Are You Choosing the Right Daycare?

If you have children under school age and you lead a busy lifestyle you may be looking for some daycare. This is a momentous decision, and there are so many factors; it can be difficult to know where to start. A fantastic place to start is with a list of questions you should ask prospective daycares, and a knowledge of potential warning signs to be on the lookout for.

The things you should look for are:

1) Facility

Regular maintenance
Outdoor play space available
Safety factors – sharp edges, locks, childproofing
Food preparation area – separate area, food stored properly, clean
Separate rooms – infant, toddler, school-aged Places

2) Food Options

Snacks provided – wholesome, how many, snack foods, menu planning
Parent brought snacks – guidelines for acceptable foods
Healthy meals – food groups, options
Allergy policies – peanut free, milk free, etc.; guidelines

3) Staff

Government certified
Emergency training – CPR, Basic
Licensed – appropriate certifications
Experience levels – number of years, types of communicating, background
Child to staff ratio – 5:1, standardized
Background checks – criminal records
Immunizations – health testing

4) Healthy and Safety

Policies – clearly posted, families and staff aware
Space temperatures – comfortable, no excessive air conditioning or heat
First aid kit – observable, one in every room,
Toys – age appropriate, non-toxic
Hand washing – channels, encouraged and practiced

5) Behavior

Discipline – timeouts, corporal, loss of privileges
Acceptable behavior – definition
Rules – clearly posted, explained to child and family, copy of rules

6) Activities

Outings – playground, field trips, all seasons
Crafts – age-appropriate, structured
Free play – supervised, participated, staff
Nap time – length 30 to 60 minutes
Number of eating occasions – 2 to 4
Length of activities – 30 – 60 minutes, how many

7) Fees

Schedule – monthly, bi-weekly
Late fees – pick up time
Fee changes – written notice

8) Care Emphasis

Educational/preschool type of care
Traditional care (i.e. the child’s basic needs are met, and there is Lots of supervised play)
A larger day care or preschool sort of center is much more likely to send your child home if they are sick.
Traditional daycares (inside an individual’s private home) are more inclined to watch your child even when ill.

9) Qualifications

Background Checked
CPR Certified
First Aid Certified
College educated
Certified teacher
Early Childhood Education credits
Tutor experience
Baby or Newborn experience
Experience with older children
Letters of recommendation, testimonials

10) Warning signs

Staff uneasy around your children
Complaints about the daycare
Evasiveness about certification
Untidiness or dirt
Neglected facilities
A high turnover rate for the daycare staff
A high turnover rate for the households that use the service