A properly managed crèche can be an ideal place for a child in her physical and mental development. A child`s social habits develop, her eating habits become less troublesome, her communication skills improve in a crèche, as she interacts with other children of different age groups, and follows the discipline practised in the crèche.
At the same time a crèche can be a dangerous place where a child can be abused. The most common problems that occur are lacerations in sexual areas and changes in behaviour patterns. Parents are ashamed to ask questions mainly for two reasons: they are scared the child may be thrown out of the crèche; and they are afraid of the repercussions it may have once the complaints are out in the open.
A crèche should not be just a place where parents can put their children for a few hours while they go about their daily business. It should be a centre that stresses on quality care with a stable environment. Frequent changes in crèches can also be traumatic for the child as every time she has to adjust to a new environment.
Today as we grow into an industrial society, women are pressured, trying to manage home, work and children without much domestic help or that from the members of a joint family. So, the availability of quality crèches is of utmost importance. Unfortunately, such crèches are very difficult to find.
So, a basic question that needs to be answered is:
What can be done to improve the quality of crèches in the country?
Here are some suggestions:
- Just as teachers need to have a B.Ed certificate, similarly, a diploma in child psychology should be made compulsory for women who want to open crèches.
- Employers should also provide childcare facilities. If they are concerned about productivity they should look at this welfare measure for their employees. Women will feel more secure if their child is looked after by the office day care centre, hence productivity will increase.
- The mother should communicate to the crèche mother about the routine, care and handling of the child.
- One can`t leave everything to the crèche authorities. Parents too should cope with some of the problems related to the child.
- Since registration of a crèche is not a workable proposition, internal and periodic checks by the parents can help to a large extent.
- Parent should be co-operative as far as meetings are concerned and take them seriously. There should be increased participation and constant dialogue between staff and parents. A positive aspect of an organised crèche is a feeling of oneness- a positive feeling.
- There should be a doctor on call in case of an emergency. Specialists should be called every year to deliver lectures in the presence of parents.
- Legislation is necessary as far as hygiene and security are concerned.
- Crèches should also get adequate grants like schools.
- Screening of helpers is also very important. Helpers must be clean and tidy.
- Parents should co-operate with crèche workers to tide over problems of stress and insecurity faced by children.
- Ideally a crèche should work round the clock because many women have to keep late hours at their workplace.
- Parents should adopt a participatory attitude. A crèche should not be considered as a place to dump a child for a few hours, clothed, fed and put to bed and picked up at the end of the day.
- The next few years will see a phenomenal increase in the number of crèches in the cities and the problems of young parents will be more acute in finding an ideal and suitable one. The only solution is that every crèche must be a community crèche near the residence, so that commuting is not a problem.
- Attitudes and ideas of parents and crèche owners must also radically change. Equal participation is important if the development of the child is to be evident and the quality care by the crèche to be maintained.