Finding good child carers can be a challenge for any parent, but knowing what to look for in advance can make the process easier. When you are ready to choose a child care centre for your child, note a few details that are easy to overlook, but which can make a tremendous difference in how happy you are with that care.
Your child's personality
Your child may not have the final say in their care, but this doesn't mean you want to overlook their own personality. For example, if your child is very active and has a hard time sitting still, you want a care facility that has a large outdoor area or playroom that can accommodate all their energy. While you want the staff of any childcare facility to pay attention to your child, if he or she is quiet and shy around grownups, they may not feel comfortable in a facility with only a few other children, where they actually get too much attention. Consider how your child would feel in any facility before making a decision, so he or she is always comfortable when left there.
It's good to visit a childcare facility when there are other children present, and note their behaviour and overall attitude. Do they seem happy and can you hear them laughing, or do they seem dejected and overly quiet? If children are too quiet, they may be afraid of making noise, or may not be stimulated enough with directed activities. Choose a centre where other children appear happy, as this may indicate that your child is also more likely to be happy when at the facility.
A childcare facility of any sort should be very secure; one with a large outdoor area should have a large fence so that no children leave the yard, and so that no one can easily climb that fence. Staff should be easy to recognize, either by uniforms or, preferably, name badges with their photo. If you see other adults in the facility without identification, ask who they are! Chances are it's just another set of parents, but if the staff doesn't know who they are, this signals a problem with an unsecured facility. Also, while the building must have a sufficient number of fire exits, there should be very few entryways that allow access to the building itself, to reduce the risk of someone making their way into the facility unannounced.