Childcare and safety go hand in hand. Like peanut butter and jelly. It’s hard to imagine an effective childcare setting …
Parenting is the ultimate roller coaster in life, full of unpredictable twists and turns. This is why it’s natural to try to find some consistency in the day-to-day and tend to the decisions that are in your control. You may wonder, what should I look for when researching a daycare? Or, how can I find the best daycare near me?
As you look at your various daycare and preschool options, you’ll want to consider everything from a convenient location, health and safety protocols, curriculum and activities to licensing and accreditation.
(And psst! Whether your employer offers childcare benefits for employees or not, we can help you find the best daycare close by.)
What are the 3 indicators of quality child care?
Childcare comes in many different shapes and sizes. One universal trait you want to find when choosing the caregiving setting for your kiddo is quality. There are a few good leading indicators of quality childcare, including:
Low child to teacher ratios. With smaller group sizes and a low child to teacher ratio, caregivers can provide more individualized attention leading to a higher quality early learning experience for families.
Independent reviews and word of mouth. What are other local parents saying about their childcare experiences with this caregiver? While you can take some reviews with a grain of salt, considered as a whole they do usually provide a fairly clear picture of the quality at a particular daycare.
Positive interactions between teachers and kids. Do children seem to be enjoying their time and experiences at daycare? Your child’s happiness is a good indicator. A quality childcare provider usually has many satisfied customers, including the little ones who attend every day.
What to look for when choosing a daycare
Here are Upwards’ top 5 tips for finding the ideal daycare for your family:
- Location, location, location! - Every second counts when you’re a parent. Who wants to commute across town when you can find a trusted childcare provider right in your own backyard? Upwards makes it easy — just put your zip code in our provider locator and you’ll instantly get a list of all of our choice providers in your neighborhood.
- Ask yourself questions like, “Can I walk to my child’s daycare?” and “How long am I willing to drive to drop off and pick up at daycare?”
- If you find a great caregiver within walking distance, will you need to take the stroller or is your child capable of walking along with you to daycare?
- In addition to looking for a childcare provider close to home, checking near your workplace or in another neighborhood where you have friends or family nearby are good options too.
- _Trust is key _- Look for qualified, licensed childcare providers. (Additionally, if you find a daycare through Upwards, you’ll have access to independent parent reviews right at your fingertips.)
- Write down a list of questions you’d like to ask your childcare provider and make sure to discuss any concerns you might have when touring the daycare.
- Check with your peers and fellow parent groups to get recommendations for the best, most trusted childcare providers in your area.
- Go with your gut and trust your parental instincts! Choosing a caregiver for your child is a big responsibility and an important step on your childcare journey.
- Curriculum counts - Children learn through play. In early childhood education, play matters…a lot. It’s important to explore what age-appropriate activities your daycare or preschool is providing. Little minds are moving fast and you want to make sure your child is fine-tuning not only their fine and gross motor skills, but also their social and emotional abilities.
- Does the facility offer an outdoor space for play and exploration?
- What kind of sensory activities, dramatic play, and early literacy components do the teachers incorporate into their day?
- Upwards daycare profiles provide a detailed curriculum description. You can also explore each facility’s photo gallery to see how our Upwards educators are personalizing and incorporating these important elements in their day-to-day activities.
- What’s your budget? Childcare is an investment into your family’s future, but you don’t want to break the bank. At Upwards, we know you can have high-quality childcare that’s also affordable. You can search our database simply by selecting your weekly childcare budget, and we can help you find qualified, trustworthy providers within your price range.
- Look at your monthly expenses and find a comfortable budget for your family.
- Send us a line at email@example.com with any questions.
- You shouldn’t have to compromise quality, so we’ll help find the best childcare fit, no matter the budget.
- Health & safety matters - Early childhood education experts agree on the importance and benefits of proper health, nutrition and sleep habits. You want to be sure your daycare provider offers ample opportunity throughout the day for movement and exercise.
- What health and safety measures does your daycare provider take on a routine basis?
- Before enrolling your child, find out what type of meals and food are prepared for the kids at care.
- Are there designated times of day for exercise, and is there space outside for children to run around and play?
How are childcare benefits important when it comes to daycares?
Finding the right daycare that is accessible and affordable for your family can be challenging. Sometimes parents, including working parents, need a little help.
Employers have started rising to the occasion by providing childcare assistance to their workforce with employee childcare benefits. Whether it’s connecting working families to a large childcare network of daycare providers to help them access care, subsidizing the cost of childcare with a stipend/subsidy program or offering backup care — organizations can be the difference between families accessing affordable childcare at all and parents staying home with their kids.
Businesses interested in learning more about childcare benefits should contact Upwards to discuss the best options for supporting working families.
Let Upwards take some of the work off your plate so that you can focus on what’s for dinner tonight and have more time for that extra round of hide-and-seek with your littlest biggest fan.
Now that you know more about what to select when you’re selecting, it’s time to find your perfect match!