Choosing a day-care provider: Your checklist


Important things to observe:

  • Is the center/home well maintained? Are there paint chips from walls or windowsills?


  • How clean is the house? (Toys on the floor are acceptable, but avoid unusually messy and disorganized environments.)


  • Babyproofing: Is the furniture safe? Are sharp edges covered? Are electrical outlets covered? If there are stairs, are safety gates used? Are cabinets in the bathroom and kitchen locked? Are bathroom doors kept shut?


  • Are children in high chairs strapped in?


  • Does each child get his or her own bedding? Are sheets used in all cribs? Are doors to napping areas left open, or will a monitor be used?


  • Is the day care well lighted and cheerful?


  • Is the center/home a comfortable temperature?


  • Does the center/home have a yard with some shade?


  • Is the provider energetic, patient and calm around the children?


  • How does the provider interact with your child?


  • Are you happy with the number of children in the day care?


  • How do the children interact with one another?


  • How do the children interact with the provider?


  • Are the children happy and respectful of rules, or do they seem uncontrollable or unusually detached from activities?


  • Do you see infants that are awake and in a playpen or an infant swing for longer than a few minutes?


  • Are toys developmentally and age-appropriate?


  • Does the home/center avoid small toy parts?


  • Does the caregiver provide books for children?


  • Is there evidence of children's art projects? Is music played during the day?


  • Paying attention to all clues, would you say the caregiver has a parenting philosophy similar to yours?


  • Explain your vision of the ideal caregiving/caregiver situation. Observe the response.


  • Does the caregiver speak fluent English? Is this important to you?


  • How would you describe the environment: happy, calm, hectic, organized or messy? Is this a positive environment for your child?
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