Part 2: Choosing the best childcare for your child & life

Faye Holt from Dayhome Registry is helping us make our childcare choices. This three part series will help you find what kind of care you want, how to find it and what to look for. Come back each Wednesday for the next part of the series!

Part 2: What to look for in a childcare provider.

After doing some reading and research, you’re pretty sure you’ve settled on the TYPE of care you are looking for. So now comes the job of picking the right dayhome, daycare or Nanny.

In today’s blog, I will outline what to look for, especially as it pertains to dayhomes. However, this would be a good checklist for day cares, and as a guiding principal when interviewing Nannies as well.
First and foremost, parents are looking for a place where their child is going to be happy.  Leaving your child in care is hard enough. Knowing they are happy takes a HUGE weight off our minds. First impressions are huge. As a parent, the following points help me know that my children will be happy in their dayhome, and I will be happy to drop them off there:

  • Is the dayhome child friendly? Are there a broad range of toys and activities for boys and girls of all age ranges?  We want to know our children will not get bored and will be stimulated appropriately.  I like to see a good variety of books, crafts, and toys for all kids.
  • Is the dayhome clean? Everyone has different standards of what “clean” means to them, so drop in, have a good look around and make sure the dayhome meets your standards.
  • Are they open to drop in visits? As parents, if we need to book an appointment to visit the dayhome once our child is registered, we wonder if there is something to hide. On the other hand, visiting parents can disrupt the flow of the care; so while you need to feel comfortable that you CAN visit anytime, respect your dayhome’s autonomy.
  • Is your dayhome safe for children of all ages? I like to see gates on stairs, broken toys mended or trashed, plug covers on outlets, doors to cupboards with child safety guards on them, etc. Private dayhomes do not have someone coming into check on these things, so again, have a good look around for the safety features your child will need. These change over time, as the children grow older, so again, it needs to meet your child’s need.
  • Can the provider explain what kind of programming they offer? Some dayhomes offer a purely play based program, some offer more of a preschool program, and others an emergent learning based program. I have found that with my own children in part time care, and in school as well, I wanted a play-based dayhome; a place where they could relax, unwind and be themselves.  However, if you have a 3 year old in full time care, you may well be looking for a preschool type program. Check out our BaC Pac: its great for moms too! http://dayhomeregistry.com/pages/pricing#BacPac
  • Does the dayhome provide meals and snacks? Most dayhomes provide the needed food for the children, but not all daycares do. Some daycares require that you provide snacks, and they will provide meals.  Always ask first.
  • Are the meals and snacks healthy? Do they provide opportunity for physical activity? With childhood obesity on the rise (currently at 26%), everyone is more and more conscious of healthy eating habits.  Does the dayhome provide fruits, vegetables, and an otherwise balanced diet?  Trips to the park, walks around the neighbourhood and a fun, active outdoor space encourage our children to MOVE.
  • Do they accommodate for dietary intolerances/allergies? Many children these days have some kind of dietary intolerance or allergy.  We as parents of these kids (read dairy, soy and gluten intolerance) need to be confident that the meals are not going to set off any reactions.  I provide “safe” alternatives for our son, which works really well for us.
  • For infants, is the provider willing to do cloth diapers, or will they only do disposable? As a parent, I choose to have my children wear cloth diapers, so following that protocol was important to me.
  • Does the provider have certifications, training and/or experience in regards to caring for children? These provide peace of mind, and show that the provider has thought about the different facets of caring for kids. All childcare providers should have at a minimum a Criminal Record Check done.
  • Are they organized? A dayhome who provides a package outlining all of the above shows that they are organized and have thought through all the ins and outs of caring for children. A contract to sign, forms clearing them to administer needed medications or transport children, and a handbook outlining the dayhome program will give you a good idea of how the dayhome operates on a day to day basis.
  • How many children are in their care? What is the adult to child ratio?  The required ratio for a dayhome is 1 adult to 6 children. Some dayhomes try to keep their numbers a bit lower so things aren’t as hectic, especially if the children are younger. Some kids thrive with lots of friends to play with, some would rather less kids around.
  • What are the ages of the other children in the dayhome? I have found my own kids are the happiest when there are other kids that are around their own age.

Please print this off and take to dayhome interviews with you as a reminder of what you may be looking for.


Whether you are just starting your journey into finding childcare, or a long way into the process, and still not sure where to go, I hope these tips will help you get things moving in the right direction, and find the childcare situation that is perfect for you and your child! If you have decided a dayhome is the best arrangement for you, find your dayhome at www.dayhomeregistry.com!

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About Jennifer Neilson

I am a mom of two young girls. After struggling with prenatal depression, I sought ways to prevent postpartum depression and found Mommy Connections. Connecting with other moms of children the same age and going through the same thing was comforting and helpful on many levels. I am passionate about connecting mothers to each other and their babies through fun and informative ways!

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