It is so hard to put your kids into someone else’s hands. So much so, that you often put it off and put off researching an appropriate daycare too. I cannot stress how important it is to do your research though. Just because a building is labeled a “daycare” does not mean it’s an appropriate place for your child. You need to find the perfect fit for you as a parent and your child as an individual.
First of all, the facility should be licensed by the state and accredited. If you are not sending your child to something with this kind of structure, do not anticipate educational structure in return. If they are certified, then they are reputable and have some sort of curriculum other than kids running around.
Check with the Better Business Bureau or social services department to make sure there isn’t a laundry list of complaints about the facility, and you might want to check if the staff goes through criminal background checks. It is important to leave your children in trustworthy hands, and not in the hands of random strangers.
Then, go check out the facility. Never pick a daycare without seeing children at play at first! Make sure the children are supervised 100% of the time. How is the upkeep of the facility? Are the toys age-appropriate, are things clean, are things safe? Is there enough help and does the help seem interested in caring for children? If there are not fire-escape plans or CPR certified professionals, I would also recommend looking elsewhere. The staff should keep emergency contact information on file at all times. Does any of the staff have training in early childhood care? Do they discipline children appropriately or in a way with which you agree? Do the kids seem happy?
Daycare shopping isn’t a mission that can be accomplished in one day! Take your time and don’t rush the search- make sure you find something that you are comfortable with and that your child enjoys.