Choosing a daycare center for your children
is OK to put your kids into a daycare – after all, many families
have two working parents, and young children cannot be left home alone!
However, it is not OK to put your children into a daycare without doing
a little research first.
Here are some tips to help you ensure that you find the best
child care center for your children.
• Research – ask around. Ask family,
friends, neighbors, and doctors which childcare centers they have
used and recommend. You can also check phone books and the internet
for additional options.
• Awards and accreditation – look for
an accreditation by the National Association of Family Child Care
and/or the National Association for the Education of Young Children.
Also see if the center has received awards.
• Ask questions – do not be afraid to
call and visit potential centers and ask a lot of questions. Find
out what you can expect.
• If you get a bad feeling about a place, cross it off
• Consider your child – do you think
that your child would like it? Would he or she have fun and get along
well with the teachers and children? Is it a welcoming environment?
Taking your child along with you for a visit to the center can help
you answer these questions. See if your child seems comfortable.
• Check references
• Get a copy of their policies.
Specific things to consider:
• Staff to child ratio – one staff member
for 3-5 small children is fine. Likewise, one staff member for 8-10
older children is fine. The fewer children the staff member must be
responsible for, the better.
• Location – one important factor to
consider is how close to home or work the day care center is. The
easier it is to get to, the more time you will be able to spend with
• Hours – will you be able to drop your
child off early or pick him or her up late on occasion?
• Activities – how often do they change
activities? What types of activities do they offer?
• Age groups – are older and younger
children kept together?
• Discipline – how do they discipline
• Special requests – will they easily
be able to accommodate any special requests that you may have?
• Teachers – how experienced are they?
• Adult day care – adult/child day cares
can be beneficial for all involved. Consider if this is a good possibility
for your child.
• Safety – look around the childcare
center and to check for anything that seems potentially dangerous.
Check for wood chips or rubber beneath the playground equipment to
absorb impact. Are there easy-to-reach high places that children may
climb to? Will the children be exposed to strangers? Is the outside
play area fenced in? Are there any broken toys? Are the toys clean?
Are surfaces regularly disinfected? Are corners covered? Are there
smoke alarms, etc.?
Additional questions you may want to ask potential candidate
• Is there a nurse on staff to help with medical care?
• How are medicines given?
• Illnesses – will sick children be kept in a sick room?
Will very sick children stay at home when sick? How will parents be
told about different illnesses among children?
• Are vaccinations and physical exams required?
• Are all staff members certified in basic first aid?
• What sort of training are staff members required to have?
• Does the center make the children (and the staff) wash their
hands frequently and well?