You ultimately want your child to be safe, but your child care provider should go beyond basic child care. Look at the typical day and the types of activities the provider does with the kids to decide if the location is right for your child. Here are some things a quality provider should do for the kids in her care.
Constant supervision is a must in a day care situation. Even a minute away from the kids can result in a serious injury. If you’re looking at in-home day cares, look for a place with a dedicated child care area where the provider can see everything. She should have a way to prepare meals where she can still see the kids or have an assistant who helps.
A quality day care will have plenty of things for the kids to play with. This might include toys, age-appropriate games, ride-on toys and easels. Kids should have access to the toys so they get a chance for free play.
A child care provider can’t follow every child’s home schedule exactly. She will likely come up with her own schedule that works for the majority of the kids. Having a routine and following it gives the kids some familiarity while they’re away from home. Look at the schedule to see if she balances activities. She should include both active and quiet play times. She should also include rest times and meals.
A quality care provider does more than just watch your child. She should interact with the kids as they play. She might read stories to them or play with the toys as they play. Look for a provider who seems to enjoy the kids. Watch how the kids interact with her.
Look for a child care provider who keeps the kids active. They don’t have to go nonstop all day, but some exercise is important to development. The type of activity depends on the age of the child. For babies, it might include tummy time or playing in an activity center. For toddlers and preschoolers, the activity component could be active indoor games, play time in the backyard or a walk to a nearby park.