Choose a provider who is licensed by the state. All staff is certified in child CPR and first aid, and will have gone through background checks.
The provider you choose should have an open-door approach for parents that allows you to come and go and see your child any time you want. While it is understandable that a provider does not want parents visiting during quiet-time, or naptime.
Ask what the adult to child ratio is. Usually this depends on the ages of the children in the provider’s care and the amount of space allocated for the children’s use.
When you visit a daycare, keep an eye out for the cleanliness of the facility. You cannot expect it to be sterile, but you can expect them to have standards for hand washing and toileting/diaper changing.
Ask your prospective daycare provider what a typical day looks like. Do they have a daily schedule that is well rounded? Do they include time for specific lessons and reading? Do the children spend time outside every day, when the weather permits? What kind of exercise do they get if the children cannot go outside? Do they have scheduled quiet time, and yes, even some television time?
While the schedule of activities is important, it is equally important for the daycare to have a wide variety of age-appropriate toys and games, and that they are kept separate.
Your child will soon be eating table-food, so you want to make sure the daycare provider serves a wide variety of nutritional foods. Your provider should have menus available for you to look at. This way you will know that every day there will be something your child likes. Don’t forget to talk to the provider about any food allergies or sensitivities your child may have.
Good daycare providers will have a written policy that covers just about every issue that can come up. From their emergency procedures, and what happens if a child is sick, to their discipline policy and when a parent will be called.
A contractual agreement for daycare charges is an important component in choosing a provider. With a signed contract, there will be no question as to how much you will pay per hour or per day, what the pay schedule is, or how to handle vacation and sick time.
Always remember that your comfort with the Head of the Daycare, the Staff and the surroundings are the most important item to consider. If you are not comfortable with everything you have heard and see, then you might consider another choice.