When looking for the perfect daycare provider to look after your child, it’s as much about knowing how to spot the negative aspects that indicate it might be advisable to say “pass” and move on as it is about knowing the characteristics of a good daycare centre. After all, a local daycare program can be marvelous in just about every single way, but if the staff hasn’t been CRB checked or won’t allow you to “drop in” whenever you want, it’s probably not going to be a good fit for your requirements. However, this revelation presents a further problem; many parents aren’t actually aware of the signs that they should be looking out for, which means in all likelihood they will probably miss them even if they are there. We’ve prepared a list for you below to ensure you don’t fall into the same trap.
Indicators that a Daycare Centre Might Not Be “As Advertised”
Whenever you arrange to visit a daycare provider it’s a chance to really check whether the service that they are offering meets your expectations. You’re not just staring at a brochure or some website copy; you get to see the facility and the staff in action for yourself. If you see any of the following, your visit should probably end with a “Thanks, but no thanks.”
- Poor Hygiene – This is unforgivable in a daycare centre; a high level of hygiene should be maintained at all times! If you’re a naturally organized person yourself, this is probably something you will pick upon very quickly, but if not, scan the centre carefully. Can you see dirt, dust or clutter in various parts?
- Children that Seem Unhappy – In daycare centres where a high level of childcare is provided, the children are constantly stimulated through activities and interactions with the other children. While one sulky child could just be a sign that he/she is having a bad day, if the whole group don’t appear too thrilled to be there, it’s probably not a good sign.
- Unprofessional Staff – Entrusting the care of your child to someone else (for the first time in many cases) is one of the biggest commitments most people make and the staff at a good daycare centre will understand that and operate with a high degree of professionalism. They should really make you feel welcome when you arrive and they should display a high level of knowledge about the field, answering any questions you may have quickly and clearly to put your mind at ease. Daycare centres with staff that is openly rude or unprofessional during your visit is a definite cause for concern.
- “Overflowing” – Daycare centres have to restrict the number of children they accept into their program, otherwise it might not be possible for the staff to provide the required level of care. If you notice a large amount of children at the centre during your visit (14 is the max a centre should accept, and that is for a large centre), the centre is breaking industry regulations (never a positive sign) and is unlikely to offer your child adequate attention or support.
- Sick Children – If there are children in attendance that are visibly ill, you need to scrub the centre off your list straight away. Infections can spread like wildfire among young children and a daycare centre should have a strict sick policy that prohibits ill children from attending.
- Lack of Structure – We speak to hundreds of parents in Thornhill, Mississauga, Maple and Vaughan every single year and we always stress how important it is that the daycare program their children attend is structured. Any medical professional will tell you that the time between the birth of your child and their fifth birthday is absolutely critical to the development of their cognitive abilities. If the centre doesn’t seem stimulating and the children seem to be left to amuse themselves, your search should continue.
- Poor Communication – If your questions don’t get properly answered or are intentionally swerved, it’s hard to put your trust in a daycare provider, and even harder to feel safe about leaving your child in their care. If you have problems arranging a visit it’s a definite red flag.
- Licence? – This should be one of the first things that you check, as if they haven’t got an up-to-date license you don’t need to waste your time by taking things further. If a daycare provider does have a valid license they will usually make this fact well known, so if you aren’t able to find this information relatively easily it’s probably a sign that they don’t have one, although you should always ask before making this assumption.
If you require further assistance or would like to talk to a member of our team about the daycare services we provide, simply pick up the phone and dial either 905-764-9555 (Thornhill centre) or 905-270-4555 (Mississauga centre).