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Choosing the best care for your child is one of the most difficult decisions a parent has to make. 

In today’s world, there is a real need to find quality child care.  Here are a few helpful guidelines when choosing child care…

What to look for in a home day care:

  • Is the caregiver attentive with your child, and the other children?
  • Do the other children appear happy and engaged?
  • Is the home bright and clean?
  • Does it resemble a daycare setting?
  • Ask to see all the areas the child will have access to and ask where the children play, eat and sleep.
  • The physical setting of the home — what is the play space like inside and outside?
  • The location of the home — is it near public libraries, parks, community centres?
  • Have precautions been taken to ensure safety of the children?
  • Are there gates on stairs, latches on doors, a fence around the property, is furniture secured?
  • Are there proper fire exits in areas of the home where the children will be?
  • What are the play materials?

What to ask a caregiver:

  • Does the caregiver have liability insurance?
  • What is the caregiver’s level of experience?
  • How many children are in the daycare and what are their ages?
  • Is the provider trained in First Aid and CPR?
  • Who else is in the house during daycare hours?
  • Has the caregiver, and the others in the house, had a police check?
  • Is the caregiver healthy and fit to care for children? Has he/she had a health check?
  • Does the caregiver, or anyone else in the home, smoke on the premises?
  • Are there pets? If so, are they up-to-date with their shots? Will children be allowed around pets?
  • What happens if the caregiver is sick or on vacation?
  • What is the menu? Are nutritious and balanced meals and snacks provided?
  • How does he/she manage challenging behaviour? (Provide ‘What if’ scenarios.)
  • Are there any house rules?
  • Does he/she toilet train the children?
  • What are the daily activities and is there both indoor and outdoor play?
  • Are there regular outings? Where to?
  • Will the caregiver drive anywhere with the children?
  • Are children allowed to watch TV, play videogames, and access the internet?
  • Does the caregiver have an open-door policy for parents and are they encouraged to drop in?
  • Can you provide references, of both current and past clients?

Sources: City of Toronto and Ministry of Education, Wee Watch, CCPRN

Read “Home daycare: A parents’ guide…” – Toronto Star