What to Look For in Childcare

 

Finding childcare these days can be a daunting task. You want one that will love and take care of your child, but safety is also at the top of your list correct? Would you be surprised to know that half the rated childcares in the area have negative reviews? How well would you have checked?

“I’ve seen some pretty [messed] up things at that daycare”, said a local nanny who after years in the childcare system left to do childcare her way. Kylie’s seen it all. From neglected children to staged walk-throughs with parents. Kids were spanked, bottles propped and the baby walked away from, to babies left in swings all day. “I’ve also seen a [baby] placed in a laundry room while the dryer was going… lights off, door shut.”

Kylie is not the only care provider that has witnessed unfortunate conditions. A simple search on Google of the providers pops up several ratings. A lot are from parents, but a lot also come from those that have worked at the facility. There are reviews such as there’s mold, children are not supervised, neglected medicine, and bad food.

Not all daycares are bad. What about the other half? The ones with the good ratings? How do I find that daycare?  When asked if there were any “steps” to take to find good childcare, Kylie shared her list:

First, tour the facility – Twice. You want to once with an appointment and once without. The without an appointment tour will show you how much of your first visit was staged. Has the provider’s interaction with the children changed? Are there any new projects put up on the walls? You should not only take notice of how the providers are interacting with the children and your child, but also how the children are responding. Pay attention to the little details, like children asking annoying questions, or for things it may not be time for such as drinks. What are the responses to these types of things? Also in-between your tours, take the time to do your research. Type in the daycare on Google and look up their reviews. Look up the daycare at the state’s website. They will provide you with background checks, licensing information, and inspection information. If the facility has passed you will see this. If it has failed, it will show you why it has failed and what the plan is for passing. During the tour ask for every name of every employee to see that they have all had background checks. Just because they aren’t the provider for your child doesn’t meant they can’t take care of your child.

Second, check the safety and procedures. Some daycares make you sign in to come into the building. Some even ask for id every time. Some daycares have security cameras. Meet with the providers that will be working with your children. Also how do they handle the toddler fits that are bound to happen? When will they call you; fever, throwing up are givens, how about if they are throwing a fit, or if your child hits his head? What do they do with broken toys or the ones that go in the mouth? Do you see the policies put in practice? Will they give your child medicine if need be? Find out about the diet your child will be reciving.

Third, cleanliness. Don’t just look at the floors! Check the walls and around the toilets. Lift up the toilet seat. Smell all the rooms. Check the art area out. Look at the condition of the supplies, is the cleaning supplies well used, and the condition of the toys. Ask to go threw their pantry. Check the dates on the food. What does outside look like? Check for weeds, garbage, and the condition of the toys.

Fourth, what is their curriculum? Look at what has been done in the past and what they are planning to do with your child. Do they do preschool, and how is that structured? Check the electronic status of the facility. How many tvs do they have and how much of the day are they on? You send your child to learn and play with other children, not sit in front of a screen all day. Do the kids go outside when it’s nice out? What is there for them to do outside? Are the art supplies available? Is it well used?

 

Fifth, Ask The Kids! The best way to find out if the childcare facility is a good one is to ask the children. Ask your child every day about their care. Ask the other children both before enrollment and after enrollment questions about the place. Simple questions are enough: what did you do today? Do/Did you have fun? Tell me more about that.

Half way through our interview, Kylie had picked up my fussy six-month old and with some funny faces and tickly hands got her happy and content. She says the best part about being a nanny is the individualized attention she can provide for the kids. Her patience showed through when Lora decided that she had to eat Kylie’s shirt, flopping her face repeatedly into her chest to do so. Kylie just smiled and pointed out how Lora was focusing on the different pictures on her shirt, trying to get them. There are good childcare facilities out there. It just takes more research to find them.

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