10 Things to Look for in a Daycare Provider

September 29, 2020

Leaving your child or children in the hands of someone else is hard. So, you want to make sure you choose the right daycare provider, who will keep your children safe and treat them as their own. There are so many choices in daycare providers, but there are certain things to look for in a provider that will put your mind at ease.

Here are 10 things to look for.

  1. Pricing

    How much a daycare provider costs is essential when choosing the right one for you and your family. You want to make sure it’s one you can afford, and has the best options for your children. Upfront can help you do the legwork with finding daycares in your price point!

    When thinking about pricing, you should make sure you know what’s included. For example, does the fee include things such as food and diapers or do you need to provide them? Is it a monthly fee? Is it a weekly fee? How many hours a day does it cover? Are there any extra fees for safety equipment or cleaning? Make sure to understand exactly what you will be paying for and make sure to check if you have to sign a contract.
  2. Hours & Location

    When looking for a daycare provider, you’ll want to choose one that has convenient hours, as well as one that is close to your home or workplace.The hours and the location should work for you.Are they open late? What time do they open? You want to give yourself enough time to not only get to work on time, but to be able to pick up your child before the daycare closes. If a daycare provider is only open from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., and you work 8 a.m.-5 p.m., it might not be the right place for you.

    You also want to make sure the daycare provider is easy to get to as far as location. You don’t want to feel rushed to get across town and pick up your child. Find a location that is near both your home and workplace. After a long day at work, you won’t want to be commuting out of your way.
  1. How are children cared for?

    One of the most important considerations for parents is understanding how a daycare will care for their children. You should understand how many children are accepted into the daycare provider and how care is set up. Are kids split up by age? Will they be split up into different groups?  Will the daycare provider follow any schedules you have set for them? For younger children or babies, will the daycare follow any feeding or sleeping schedules you have at home? 
  1. Education Style

    While your children are at a daycare, you might want them to do more than just play and nap. Finding out the education style of a daycare is important.Will children be in more of a classroom setting? Or will they have more freedom to learn on their own? Some daycares offer more real-life experience lessons, while others are based on imagination. Figuring out what is best for your child, will help you decide which type of education style is best.
  1. Licensing & Background Checks

    It’s important to ask about the licensing of the daycare, as well as the education and qualifications of the staff. In addition, you should be asking about background checks of all employees. This should include the staff interacting with your child, as well as the janitors. Anyone who might be around your child, should be taken into consideration when choosing a daycare provider.
  1. Inclement Weather Policy & Emergencies

    What happens if it snows? What if there is an emergency at the daycare? You should find out the daycare provider’s inclement weather policy. Will it follow schools in the area as far as closing? How far in advance will you know if the daycare needs to close? In addition, you should find out if there are emergency procedures in place, such as fires or flooding.
  1. What sort of activities are provided?

    Some daycare providers offer learning experiences, while others simply offer activities to keep your children entertained throughout the day. You should figure out what you are looking for your children, and choose a daycare that provides those services.

    You should also find out if there is a playground. If so, how often do they let children play outside?
  2. First Aid & Sick Policy

    While you never want to hear that your child is sick or injured, especially if you’re not around, you do want to make sure there are qualified staff members at a daycare provider. You should ask if staff members are certified in pediatric first aid, and if they will be at the facility at all times.

    Also find out if  staff members know how to handle an allergic reaction, as well as how are injuries handled. Will you be called immediately if your child is sick or injured? Will you need to pick them up right away? In addition, you should find out the daycare provider’s sick policy. Are there certain symptoms that your child is showing that would require you to keep him or her home for the day?
  1. Safety & Cleaning Procedures

    While every daycare provider should be clean and safe for your children, you should still ask about what measures it will be taking to keep your little ones safe. How often are toys and mats cleaned? Will hand sanitizer be available any at time? Will staff members wash their hands frequently? Will they wear gloves when changing diapers?

    If there is a playground or jungle gym, how many children are allowed on them at a time? Is an adult always present?

    It’s important when looking for things in a daycare provider to know exactly what the safety and cleaning procedures are.
  1. Warm & Inviting

    Lastly, before you pick a daycare provider, you should find out if you can visit while children are there. Bring your child and watch how they act inside. Are the children at the daycare having fun? Do the staff members look like they enjoy working with the children? Does this daycare look like a place where your child will fit in? Is the staff warm and inviting toward your child? 

Bonus – Food

If food is served at the daycare, how is it prepared? Does it account for food allergies? How many meals are served a day? Is there a set menu? Will you get to choose the food your child eats? What about snacks?

If food is not served, you should find out if you need to send food in with your child. If so, get a list of foods you can and can not pack, such as peanuts.

Ultimately, you want to choose a daycare that you believe will be the right fit for your child. After all, they will be spending time away from you, and they, as well as you, should feel as comfortable there as they are at home.

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