private school but we have 6 more months before we have to decide.
ETA: For my 5 year old, all those perks are very important. For my 18 month old, they are pretty meaningless. The child's personality might also play into what to look for if you know. For my older girl, we thought that the Montessori was too structured and the cheaper daycare was not structured enough. The perfect daycare for one person isn't the perfect daycare for another.
At the pediatrician, pay close attention to how friendly and efficient the office staff is. You will be spending at least as much time with them as with your doctor. Also ask about their hours. A pediatrician with weekend hours can be a lifesaver both so that you don't panic and take your kid in on a Friday because they might be getting sicker and you don't want to go to the ER over the weekend, and so that when they actually ARE sick on the weekend, you have another option before ER (some of which are not well-equipped or trained in pediatrics).
At the daycare, their policies on sleep and feeding will have the most direct and immediate impact, so make sure you understand what those policies are and can endorse them. Ask to see where the babies sleep. Make sure that you get a chance to speak, however briefly, and hopefully also observe the actual teachers in the infant room, not just the director. Also glance into the older infants/toddler/preschool rooms to ensure that you will be comfortable with the place long-term. If you are planning on having more kids, find out what their sibling policy is (ideally, you want a place that places siblings of current students/charges at the top of their list for open spots, so that both kids are at the same location).
Posts: 362 | Registered: Dec 2005
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Amen on the weekend hours. It's a huge relief. My youngest was playing with her older sister and had her elbow dislocated (classic nursemaid's elbow)and the doctor being open on Saturday mornings saved us a trip to the hospital.
I would also recommend a practice that has its own xray facilities. That is also fantastic, because it saves trips to other facilities.
Posts: 14426 | Registered: Aug 2001
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