The following list will help you know what to look for when seeking child care.

Basics

  • Is the facility licensed?
  • Is it close to work or home?
  • Do the days and hours of operation fit my schedule?
  • What is the child-to-provider ratio?
  • How much does it cost?
  • Can I afford it?

 

Setting

  • Is it safe? No sharp edges, no staircases without railings?
  • Are objects small enough to be swallowed kept out of reach?
  • Is there a first aid kit available?
  • Is a fire extinguisher available?
  • Are emergency numbers posted?
  • Is it clean? Toys and books may be out of place - after all, children play here - but it shouldn't be dirty.
  • Is it attractive?
  • Is this a place in which my child will feel comfortable?
  • Is there space for both active and quiet play?
  • Is there ample space for infants and toddlers to crawl, climb and play?
  • Is there enough heat, light, and ventilation?
  • Is there a safe outdoor play area?
  • Will my child feel safe here?
  • Do I feel that my child will be safe here?

 

Provider

  • Is the provider warm, friendly, and supportive?
  • Does the provider seem to know and respond to each child as an individual?
  • Does the provider share my feelings about what is important for children?
  • What are the rules?
  • How are children disciplined?
  • What are the provider's qualifications?
  • How long has the provider been at this location?
  • Is the person I select to care for my child the one who will spend time with my child?

 

Group Size

  • Will my child get enough attention?
  • Will my child be comfortable in this size group?
  • How many caregivers will work with my child's group?

 

Activities

  • Will the activities allow my child to develop bonds with the adults and children?
  • Will my child learn new skills?
  • Will my child play indoors and outdoors?
  • Will there be variety in my child's day?
  • What is the daily routine? Does it provide for: Healthy snacks or meals? Naps or rest time? Trips or special activities? Artistic expression? Reading and storytelling?
  • Are infants and toddlers held, talked with and played with?

 

Parental Involvement

  • Are providers available for daily chats with parents?
  • Do the providers encourage parents to visit the program?
  • Does the home or center provide time for parent meetings?
  • Does the home or center have information on child development available?
  • Do providers offer daily reports on infants' and toddlers' eating, napping, diaper schedule and any medication?
  • Does the home or center distribute written policies?

 

Take time to think of other questions you want to ask, or items you want to look for. Consider things that are specific to your family and your child. It is important for you to feel comfortable with the child care you have chosen and the more answers you have the better you will feel.