by Jessica McCune

How does one go about picking the best day care for their child? There are so many day cares to choose from in most cities. The first and seemingly best place to start is with recommendations from friends. Then go and visit the facilities that interest you based on those recommendations. Always keep in mind that the most expensive day cares may not always be the best ones. To place your child successfully in a day care is dependent on four things: the staff responsible for your child, the activities made available to your child, the atmosphere in general at the facility, and the actual environment.

Firstly, let’s discuss the staff. A well-trained, enthusiastic and friendly staff that displays genuine interest in your child is very important. Here are some questions you may want to ask to or about the staff:

  • What are the qualifications and training of the staff members?
  • Will the staff members record your child’s activities and achievements for you?
  • How does the staff handle difficult behavior?

Stimulating activities, as well as toys and equipment, should be offered and available for your child while they are at day care. You may want to ask the following questions regarding activities:

  • Is the child able to choose some of their own activities or are activities planned out each day?
  • What kinds of food and drinks will be offered?
  • Will your child be able to play outside?
  • Does the day care offer field trips

The time your child spends at day care should revolve around learning through fun. Think about the following when visiting day cares:

  • Do the staff and children seem happy to be there?
  • Do you feel welcomed?
  • How well do the staff listen to and answer any questions you have?
  • How does your child react to the day care?

Make sure to take note of the state of the building itself the day care is in. It should be clean and safe. Your child should be able to play and explore with no major hazards. The location, security and access are also important. If the day care is all day, it is regulated so make sure you ask for a copy of their most recent inspection report.

Above all, how your child as an individual fits in with a day care in particular is the most important thing. Make sure you pay close attention to how your child is feeling about their time at whatever day care you choose.

Information taken from "Ask an Expert" by Dr. Claire Halsey