How to Find the Right Daycare

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How to Find the Right Daycare

In order to find the best care for your child, your search must start early. You will want to choose the kind of daycare center that will help foster your child's learning, as well as ensure their safety and happiness. Typically, parents start searching a daycare provider at least 2 or 3 months in advance, however, in some areas daycare spaces are harder to find, therefore it would be wise to start your search even a year in advance. Here are some tips to assist you in finding the daycare that is best suited for you and your child. After reading this article you can find daycare centers with reviews right here on our site.

1. Start thinking about what type of childcare you and your child will require. How many hours a day, a week will you need child care? Do you need to find a child care program near your home, work, or school? What type of child care arrangement are you looking for? Are you looking for a commercial or private daycare? Licensed or unlicensed? Nanny or home daycare? Consider the Child Care Cost.

2. Find a minimum of three places to look into. You can begin your searches on advice from friends, neighbours, relatives or co-workers, who have been in similar situations. You may also look in your local telephone book under Child Care or Daycare headings. Community centres, libraries and your local ministry of Children's Services may be able to assist you in your search. You can quickly build your daycare list by searching our childcare providers

3. When you are satisfied with your list, call each of the centres you are considering. Speak to the supervisor; ask questions relevant to your situation. To facilitate matters, it may be wise to have your questions written down. Prior to ending your call, book a visit to the centre

4. After you have spoken to each centre over the phone, visit each centre to learn what happens there on a daily basis. NEVER OMIT THIS VERY IMPORTANT STEP simply because you feel that a phone conversation with the childcare provider had already addressed your conserns. During your visit pay close attention to the following:

  • Physical Environment --- The environment should be clean, inviting and safe for the children to learn and explore.
  • Staff and Child Interactions --- Look at the interactions between the children and staff. A good provider exhibits patience, sensitivity, energy and a fun demeanor.
  • Health and safety -- some things to look for include:
    • the daycare has procedures in case of illness, fire and exidents
    • staff are trained in first aid and CPR for your child's age group
    • daycare has and follows a strict protocol of distributing medication
    • there are policies to manage food allergies
    • cleaning materials and household chemicals are stored out-of-reach of the children
  • Activities --- A variety of age appropriate and stimulating activities should be provided. Look for:
    • group activities - to develop social skills
    • gross motor activities such as dancing, playing outdoors
    • fine motor activities such as drawing, painting, modeling clay, building blocks
    • activities that stimulate the children imagination and language skills such as role-playing, story telling, puppet shows
    • activities that encourage children to think and use logic some examples may include puzzles, card and board games. You can refer to our choosing age appropriate toys article for some ideas on what toys your child should be exposed to in his or her age group
  • Meals --- Are meals cooked onsite or are they catered. Menus should be varied and well balanced, offering a wide range of foods from the food groups. Generally each child is given a hot meal with two snacks, juice and milk is also offered. Breakfast depends on the arrival time of your child.
  • Supplies --- Ask about what the centre provides and what supplies you are required to supply. This may include diapers, wipes, formula, or special foods if the centre cannot accommodate your needs.
Always ask for references and do a background check of a childcare provider before placing your child in someone else's care. Some parents choose to ignore this very important step because they see an advertisement. Well, anyone can place an ad and create great promotional material. Ads alone should never be used as the determining factor when choosing a daycare.

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