Is it time to put your child in daycare? Or do you need to switch to a new daycare provider? While the number of options to choose from may seem daunting, doing your research on various daycare facilities will pay off. After all, it is an investment in your child and their well-being.
Your child is the most important person to you, and you want to ensure that the daycare facility you choose can provide the best care when you’re not around. Unfortunately, not all who claim to be child care providers have the resources, skills, and even the right attitude to handle children. It is up to the parents to do their research before deciding which daycare facility to place their child in.
Let’s talk about the biggest warning signs of a bad daycare that you should watch out for as you conduct your search.
How Do You Know if a Daycare is Bad?
When researching daycares, be cautious and look for signs of a bad daycare facility. Here are some daycare warning signs to look out for.
1. Lack of Cleanliness
The facility’s lack of cleanliness may be one of the signs of a bad daycare. While some times of the day may result in disorder due to snack times or special projects, caregivers are responsible for cleaning up as the day moves along.
If a daycare is unkempt and ill-maintained, it can affect your child’s safety, putting them at risk for contracting an infection or illness. If you’re looking into home-based daycare providers, you should assess beyond the designated room for the kids and look at the surroundings in general. A house in disarray is a strong sign of a bad daycare center.
A good daycare is one that provides a clean, safe, and pleasant space that’s maintained by daycare staff who truly care about creating a healthy learning environment for the kids.
2. No Accreditation
While lack of accreditation may not be one of the signs of a bad daycare provider, accreditation is a sign of a good daycare.
Accredited childcare providers offer a higher level of attention to educational activities that will help your child grow and develop, readying them for kindergarten.
There are so many types of accredited programs, making it difficult to pinpoint which is best. Nonetheless, a few noteworthy accreditation organizations include the National Early Childhood Program Accreditation, The National Accreditation Commission, and Cognia.
Ask if the daycare has an age-appropriate and stimulating curriculum tailored to children of different age groups. These curricula may list times for singing, reading, free play, outdoor play, snack time, lunchtime, and nap time if applicable. If there are no organized learning plans or you find that they have a questionable curriculum, don’t waste your time.
3. Doesn’t Follow State Licensing Requirements
A licensed business confirms that the business is insured, follows regulations, and is inspected regularly.
Licensing is important since it covers many factors that ensure your child’s safety. Some of these factors are the number of children that one adult can care for at a time (child-caregiver ratio), how children are supervised, and building safety, including emergency exits, repairs, and potential dangers.
Cleanliness, such as handwashing, diapering, and other methods to stop spreading disease, are also included in license regulations. If the daycare serves food, nutrition regulations are followed. Background checks, CPR, and first aid training are also mandated by state laws for the safety of the children.
Most daycares have their license somewhere you can see, and if you cannot locate it, simply ask to see it. If you feel that the daycare is in violation, you may wonder how to report a bad daycare. You may contact your state’s Department of Economic Security in regards to this.
4. Activities Don’t Support Development
A lack of stimulating activities is also a sign of a bad daycare provider. A child grows best with social, mental, and emotional development. Pay attention to the types of toys the daycare has and how different play areas are set up. Feel free to ask how often toys are switched out and cleaned.
Different daycares may have different educational philosophies as well, so it doesn’t hurt to ask about the curriculum. Singing songs and reading books are both examples of activities that support a child’s development. By reading and singing to children, they can learn a language faster, understand it, and eventually speak it.
Some daycare centers go beyond the usual song and dance routines and include activities for improving behavioral health. Cadence Education’s Ascend Curriculum, for example, includes individualized lessons that help reduce problematic behaviors and keep children more engaged.
5. Poor Communication
A daycare should provide regular communication. The type of communication may vary based on the age of the child. Some daycares will send a small piece of paper home with your baby, listing the times and types of diaper changes, feedings, as well as some comments about their day. If you have an older child, the daycare may still provide this type of update or even send out an email to the parents of that class with a short update on the group’s day, along with several photos.
It is also perfectly acceptable when picking up your child to ask the caregiver how your child’s day went, in addition to them providing the above updates. If caregivers seem rushed or like they can’t be bothered with your concerns, be wary. Beyond frequency, bad communication can also manifest in how they give updates to parents.
6. High Employee Turnover Rate
Facilities that do not treat their daycare staff well and face frequent turnovers will not be able to maintain the consistency and stability that children need from their care provider. Instability, in turn, can cause unnecessary stress and a sense of insecurity, affecting a child’s development.
As you review different centers, ask about their staff turnover rates and find out how long each teacher has already been with the facility.
7. Poor Reviews and a High Number of Complaints
Finally, poor reviews and complaints are a sure sign of a bad daycare. If the facility has received a lot of complaints, it can be a sign of poor management and, thereby, bad service. Check online for reviews on the daycare center you are evaluating. Ask around for feedback and advice.
Signs of a Bad Preschool Teacher
Bad teachers place children at risk for developing mental and social problems. Having a license to teach does not equate to having a good attitude toward childcare. Here are some signs that a teacher might not be the best teacher for children.
1. Child’s Attitude Changes
Child abuse is a serious concern and definitive sign of a bad preschool teacher. When the teacher yells at or shames kids for making mistakes or simply being noisy, you should intervene and go to the administrator right away.
There are many indicators of abuse, but a common red flag is your child exhibiting disinterested or gloomy behavior after originally being excited. A child who suddenly has a change of attitude toward daycare might be having a difficult time with the teacher.
2. Teacher Communicates Poorly
Placing your child in daycare is a huge step, and it’s only natural to want updates on your child’s activities and development. But bombarding the teacher with emails and texts is not the right way to go.
Often, providers will have preferred hours and modes of communication for parent meetings and updates. However, if your prospective care provider does not have a system for communicating updates, you can’t ensure they are meeting expected milestones.
3. Classroom Is Disorganized and Chaotic
If you see a room full of children running around a frazzled-looking teacher, that could indicate that the teacher is ill-equipped to handle this age group.
You can try to determine whether a teacher is the best fit for your child before you even enroll. We’ve listed the stellar traits of a preschool teacher to help you in your assessment.
Support Your Child’s Development at Cadence Education
Choosing a daycare provider for your child is an exciting but daunting task. Keep these red flags in mind when choosing a daycare or switching daycares and trust your gut.
Cadence Education is a great resource to use as part of your search.Cadence Education uses an expertly developed curriculum to give every child the skills and confidence to succeed while in their care. Cadence Education’s programs are available for children as young as 6 weeks and up to 12 years old. They also have a preschool and pre-K program to help kids get ready for kindergarten. Contact your local Cadence Education location for more information.