Separating high-quality daycares from mediocre ones can feel like a daunting task for parents, especially with all of the options that are out there. To help you narrow things down, here are 5 signs you can be on the lookout for in your search.
1. High-quality daycares are professional and organized.
They say first impressions are everything. While this may not always be true, it is pretty important when it comes to childcare facilities. Whether you’re speaking on the phone with the office or walking through the front door for a tour, a daycare facility should appear put together. Staff should be able to answer your questions with ease and provide you with all of the information upfront that you need to make your decision. The offices and classrooms should be clean and organized. And teachers should never appear to be frazzled or overwhelmed. After all, if they can’t keep track of the basics, how can they be expected to care for your child?
2. High-quality daycares prioritize safety.
We can’t say it enough: a solid childcare facility makes your child’s safety their number one concern. Look at everything from child-to-teacher ratios to snack-time protocols to pick-up procedures. Each of these are critical components to ask questions about and take into consideration as you make your choice.
- Child-to-teacher ratios: Having an appropriate child-to-teacher ratio is critical for safety purposes. If a teacher is looking after too many kids, they aren’t going to give YOUR child the time and attention they deserve.
- Snack-time protocols: If your child has allergies, they need to be at a daycare that has systems in place to keep track of every child’s allergy and ensure that no child gets served something they are allergic to.
- Pick-up procedures: Sadly, we live in a world where child predators exist. You want to send your child to a childcare facility that takes that seriously and has strict pick-up rules in place that ensure your child is only picked up by a pre-determined, trustworthy caretaker.
3. High-quality daycares abide by local regulations.
If you are going to entrust someone with your child, it’s important that they understand and abide by the regulations of your state. According to the Alabama Department of Human Resources,
“All centers that require a license must be licensed by the Department of Human Resources and renewed every two years. The Department of Human Resources prescribes and enforces performance standards for licensing approval….Every licensed center must be in compliance with licensing regulations as prescribed by the State Department of Human Resources.”DHR.COM
When you’re considering a childcare facility for your child, make sure they have the licenses required of them and are following whatever rules apply to their facility.
4. High-quality daycares prepare your child for school while still allowing them time to play.
Albert Einstein once said, “Play is the highest form of research.” A high-quality daycare gives your child plenty of learning opportunities while still allowing them ample time to play. Your child has years of school ahead of them. Toddlerhood, preschool, and even kindergarten (to some degree) ought to be primarily a time of learning through play! Daycare is a great place for your child to learn practical life skills such as following directions and sharing, but it should also be a place where your child can have FUN!
5. High-quality daycares are kid-approved.
As you weigh the pros and cons of the childcare options in your area, be sure to include your child in the process. Every kid is different and has different needs. Parents ultimately know what is best, but kids can oftentimes pick up on things that we as adults do not. So ask your child what kinds of things are important to them in daycare. Bring them along on tours. Pay attention to how they respond to daycare staff, and how comfortable (or uncomfortable) they are in the environment.