Many parents depend on childcare for their children as they navigate demanding careers with busy schedules. Enrollment ranges from full-time to part-time, and even “drop-ins” for families with flexible schedules.

Be particular about requirements for the center that cares for your child as it becomes like a second home to them. They should feel safe and spend most of their time learning and developing. Here are 4 strategies to choose great childcare:

Childcare Near Home

Location, location, location. Choose a childcare facility near your home or work. It’s an added convenience in light of your commute, high-traffic areas, and school bus routes. Do a test drive of your commute to learn how much time you’ll need during different times throughout the day.

Ask Around and Read Childcare Reviews

Researching childcare online may be as easy as 1, 2, 3 as facilities pop up one by one in your search results. Some faith-based childcare sites provide information on their mission, services, and background.

Many facilities provide reviews from previous or existing customers. Read all of these reviews carefully and seek out your own recommendations from family, friends, or neighbors who also have children in care.

Get specific when chatting with other parents you know. Before touring a center, make a list of important questions to ask, including a detailed description of the daily activities.

Childcare Tour

When choosing childcare, visit the actual facility in which your child will receive care. Consider this meeting their “interview.” Assess the cleanliness, energy, and temperament of the staff and children.

What does your gut say to you about their interactions? Does the reading collection resemble the types of books you read to your child? Is there a warm feeling with creative vibes for kids? What type of separate learning spaces do they provide? How often are the play areas cleaned? Gather as much information as you can to influence your decision.

Listen to your gut when researching childcare. You know what’s best for your child.  

Ask if you can meet the actual team members who will be regularly caring for your child. Understand how many children there are and the ratio of children to teachers in your child’s class. Ask the director about safety measures, such as whether staff are trained in basic life support, first aid/CPR, and facility-wide emergency response.

What is the Childcare WOW Factor?

What does this childcare facility provide that goes above and beyond? Cost, functional space, activities, positive team members or raving reviews, flexible operational hours, live virtual check-ins, lactation space?

Is it close to your home, job, or do you have friends who have children currently enrolled? Choose the place that best meets your family’s needs to find a facility where your child will thrive in their new environment.

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Lakisa Ballard, MSN, RN, C-EFM, RNC-OB, is a Labor and Delivery Clinical Nurse Educator at Holy Cross Hospital in Maryland. She has worked in many high-risk facilities around the country and has a passion for educating future nurses.

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