Daycare – Ask Questions Before Selecting Child Care Center

The care a child receives is a vital element in health and development. If parents work outside of the home, it is extremely important to find high quality daycare. There are many factors to consider in selecting the right childcare. Get answers to these questions before making any decisions.

– Type of facility – What type of daycare are you seeking: care in your own home, care at the home of a childcare provider, or care at a center? Determine the pros and cons of each and make a decision based on your family’s specific needs.

– Location – Is your child far from home or work? Can you get there quickly in case of an emergency?

– Licensing – Is the provider licensed with the appropriate government agency? Were there any past violations?

– Visiting – Can you visit your child any time of the day?

– Experience/training – What kind of experience and/or training does the provider have?

– Staffing – Is the adult/child ratio appropriate according to the nationally recognized standards?

– Program – Is there a daily schedule? Are children involved in activities that are age-appropriate? Are there learning activities? Is there time for reading and talking, rest, snacks and meals? Is the food nutritious and suitable for the age groups?

– Rest/Sleep – Is there a sleeping or quiet area large enough with at least 3 feet of space between each child? Are there cribs, cots or mats to sleep on and do children stay in view of the staff?

– Play – Are there enough safe toys within easy reach of the children? Are toys that infants or children put in their mouths sanitized before used by another child? Is the outside play area and equipment well maintained and working properly? Is the area fenced?

– Illness/Injury – What is the policy for sick children? What procedures are in place if your child is injured?

– References – Ask for references and check them.

If your child is new to daycare, there may be an adjustment period before he or she feels comfortable in the new surroundings. It may be helpful to introduce your child slowly by leaving him or her for short periods of time at first, rather than an entire day. If your child is old enough to understand, talk about what they will experience. Be positive and encouraging. Allow your child to take a favorite toy, picture, or other reminder of home for comfort. High quality daycare can help promote a child’s physical, social and mental development. As a parent, the quality of care your child receives is your responsibility. If you have questions or need advice about the type of care your child requires, talk to your family physician. Finally, if you ever suspect a problem or feel the health or safety of your child is in danger, remove your immediately. No one knows your child better than you. Trust your instincts.