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What to consider when choosing a childcare center

Wondering how to pick a childcare center to look after your baby? We have put together a list of some things to consider when choosing a childcare center, from childcare costs to location.

14 mins
to read Oct 8, 2020
  • Consider the location of the childcare center. Will it be more convenient nearer home or your place of work? 

  • Consider the time it takes you to get there and how you would get there. 

  • Talk to other parents using facilities locally to you and find out their experiences. 

  • Read government reports to see if the standards meet your requirements or check out parenting communities to see what local parents think. 

  • Make a shortlist of places and try to view as many of them as possible.  

  • Consider taking your child on these visits too if you can. 

  • Observe your child’s reactions to the staff, setting, and other children. 

  • Consider if the other children seem settled and happy. 

  • Consider if the staff are attentive to the children and to each other. 

  • Ask what activities your child might be involved in during the day. 

  • Ask if the childcare center keeps records of the children’s progression. Could they show you an example? 

  • Ask what provisions are made for naps or quiet time. 

  • Ask about meals and nutrition and how they deal with picky eaters or specific dietary requirements. 

  • Ask about toileting and potty-training policies. 

  • Ask about the daily essential packing list – what is needed in the child’s bag? 

  • Ask how the childcare center facilitate to feed pre-packed breastmilk. 

  • Ask how staff handle the preparation of milk feed if bottle-feeding is required. 

  • Ask about settling-in periods. 

  • Consider that you and your child might need time to adjust to childcare arrangements. 

  • Ask about staff ratios. Are they in line with government guidelines? What happens when people are off sick or on leave? 

  • Ask what safeguards are in place for other people picking up your child. 

  • Ask about the childcare costs and what you may be entitled to under government subsidy schemes.  

  • Find out what the childcare center’s daily hours are and if these apply all-year round or just to term times. 

  • Check the availability of places. Some childcare center places need to be booked up to a year ahead. 

  • If you’re returning to work, read our tips for going back to work after a baby.

 

Sources:

https://www.childcare.co.uk/information/nursery-is-your-child-ready