Categories: Childcare Daycare

Identifying a Good Daycare Center

When the time comes for mom and dad to both return to work after baby is born, the task of choosing a daycare facility for your child can often seem like a daunting one.

How do you identify good qualities? What are some red flags to watch for? How do I know if a daycare is right for us? These questions and more might be running through the minds of anxious parents before touring a childcare facility. To start, be sure make a list of all the concerns and questions you might have, just to make sure no important topics are missed.

With that in mind, here are some important factors to take into consideration when choosing a daycare facility for your child, according to

  1. Get recommendations from people you trust who hold the same values. If you value structure and a planned-out daily schedule, find parents who hold these same standards in high regard and talk to them about the best options in the area.
  1. Look for definite signs of a well-thought-out, organized schedule. A posting of lesson plans, bulletin boards with recent artwork completed by children, parent newsletters — these are all positive signs.
  2. Know your priorities and be realistic about about smaller details. If a certain teacher doesn’t click with your child, this can be a deal-breaker. But if the snacks offered aren’t the best, and you have the option of bringing your own, this could be worked around. Keep in mind that no daycare facility is perfect, but never settle in an area that is very important to you and your family.
  3. Look for low staff-to-child ratios. The less children per adult caregiver, the more one-on-one time your child is likely to get. Overburdened caregivers can’t meet the needs of children as quickly or fully, and this could compromise both a child’s safety and his learning experience.
  4. Low turnover in caregivers. A daycare facility that tends to keep caregivers for long periods of time is definitely a good sign. This shows that they are valued, and it also allows children to develop trusting and positive relationships, which promotes a positive learning environment.
  5. Trust your gut. If you’re having difficulty deciding between two or more facilities, listen to your instincts. And, if something just feels “off” about a certain daycare, do some more digging and go with your gut instinct.

For even more tips on choosing the best daycare facility, check out this helpful list from Parents.

Michelle Stein

Michelle Stein is a journalist who lives in the Midwest with 3 kids. After quitting her newspaper reporting job more than a year ago, she now works from home as a freelance writer.

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