Choosing child care is one of the most important decisions families make. Finding the right caregiver is often challenging. Even though parents are the most important people in their child’s life, the relationship your child has with their caregiver will also affect how they feel about themselves and the world around them. Gather as much information as possible to ensure that the decision you make is a wise one.

The Basics of Good Child Care

Good child care requires three important things:

  • A well-trained, consistent caregiver.
  • A setting that keeps your child safe and healthy.
  • An environment that enhances your child’s physical, mental, emotional, and social growth.

One of the first things a parent should look for in any setting is the amount of playtime provided to the children. Young children learn best by using all their senses to explore the world around them. Through play, children develop and master basic skills.

How Do I Select Care for My Child?
Your child care choice is one of the most important decisions you will ever make. At stake are your child’s happiness and well-being and your peace of mind. When you make an important purchase, you shop around, compare quality and prices, ask questions and talk to other people using the product. So when you choose child care you should take these same steps to ensure quality care for your child.

Determine your family’s needs in terms of hours, location, days of year (including holidays and vacations) and transportation. Determine what type of setting is best for your child. Call the Child Care Council of KY to find child care programs in your area: specific to your family’s needs. Then, visit at least three places and LOOK, LISTEN and ASK.


  • Are the surroundings safe, clean, and attractive?
  • Are the caregivers talking and playing with the children?
  • Are there a variety of toys and learning materials available?
  • Count the number of children in a group. A small number of children per adult is very important for babies and young children.


  • What does the child care setting sound like? A place that is too quiet may mean not enough activity. A place too noisy may mean there is a lack of control.
  • Are the caregivers’ voices relaxed and reassuring?


  • It is very important that adults who care for your children have early childhood knowledge and experience
  • Ask about the background of all staff who will have contact with your child.
  • Ask about the training the staff will receive
  • Ask about the state license or certification Ask to see their statement of deficiencies

Observation Checklists

  • Caregivers have training specific to the ages of the children in their care.
  • Children are not expected to sit quietly or wait for long periods of time.
  • There is a daily schedule that makes children feel comfortable and secure.
  • Indoor and outdoor spaces are safe and developmentally appropriate.
  • Children and adults wash hands after diapering/toileting and before meals.
  • Furniture and equipment are child sized.
  • Medicine and cleaning products are out of the reach of children.
  • Discipline is handled in a gentle, but firm manner.
  • Rules are clear, simple and consistent.
  • Learning materials and toys are available and within easy reach of children.
  • Outdoor play occurs daily; weather permitting.
  • Each child has their own crib or cot.
  • Parents are welcome at any time, without prior notice.
  • Caregivers respond quickly in a loving, gentle way.
  • Parents and children greeted upon arrival