Daycare For Your Children Near You

Finding a daycare for your sweet child or children can be daunting. Entrusting the care of your children to someone you don’t know is scary, especially if you are new to an area and don’t know anyone. You want your kids to be happy, but let’s be honest… not too happy that they don’t want to leave at the end of the day. Maybe that is just something I selfishly want.

Before you go looking for a daycare, ask yourself a few key questions to help determine what kind of center or place you are looking for.

  • Do you want a strict place that has a curriculum and set activities throughout the day, or do you want a place that just watches out for your child’s safety?
  • Do you prefer a large daycare facility with a policy manual, regulations, and rules, or does a smaller place with a more quaint and personal touch appeal to your liking?
  • Is cost important to you? Are you one of those that thinks the higher the price, the better care you are getting? Or do you need to watch your budget? Is one parent working only to pay the cost of daycare? This may seem like a funny question, but there is some truth to it. If you ar a teacher in Idaho, chances are, you are earning just enough to cover daycare costs — not because daycares are outrageously expensive, but because teachers in Idaho are very much underpaid.
  • Are you looking for an actual daycare center, or are you comfortable with an in-home babysitter? As a child, I had a very bad experience for the 2 weeks my mom sent me to a daycare. It was one of those memories that has stuck with me, so I am one that prefers an in-home caregiver. I wasn’t looking for a curriculum for my toddler. I just wanted to be sure that my child was looked after, happy, and fed properly.
  • Once you have answered these questions for yourself, your search for daycares can begin. If you have friends that have children in daycare, obviously their recommendations are the first place you should start. Word of mouth is important and personal recommendations are always the best. If you don’t know anyone in the area and you still want the recommendations, look online. Most daycare centers will have a website and once you narrow your search down to the top choices, call each one and ask if they can give you a few referrals. You should also be able to find reviews online for a lot of daycare centers. Another possible way to look for a daycare is to call local churches to see if they can recommend a good one, or see if they have any parents willing to discuss daycare options with you.

    Daycare Questions To Consider

    Here are a few things to check when you are looking at daycares:

  • Is the facility or home clean? Is there a smell in the air? Nothing irritates me more than the smell of stale old dirty diapers. When I have been in daycare centers, this has been a common smell. This was a huge deterrent to me.
  • Part of cleanliness is the state of the toys. Mangy toys are signs that a routine of cleaning toys is not on the top of the list. Also, over disinfecting toys can leave a smell of bleach in the air, which isn’t always appealing either.
  • What are the sleeping arrangements for naps? Is the bedding washed on a daily basis? Do kids have to share, and if so, do they each have their own bedding? They should.
  • What are the security features? If you are a safety nut, then perhaps you are looking for a facility that has a strict check-in/check-out process. If you are more relaxed, perhaps all you really need to know is that there are secure doors and supervision is adequate.
  • Is there a play area outside? I am one that likes to have my kids enjoy the great outdoors in nice weather. I am also a firm believer in grass and despise sand boxes. I don’t like rocks for play areas or cement only. Kids need to be able to fall down, get grass stains, and roll around without getting terribly dirty—but a little dirt never hurt anyone.
  • If your child has allergies, it is important to get a feeling for how careful the staff is. Some facilities really make an effort to eliminate all allergens, and others seem to be annoyed at the thought of catering to those with allergies.
  • One thing that most people do not take into consideration when they are choosing a daycare is the attendance. Be sure to ask what their policy is. For example: if you know you are only going to need a daycare 2-3 times a week, find out if you pay-per-day, or if there is a flat fee whether your child is there or not. This is particularly important if your schedule or needs are sporadic and you are not using the daycare on a routine basis. Sometimes there will be added fees for late pick-up or early drop-off. Be sure you are aware of these before you commit to a center.
  • Ask about the number of children vs. the number of staff. You need to decide if it is an adequate ratio for your children.
  • If you are choosing an in-home babysitter, one thing to note is how often a TV is on. Sometimes it is a non-issue and there isn’t one available, but sometimes it is the focal point of the main living space.
  • Also, if you are looking at an in-home service, how much does child-proofing mean to you? Personally, I didn’t look for much child-proofing. I went in with the impression that my child would be supervised. I also understand that accidents can happen and sometimes that is where more learning happens. For example: I don’t want my child to get his or her finger slammed in a cabinet door, but if it happens, perhaps they will learn not to do it again.
  • How involved do you want the staff to be with your child’s play? There should be a plethora of age-appropriate activities, and there should be interaction, but letting children lead the play and play by themselves is good for their development.
  • What are the ages of the daycare center? If it is a center, and there are all ages from infant to 12 years old, are there different areas for different ages? If so, and there are siblings, do they get to see each other at all? How strict are those rules and areas?
  • Decide for yourself if the training of the staff is crucial to you. What I mean is that is it important for you that they have an early childhood development degree? If it is a facility you are looking at, then licensing should be important. If you are looking at an in-home place, licensing may not be as important to you, but then again, maybe it is.
  • There are so many things to consider when you are looking into childcare for your children. Most importantly, you need to feel comfortable with the overall feeling of the environment and the staff. It is challenging sometimes, but arming yourself with a list of questions to ask can alleviate some of the concerns and anxieties you may have.

    Published: August 1, 2016

    By: Phillip Gilliam