How do you know if you have chosen a good daycare?

Lydia - posted on 08/16/2009 ( 5 moms have responded )

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I am going back to school part time, and I am looking for a part time daycare for my son. I just moved to LA, and I'm having trouble choosing a daycare for him. How do I know that I've chosen a good day care??? What are warning signs of a bad day care?

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Heather - posted on 08/17/2009

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My sign of a bad daycare was that my child would cry the entire time she was their. No kidding! She is an overall happy toddler and baby and she cried from the time I dropped her off until the time I picked her up. Children are very intuitive and know when something is wrong. Another way to ensure that it is a good daycare is to see if it is state run which normally equals more expensive and ask to see the reviews so that you know what their problem areas are and if you can live with them. I always went by something as silly as a feeling...if I walked through a daycare and got a generally good feeling about it I would pick it. Or if I dropped her off and left feeling totally safe and happy then I knew it would be okay. Normally it would turn out that way too! Good Luck!

Krystle - posted on 08/16/2009

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My number one piece of advice is if you can just drop by unexpectedly. Any one can be on their best behavior when they know they are being observed. If you can't do that then look for changes in your childs behavior or if he/she is old enough ask them questions. Kids will be honest with you. You can also contact your local childrens home society and see if there are any reports against the center or person if they are licensed. All you need is their first and last name or the centers name. Just make sure to keep a constant line of daily communication with the provider and ask them about your child's day. They should be more than happy to fill you in on your child's day. If not, then you should have reason to worry. Follow your mommy instinct most of the time it's not wrong.

Hanna - posted on 08/16/2009

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Definitely talk to other moms there and some of the potential issues could come up. If you're worried, i would come by during the time when kids are supposed to be alone with the instructors and see what is going on there -- it's easy to put on the face for the drop-off/pick up but if something odd is going on, then your best chance to catch it is during the times that parents aren't supposed to be there. also, see how willing they are to show you around -- where would your daughter be, but also other age groups if available. how many activities do kids have? you don't want it to be a "school", but you do want kids to be occupied and instructors involved in their development (i.e. story books, videos, playground indoor/outdoor), etc. see how happy are the kids to be there, that's very important -- you might get an occasional cranky kid (everyone has a bad day and baby can be uncomfortable sometimes), but most kids should be happy and enjoying being there.
definitely check for references, licenses, etc.as well as the fact that it has passed the safety check, and check with the city officials/state officials if there were any complaints against the establishment/violations, etc. that is public information and is usually available when requested, i would look it up online.
in some places, you can always check the customer reviews -- i don't know if those are available. most reviews u'll read will be negative (and positive ones are usually written by the person who works there) but you can at least assess what kind of reviews they are -- people are always going to complain that their child is not the center of attention or got a diaper rash because the nappy wasn't changed right away (which could have just as well been an allergy to something new the child ate), but if you hear that an ambulance had to be called because the child swallowed something or fell down broke an arm or seen some strange people hanging around the playground -- that should definitely raise a red flag (although last one is not daycare's fault, but still isn't something you want to expose your baby to). and definitely see whether or not your child loves going there -- if the baby remains calm and happy, then it's almost certain that everything is fine, however if your baby starts getting nervous, crying when going there (after the first week), doesn't sleep properly, has nightmares, stops eating -- that's usually a good sign that something's wrong.

i hope this helps a bit. good luck and i hope it works out!

Gaia - posted on 08/16/2009

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Hi, I had the same worries when I first put my daughter into daycare. I decided to find a daycare that I liked the atmosphere of, I went to one and the carer's were lovely happy people, the rooms were bright and cheerful all the children playing were happy and the carer's where actually in the sand pit or on the play equipment with them. I also liked the particular daycare I chose as they asked me to write down my daughters routine so that they could keep to it the days she was there so that everything always ran smoothly. I put my daughter in at 3 months old (as I went back to work) and she still loves it now and she is 4. I think you just need to find one that will accommodate your child and one that puts you at ease knowing your child will be happy and safe. I hope this is a little help at least. Also I second everything that Sam has said :-)

Sam - posted on 08/16/2009

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From personal experience, it's good to get other parents feed back in regards to the centre and their thoughts. Also, after your child get's over the seperation anxiety if their not used to being left in different environments, if your child is more than happy to stay while you leave then that is a good indication to me that it is a great centre because a kid isn't going to want to stay where they don't feel safe and secure. Also make sure that they have all the necessary licencing and accreditation requirements that apply.

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