7 Things to Think About When Choosing a Daycare Provider

IMG_2810Choosing the right daycare is one of the most difficult things a mother can do. Trying to find someone that will love your child and treat them the way you want them to be treated is no easy feat. Here are some things to keep in mind and questions to ask, when you’re visiting different daycares and in-home providers.

  1. Take a close look at the surroundings, especially with an in-home daycare. Are the carpets clean, are things picked up, do both the inside and the outside look well maintained?
  2. Make sure you can stop by, unannounced, whenever you want. If you need to call ahead or are not let in and asked to stay at the door while they get your child ready for you, that should be a red flag.
  3. Ask about who takes the place of the primary provider when they are sick. What kind of experience or training do they have with children? Make an effort to meet all of the staff that will be working with your child and make sure you feel comfortable leaving your child with any one of them.
  4. If you live in a place with frequent bad weather, such as tornados, make sure you see where your child would be in case of an emergency. Ask about their emergency preparedness plan, including fire drills, and how often they practice for them. Children should be familiar with what’s going to happen and practice regularly.
  5. Get a copy of their schedule and ask about the activities they participate in. Do they read books? Do they watch TV? If a provider tells you they do yoga, exercise, or Spanish lessons with your child, make sure that doesn’t mean they just put on a DVD.
  6. Take a look at what kinds of things they have in the classroom, if there are enough bouncers, rockers and chairs with straps for every child, that might be an indication that they won’t be spending much time moving around. A good daycare will encourage your child to move around on their own with plenty of time to practice gross motor skills.
  7. If your child is spending long hours at daycare, it is important to find a place that will take them outside and that has a good outdoor area to play in, with grass and outdoor activities to keep them engaged.

At the end of the day you have to follow your gut. No matter how perfect a place looks on paper if it doesn’t feel right you have to keep looking until you find a place you can feel confident leaving your child.

Jacqueline Banks is a certified Holistic Health Counselor focused on nutrition and green living strategies. She works with women in all stages of motherhood, from mothers struggling with conception, through pregnancy, lactation and beyond to ensure the best health and nutrition for both mother and baby. Visit her blog and website at JacquelineBanks.com

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