Finding Quality Childcare: What to Look for When Making your Decision

By Emily Koeppel, B.A. and Lindsay Hornell, BSW, B.A.,
Graduate Research Assistants in Human Development & Family Studies,
Colorado State University

Finding Quality Childcare: What to Look for When Making your Decision

When individuals raising children think about childcare, countless questions can come to mind. Should you choose an in-home daycare or a center-based daycare? What age should the child begin attending daycare? What is an average rate for full-time daycare? What sorts of questions should be asked when visiting potential daycares? These questions along with several others can make finding the right daycare difficult for anyone raising children. However, there are a few ways to make finding a quality daycare a little bit easier. Try following these steps to make finding a quality daycare a little less difficult for you and your grandchild:

  1. Know that finding the right daycare could take some time, so be sure to leave yourself enough time between starting your search and when your grandchild needs to start attending a daycare. This will help to ease some of the stress associated with finding a quality site.
  2. Try calling a local expert, like a Child Care Resource and Referral Agency to find a list of childcare options in your area. A local expert can help you decide if an in-home or a center-based daycare fit your family's needs better. A local expert will also help determine if your family qualifies for any childcare assistance.
  3. Once you have narrowed down your list of potential daycares based on your family's needs, schedule a visit to each facility and be sure to ask the following questions:
    1. What is the adult to child ratio? The smaller the ratio, the more attention your child will receive. Infants should have a ratio of no more than 1 adult to 4 infants. Older children (i.e., 4 year olds) will do fine with a ratio of 1 adult to 10 children.
    2. What is the group size? The smaller the group size, the more calm and safe your grandchild's environment will be.
    3. What are the caregiver qualifications? Look for daycares where caregivers are required to have a degree or some sort of special training for working with children.
    4. Find out if the daycare has been accredited. Accredited daycares voluntarily met standards higher than those of the state licensing requirements. Two organizations that accredit childcare providers are the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and the National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC).
  4. Once you have narrowed down your decision to one daycare, see if the childcare provider will allow your grandchild to come for a short visit. This can help your grandchild become comfortable in the environment prior to attending a full day at the daycare.

Making the decision to place your grandchild in daycare can oftentimes be a stressful event. However, following these steps can help you become more confident in your choice of daycare. Having this confidence and ease of mind will help both you and your grandchild become comfortable with the idea of daycare. To find a local Child Care Resource and Referral office in Colorado near you, please visit Qualistar Colorado or call (877) 338-2273.

Information for steps in finding a quality childcare provided by Child Care Aware.