Allowing someone else to care for your child can be a difficult decision to make. Determining who should care for them can be even more challenging. After all, you want to be sure you are getting someone loving, trustworthy, and reliable. So how do you choose the best childcare for your family? Here is a list of things to consider.
As you weigh your options for childcare, it can be helpful to start with reviews. Parents may share their experience on Google, in local forums, or even on the provider’s social media page. Generally, reviews indicate whether or not the organization provides quality childcare or, vice versa, low-quality childcare. Finding out what other parents think of the childcare provider gives you a good idea of their current reputation in the community and decide whether or not they are even worth considering.
Ask local friends for their recommendations
One of the most reliable ways to find good childcare is to ask friends who live in your area where they send their children! Consult like-minded parents who share the same values and priorities as your family. They have no doubt already done a lot of research you would do, so it will save you time and energy. At the very least, getting their input might help you narrow your search so that you can compare and contrast 2 or 3 establishments instead of starting from scratch.
Make a pro/con list
Speaking of comparing and contrasting, a pro/con list can be an extremely beneficial tool to help you choose the best childcare for your family. As you make phone calls and read reviews, you can list the information you gather in either a pro or con category for each provider. Once you’ve finished searching, you can analyze the lists and clearly see which providers stand out based on how many pros versus cons they have.
Tour the establishments you’re considering
It may be challenging to determine which is the best childcare for your family based on phone calls, internet searches, and reviews alone. In order to get the complete picture and make the best decision, schedule a tour of the childcare facilities you’re considering. A tour allows you to see for yourself exactly how the caregivers interact with the children, understand what a typical day looks like, and allows you to speak to the staff in person. This is a great time to ask some questions, too!
Ask good questions
Asking a lot of good questions can help you determine whether or not a childcare provider is a good fit for your family because you can ask about what is important to you. If you’re unsure what to ask, PureWow’s Emma Singer says your questions should include:
PureWow.com, “25 Questions to Ask Daycare Providers Before You Sign Your Kid Up” by Emma Singer
- How has the staff been vetted?
- What is your approach to discipline?
- What is the daily schedule like?
- What’s the caretaker-to-child ratio?
- How do you comfort kids who are upset?
- Do the children get time outside?
- Do you provide any educational curriculum?
- What protocol do you follow when a child is sick or injured?
- Does the staff provide potty training support?
- What is your visitation policy?
- Are the toys regularly cleaned and sanitized?
- How do you handle naps?
- Does the facility have functioning cameras?
- How do you deal with conflicts between peers?
Remember, if you forget to ask some questions on the tour, you can always follow up and call the establishment for further information. A good childcare provider doesn’t mind the questions and can easily answer anything you ask them.