Back to (Pre)School – 3 Tips to Finding The Best Day Care


It’s back to school time and for many of us, that means choosing the right day care or preschool.

I was blessed to be able to spend a full year at home with my first son, The DJ.I was laid off in January of 2009, and had recently left a temporary position. When I decided to go back to work shortly after his first birthday, we needed to find someone who would care for him like one of their own.

We live within walking distance of three different in home day care facilities. We visited each one, but didn’t feel that any were quite the right fit for our family. The first, less than a minute away, was bright and clean, but when my husband asked why the owner had gone into business, she didn’t express a love for children or a genuine interest in helping them grow. The second never answered the door or my follow up phone calls. The third seemed nice, but had a number of uncorrected violations when I looked them up on the New York State Day Care Facility Search.

Luckily, there was an opening at the daycare our nephew attended. We went to check the place out, and brought The DJ along. As soon as we stepped inside, he reached for the woman in charge. She patiently answered all of the questions I had gotten from with a smile. She showed us the bathroom, let us know when she would start potty training, and when we could expect The DJ to start using a wider vocabulary. Our nephew began reading at three years old as a result of her background as a principal in Jamaica. I was sold.


While our son no longer attends that day care and is ready to start pre-k, here are three things I learned during our process:

Have a list of questions prepared to ask. Is the center licensed to give medication? What’s the policy on discipline? Babycenter has a helpful set of questions to ask.

What does the place look like? Are there windows or bright lighting? Do the high chairs, playpens, and other equipment look clean? While one of the places we saw seemed tidy, it was in a dark basement.

How does your child react to the staff? These are the people they’ll be spending most of the day with. The DJ wasn’t impressed by the first director, but fell in love with the last.

You’re trusting someone else to care for your baby, so you should feel 100% comfortable. Check the Daycare Facility Search in your state to see if there have been any violations, and if those violations have been corrected. Don’t be afraid to call and check in on your child each day (at different times) to see how he or she is doing. Most importantly, trust your gut, mom. If something doesn’t feel quite right, don’t ignore it.

Have you chosen a day care center for your child? What tips would you share with other parents?

Find me here


Tiffani is the wife and mom behind MyMommyVents, co-creator of The Mommy Conference, and co-founder of the digital collective Sisterhued. Her writing and parenting tips have been seen on The Washington Post, Mommy Noire, Yahoo Parenting, and Fit Pregnancy.
Find me here

4 Comment

  1. I like your tip to consider what the place looks like, because the look of a daycare can say a lot about the facility. If the room isn’t bright or colorful, it won’t be as exciting or inviting to your children. If the toys and equipment aren’t clean, that can say a lot about the lack of care the facility offers. Thanks for the article.

  2. I’m currently in the process of trying to find a good day care for my two sons. I definitely would like to find a care provider that could help with potty training, vocabulary and reading, because it’s very important to me that they continue to grow. Because of your experience, I am definitely going to be watching how my sons react to the staff and ask questions about potty training and whatnot. I would especially like it if I could get with a provider who encouraged independence as well.

  3. Looking for a good child care service is really hard. You need to trust them and they must exert effort more than you will.
    daycare centre Springfield recently posted…Learning Through Pebble PlayMy Profile

  4. Some day care centers have good performance all in all and really helps parents in taking care of their kids.
    daycare centre Capalaba recently posted…Learning Through Play – Dancing and SingingMy Profile

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge