Child Care Checklist For Parents

Basic Things to Look For

  • Do the hours fit your schedule?
  • Is a valid license or certificate posted where you can see it?
  • Can you afford what they’re charging?

The Place

  • Is it clean and well maintained?
  • Is the setting bright, cheerful, and free of smells?
  • Are there safety hazards?
  • Are there enough toys and equipment that are safe, age-appropriate, and in reach of the children?
  • Is there enough space for all activities (indoor/outdoor play, naptime, diapering, etc.)?
  • Are the meals and snacks tasty and nutritious? 

The Provider

  • Does the caregiver have good training and experience with children?
  • Do the employees seem happy to be there?
  • Have the employees been working there a long time?
  • Does the provider:
    • Use encouraging words?
    • Set limits with the children?
    • Give children choices?
  • Do the provider and children seem to like each other and do the children seem happy?
  • Is the provider warm, friendly, and patient? Does the provider hold the children in a loving and caring manner?
  • Does the provider play with, listen to, talk with, and encourage children to express themselves?
  • Does the provider understand a child’s different stages of development?
  • Are the children encouraged to learn to get along and respect each other?
  • Does the provider respond quickly to children’s needs?
  • Are the provider’s ideas about raising children like yours?
  • Are there enough staff members to give children one-on-one attention?
  • Is there a posted, written schedule that shows a balanced, daily routine?
  • Are there active/quiet times, outdoor/indoor play times, with different activities for all ages?
  • Is there time for children to work as a group and time for children to be alone?
  • Can the schedule be changed to meet your child’s needs and moods on any given day?
  • Are boys and girls equally encouraged to take part in activities?
  • Are the values of the program in line with your values?

Parent Involvement

  • Can parents drop in at any time without calling first?
  • Are parents involved in making some decisions?
  • Can parents speak with the provider when they drop off and pick up children?
  • Can parents meet with the provider often? 

Care for Infants

  • Is there a quiet place for a baby to sleep?
  • Do providers respond to crying babies in a caring way?
  • Do infants have space and freedom to play, climb, and crawl?
  • Are diapers changed often and in a clean area? Do staff members wash their hands after each diaper is changed?
  • Are babies fed when they want to eat and held when they’re fed? 

Care for School-Aged Children

  • Are children safely moved to and from school?
  • Are children allowed to play the way they want after school is over?
  • Do children have space and time to do homework?

Final Things to Think About

  • Do parents of other children in the program say good things about it?
  • Would you be happy there if you were a child?
  • Do you feel comfortable leaving your child there?

This checklist has been adapted from materials developed by The Family & Workplace Connection.