How to choose quality daycare for your child

BISMARCK, N.D. - Nationally, there have been some daycares that have been in the spotlight for being a parents' worst nightmare. Like one in Plano, Texas, cited for 29 deficiencies.

How can a parent avoid this?

"Look into it. Look into their license. See if they've had a correction order. See if they've had any licensing violations," said Pam Palmer, Bright and Early North Dakota, Quality Rating System Manager

Bright and Early North Dakota is a volunteer quality ratings system that can help parents and providers assess how a child care program caters to development.

Agencies like Child Care Aware and Bright and Early North Dakota say parents should start with the basics.

It should be a hazard free environment for children, similar to any precautions you'd take in your own home.

Ask plenty of questions when you're touring a facility, as well.

"Ask if it's okay to stop in any time. That's a big red flag if a provider says yeah but why don't you let me know ahead of time," said Pam Palmer, Bright and Early North Dakota, Quality Rating System manager.

And, ask about how they discipline children.

"If your child is able to talk, ask them everyday what happened. If they're saying they're in time out multiple times a day, that's a red flag," said Palmer.

After the basics, environment and interaction is key.

This daycare has a three-star quality rating, so if a parent were to come in and tour it, they would notice that it's spatially divided, has duplicate toys, and has multiple centers for children to gravitate to for their own individual interests.

A childcare facility should also offer a play based learning schedule appropriate for each age group.

"They'll go out and do that activity and come back with the teacher and revisit what worked, what didn't work. And it's teaching children early to set goals," said Mindy Garland Sayler, YMCA Youth Development Center site director.

Doing several reference checks can also help parents make a decision.

For more information on choosing childcare, parents can visit Child Care Aware's website for checklists and tips.