Finding the Right Daycare

Whether you are going back to work or a stay at home parent that just needs a few hours to yourself, you may find yourself looking for some sort of childcare.  It has recently come to my attention that there are many that do not know what to look for when choosing childcare so here is my list of top things to look for and think about when touring potential daycares.

When choosing a daycare

  • How secure is the facility?
    • When touring potential daycares pay attention to how easily you can access the building.  At Omari’s daycare the parents need a key fob to access the building and you also have to use the key fob to to go past the lobby where the classrooms are.
    • When you tour also pay attention to if they ask for ID.  I toured a few daycares and to my surprise some did not ask for ID when we went to the classrooms. (IDK that gave me an extra sense of security LOL)
  • Teacher to Student Ratio
    • Beware of “cattle heard” daycares that just throw a bunch of kids into a room and take as many children as possible.
    • Beware of daycares that have children of multiple ages in the same room.  You do not want your 5 month old in the same room as a 2 year old.
    • Look for daycares that have 1 teacher for every 4 children, if you can find less even better but that ratio is pretty good. (Ratios may vary based on the age of the child; my ratio above is for infants)
      • At Omari’s daycare there are currently 4 children in the class and the class maxes out at 8.
  • Curriculum
    • Think about what they will be doing with your child besides just “watching them”
    • Do they teach the children sign language? Many reputable daycares do this and start in the infant stages
    • At our daycare they actually give you the curriculum they are working on all month at the beginning so you will know what to expect.  My son is still an infant so I do not know what the other children have but I can give examples of the infant curriculum)
      • They have a sign they focus on each month (ex. the signs for hungry or sleepy)
      • They work with the babies on sitting up, grasping, clapping, crawling, different fine motor skills, etc
      • They do finger painting and different art activities (yes even babies)
      • Each month has a theme they focus on like traveling, reading, plants, fruits, etc
        • For each monthly theme they focus on certain books they read, a color of the month, a shape of the month, etc.
  • Cleanliness
    • What are their protocols on cleaning?
      • How often to they wash the toys and mats in the rooms
      • How often do they wash the sheets in the cribs? (this is for infants)
    • Was there a smell when you walked in?
      • Personally I feel like if it stinks when you walk in, its a NO Lol
    • In the infant room or toddler room do they require you to remove your shoes?
  • Cameras
    • Oh yes, someone needs to be able to watch the people who are watching your children
    • Some daycares have cameras that you can access from your phone to keep an eye on your child throughout the day
    • Some daycares have cameras that you cannot access from your phone but stream to monitors in the lobby of the facility to be looked at by parents coming in and out and the daycare directors.
    • In my opinion there needs to be some type of camera somewhere so there is footage if anything go wrong.
  • “There’s an app for that”
    • Does the daycare offer any kind of way for them to communicate your child’s daily activities with you?
    • The app we have is called “Show and Tell”
      • On this app they send you pictures of your child doing activities like finger painting, tummy time, outside stroller time, and also pictures of any developmental milestones you may be missing like grasping, clapping, crawling, pulling up, etc.IMG_7652
      • They also send every feeding, how much they ate, every diaper, what was in the diaper, and every time they fall asleep and wake up
      • Some daycares may offer a written log at the end of the day, but I believe the app is better.
  • Get reviews
    • Many daycares have reviews online you can look through
    • I would also ask parents at the daycare you are touring if you can catch a parent that is not in a rush.
      • When I toured our current daycare and asked a dad what he thought while he was picking up his daughter, his enthusiasm and what he had to say about the facility and teachers really played a part in my choice to choose that daycare.
  • Sleep protocols
    • I almost forgot this one! But a recent article about a child dying under a blanket at a home daycare made me remember.
    • What are their rules on sleep for babies?
      • Babies should always be placed to sleep on their backs until they can roll over
      • They should not allow blankets, pillows, or toys in the cribs
      • When your child is able to roll over there should be some indication on their crib to let the staff know…. after this the child can be placed to sleep on their stomach.
  • What are their rules about food?
    • Do they allow food with nuts?
    • Do they send all food not eaten and food containers back home at the end of the day?
      • They should…
    • Do they require the food you bring to be labeled and dated?
      • Trust me, its a chore but you want this
    • Do they allow food from parents to be served to the whole class?
      • This is kinda a no-no when children are young unless you know all allergies of children in the class
      • also food served to the whole class should be store bought, nothing home made.

**It should be noted that I do not recommend a home daycare because they do not seem to be regulated like regular daycares are.  Most good daycares have rules they have to follow in regards to feedings, diaper changes, etc and corporate people who drop in to make sure those rules are being followed.

Remember these are not rules to follow just some things to think about when finding a daycare and I hope it helps!



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