Getting your child into the right daycare is a major decision. All daycares/ childcare facilities have different philosophies on providing care, and now it’s your job to decide which one is right for your child. This is especially important when your child is not yet old enough to communicate with you. You need to feel that you can trust the people who are caring for your little one all day. Here are my top tips to help you narrow your search when choosing the best daycare or childcare facility for your baby or toddler.
1. Check their Public Record
The licensing department for daycare facilities will vary depending on the state you live in. You should be able to determine who that is with a simple Google search. I live in Texas. Here, licensing falls under the Texas Department of Family & Protective Services. On this site, you can effortlessly search facilities in your area. This simple search will tell you if the facility has had its license involuntarily suspended, revoked, or refused to renew the permit within the last 5 years.
I like to perform an open search based on the county. This way, you don’t miss anything, like a simple flip-flopping of words, or the facility possibly being registered under a slightly different name.
2. Get Familiar with your State’s “Minimum Standards”
If you also live in Texas, you can find that list by clicking here! Ok, so sometimes, when you speak to these daycare facilities, they will give you their caregiver-to-child ratio and try to use that as a selling point. This document will tell you what the state requires. I was amazed that one facility I spoke with when seeking childcare for my son tried to use the fact that they followed the state minimum as a selling point.
3. What are Other Parents Saying?
Obviously, if you know someone whose child goes to a particular childcare facility, ask them what they like about it. Is there anything they don’t like or wish they would have known before choosing the facility?
What if You Don’t Know Anyone Whose Children Attend the Place?
1. Check Reviews on Google Maps
We all know that unhappy people are more likely to leave reviews than people who are happy with a service. Reading through these comments can give you insight into which centers may not be the best daycare for your child. I find that Google Maps is a great place to start.
2. Check the Daycare’s Social Media Pages
I tend to look the facility up and see if I can find their business page on Facebook and Instagram. This is another place you can find questions and comments about the business. I also like to look and see what pictures of the facility are available on their social media channels. Of course, a facility is going to post its highlight reel here. So maybe jump over to the tagged photos for some real insight.
3. Facebook Groups
If you haven’t already, you may want to consider joining some local mom groups on Facebook, or neighborhood Facebook groups. Start by typing the facility’s name in the search tool within the Facebook group. This way, you can check if anyone has asked a question or made a comment about the daycare previously. If you don’t find anything it is, of course, up to you whether you want to ask the group about the facility or not.
One tip about using Mom Facebook groups- If you are already an anxious person by nature, you may want to keep notifications off. You should always consult your physician regarding medical questions, but that doesn’t stop moms from posing their questions in these groups. There does tend to be misinformation in these groups from time to time, and that misinformation can lead to unnecessary stress or anxiety about your child’s development, etc.
4. Location, Location, & Hours of Operation
You will want to look up the daycare’s operating hours to see if they align with your family’s schedule. Will the facility be open early enough for you or your spouse to get to work on time? Will someone be off in time to pick them up before closing time? Some daycares tack on an extra charge for being late. How close is the facility to your home and/or your job? These are things that should be considered.
5. Make a List of Questions Before You Schedule a Tour
-Not Sure What to Ask?
Don’t worry! I have created a free guide with 40 Questions to ask! Get it before you start the process and make sure you’re finding the right fit.
Good post. I learn something totally new and challenging on blogs I stumbleupon on a daily basis. Its always useful…
Great content, really detailed info.
Hi love, what an amazingly detailed blog! I’m not a mom, but I can see how knowing all these details…