You may have spent countless hours carefully researching, getting referrals and visiting great child care providers in your area. You think you’ve found the perfect child care provider for your family, and decide to enroll your child. Even if initially the fit seems right, your child may struggle to respond to the environment, or other factors could have you reconsidering your choice.
1. They Don’t Listen to Your Requests or Concerns
If you bring up concerns or requests about your child’s care, you should expect them to be acknowledged and addressed by staff members or supervisors in a pleasant and helpful manner. If you find that your comments are not taken seriously or ignored altogether, this can be a major red flag. It could be that the center’s learning and development approach is different than your personal and family philosophies, or the center staff team may not being putting parent communication at the forefront of their priorities list.
2. They Don’t Communicate Well
Excellent child care providers take care to ensure parents are involved in their child’s care and center activities whenever possible. Newsletters, notifications of policy changes, family meetings and regular reports on child progress should all be made available to parents on a regular basis. If your child care provider does not hold meetings, does not send regular communications or actively discourages parent visits and involvement, it may be time to look elsewhere for better care.
3. The Staff Changes Frequently
Regular employee turnover could be a sign that your child care provider is not treating their staff well. Consistency is very important for young children as they develop, and if caregivers don’t stay around at the daycare for long, children cannot reap the benefits of care from those they are familiar with and have become attached to. Be wary if you see new faces every time you visit the center.
4. There Isn’t Enough Staff
Have you visited your center and found that a single teacher is working with too many children? Overcrowding not only compromises the standard of care that a child care facility can provide – it’s also a safety issue. By law, a child care provider must comply with the staff to child ratio set out by their state, province or territory to ensure that each child gets the attention and care they need. If you consistently see a too-high child to staff ratio, start searching for new care.
5. You Notice Safety Issues
Part of the reason you chose this particular center was its attention to health and safety. If you notice signs that safety standards are starting to slip, consider making a change. Pay attention to a wide range of potential safety hazards, such as unsafe playground equipment or toys, the location and accessibility of first aid supplies, and the overall level of cleanliness. If any safety problems are not rectified immediately by your child care provider, it is definitely time to look elsewhere.
6. Something Doesn’t Feel Right
Sometimes as a parent you just have a feeling that something is off. If you have a bad feeling about your child care provider at any point, trust your gut. You know your child best, and can identify when a daycare isn’t the right fit for their needs.
Remember that while there could be challenges with the care at your center, more often than not, this is a fit issue. Talk with your child care provider about your concerns, and in the end, select the care that meets the needs of your child best.
Read more here to learn about who manages a child care center.