Choosing a daycare can be both overwhelming and scary. Whether you’re considering a care facility that a friend swears by or flipping through the yellow pages, it’s important to be well informed and highly involved with your selection process. When shopping for a new daycare, here are some of the most beneficial questions to ask:
Is the daycare licensed?
While most states do require childcare providers to fulfill licensing and background checks, not all do. Make sure that, whether the facility is located in a personal home or its own building, the caretaker is properly certified to watch your child. Do they have CPR training? How often must they pass inspections? Before committing to a daycare, contact your state’s childcare licensing resource to make sure it’s certified. Many states even have online tools that allow parents to search for certifications.
How long has the company been in business and how long have each of the caregivers been with the company?
Lower turnover rates generally mean a happy, expert-filled environment.
What is the adult to child ratio?
You want your child to be getting as much one-on-one time as possible. Not only does specialized attention keep your little one busy and engaged, but more adults means more safety. Here is the recommended adult to child ratios, based on children’s ages:
How big is the group size and what are the ages of the other children?
Generally, the smaller the group, the better because it means more attention for each child. After age two, it’s also important for your little one to be around other children his or her age. Because toddlers start socializing around this age, it’s valuable to set them in an environment where they’ll be around other tots at a similar level.
Do you get a good feeling from the center and staff?
Go with you gut. Visit the daycare in person so that you can meet the workers, see what the space looks like and check out the kind of activities the other children are participating in. If the facility looks good on paper and passes all of the questions above, but you still don’t feel completely comfortable committing, it’s probably not a good fit. Keep comparing your options.