When it comes to choosing childcare options for working parents, it can be difficult to find choices that are both affordable and high quality. While some employers offer corporate childcare solutions, such as onsite or subsidized corporate daycare, many other parents are left to consider a variety of in home daycares and child care centers, hoping to find an ideal fit. If you are currently, in the process of finding a daycare, use this “choosing a daycare checklist” to help you make the right decision.
Choosing a Daycare Checklist
- Start Early–Whether you have a newborn or a toddler, it is important to start looking at different childcare centers in your area as soon as possible to prepare for unforeseen obstacles and give yourself time to make a choice. Begin by thinking by what you want from a daycare provider: are you interested in a private center, an in home daycare, or another option? Also consider how far you are willing to drive from your home and work to get to your child’s daycare; a facility should be easily reached in an emergency.
- Make a Few Calls–Once you have set a radius, call your area’s Child Care Resource and Referral agency, or CCRandR. This agency will be able to explain the licensing requirements for daycare centers in your area, how to get information on a facility’s background, and give you information on financial assistance and subsidized programs. You should also read online reviews and talk to other parents to find well-reputed businesses you can trust.
- Visit and Ask Questions–Once you have found a few options, call to schedule a tour and discuss enrolling your child. On the tour, however, you should not only be looking for signs of safety and quality, care, but also asking questions about the facility. How many children are there for each adult? How many children are in each group? What are the caregivers’ training and qualifications? How long have the employees been working at the center? Is the center accredited by a national childcare organization? You should also discuss the center’s rates to make sure it fits in your budget.
- Make a Decision–After visiting several centers, consider your options. Is there a center that seems to offer great childcare, is near your home or work, and you can afford? Choose accordingly.
- Stay Involved–Your work isn’t over when you choose a center: as a parent, it is your responsibility to make sure that your child is getting the best care possible, even when they are under another’s supervision. Volunteer to help with holiday celebrations, offer to read books or participate in class trips. If you are pressed for time, at least meet with the daycare for regular parent-caregiver discussions or talk with the staff at drop-off and pick-up times. This will show the center that you are invested in your child’s health, happiness and success.
Have you used steps from our “choosing a daycare checklist” in the past? Have you been successful finding quality daycare centers in the past? Tell us about it in the comments below!