Tips for Choosing Child Care

Finding good childcare requires patience, persistence and a few detective skills. Here’s what to look for in a qualified day-care center.

For most of us, returning to work and finding alternative care for our child is a fact of life. For many, licensed day-care centers offer the answer. The question is, what makes a good day-care center?

Every day-care center provides, as the name implies, all day care including snacks, lunch and naptime. Generally the caregivers at licensed day-care centers must be fully trained in Early Childhood Education, or its equivalent. Beyond that, the signs of a good day-care center is how adult caregivers interact with children says Nadia Hall, a professor at the School of Early Childhood Education at Seneca College in Toronto. “Look at the way care-giving routines are handled such as eating. Is it a time to socialize, to have a warm conversation so as to develop language skills and to allow the child to feel special? Look to see that children’s self esteem is being built and that each child is known intimately well by the care-giver.”

Hall believes one of the benefits of good day-care is socialization, even for babies as young as ten months. “Children form peer groups at nine and ten months and they know when someone is away. By the time they are toddlers they have formed a very solid peer group and that’s the time care-givers are teaching them social skills such as sharing, empathy and learning how to do things as a group.”

Finally, Hall says that as good as a day-care center may be, it may still not be the answer for your own child. “If the child is shy, slow to warm up to large groups of children or bothered by the noise level then perhaps a better option is family day care at private homes where there are smaller numbers with one nurturing mother figure.”

While leaving young children behind in care is inevitable for many working parents, it’s still a difficult adjustment. But by finding the most appropriate childcare arrangement from the onset, this back-to-work transition can be eased for both child and parent.


Adapted from The Parent Report Radio Show. Any advice or information contained herein should never be a substitute for professional and/or medical advice, diagnosis and treatment. For more information please review Terms of Service.

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