How to Choose Daycare for a Toddler?

A child reading a storybook at daycare
Leaving your child in the hands of someone else is nerve-wracking, especially if they are, for all intents and purposes, a stranger. Trusting someone with your child can be hard, but daycare is usually the only viable option for many people. You want to be sure that your child will be safe and happy while you’re busy at work. Looking for a daycare for your toddler can take a while. However, if you go through the steps carefully, you can find one that suits you quite easily.

Searching for Daycares


Make sure to start early. Good daycares will usually fill up rather fast, and you might even have to be put on a waiting list. It’s better if you start looking for daycares a couple of months before you need to send your child to one. If you live in a larger city where you might be on the waiting list for a long time, it’s better to start even sooner.


Ask around for recommendations. Your friends, neighbors, and parent groups in your area might have recommendations from what they’ve experienced. Make sure to ask them what they liked and disliked about it so you know what you can expect, and if they stopped attending, ask them why they chose to do that. You should also consider focusing on groups of people who have the same views as you on parenting. Otherwise, it may not be much help.


To avoid commuting trouble, look for places that are close to your home or office. By narrowing your search down, in cases of emergencies, it wouldn’t be too inconvenient for you to pick up or drop off your child.


You should also look at your budget to make sure you can afford the daycare you have in mind. There are also several in-home daycares that are cheaper, and also have fewer children so your child can get one-on-one attention. However, how much you trust these in-home daycares should be carefully considered.

Reviewing Policies

Once you’ve picked out a daycare, you need to look into the technicalities of the facility itself. Make sure that there are enough employees to care for all the children, and provide meals and snacks. You should ask what kind of items are served during these times, and see if they match with your views on your child’s nutrition. Since, at this age, toddlers have special needs regarding their food and need more attention, you want to see that the policies are suitable.

Ask about their sick-child policy and how they handle conflict between different children. You should also ask about the curriculum. Daycares are an important source for children’s early education, and if your child is spending so much time during their developmental years in daycare, they should be learning there as well.

Before you make your final decision, make sure to visit the daycare and observe the interactions between the workers and children to see how your child would fit in and be cared for.