Quality Child Care Selection

panorama of young children in child care settings
What is good child care?

Good child care requires three important things: 

  • a caregiver who provides your child with care and guidance and who works with you and your family to make sure your child grows and learns in the best way possible;
  • a setting that keeps your child safe and healthy;
  • activities suited to your child's stage of growth that help your child develop mentally, physically, socially and emotionally.

You might consider these general questions as you choose child care:

What type of caregiver would be best?

A good caregiver should be well-trained, and warm and loving toward children. Whether your child is an infant, toddler, or preschooler, the caregiver should encourage your child's interests and stimulate the children to explore and discover new things. Find out about their training and experience, and their attitude toward child rearing, guidance and discipline.

Is the setting suitable?

Whether you use in-home care, family day care, or center care, the facilities should be safe and healthy. Equipment--games, toys, and furniture--should be in good repair and appropriate for your child. The number of children in your child's group should be small enough to allow your child to receive individual attention.

What will the cost of care be?

Child care costs vary widely, depending on the type of care you use, the days and hours you need care, the part of the country you live in, and other factors. Investigate the costs of different kinds of child care available.

What types of child care are available?

In-home Care
An in-home caregiver is someone who comes to, or lives in, your home. The caregiver can be a relative or friend, or can be someone you pay to come to your home.

Family Day Care
This kind of day care is provided in the home of the caregiver, who is often a mother with children of her own. You may find a relative, friend or neighbor willing to care for your child in this way. Or you may find a family day care home run by someone you do not already know.

Center-based Care
Child care centers are established settings where children are cared for in a group away from their homes for all or part of the day.

There are many different kinds of center-based care, including preschools and parent cooperatives. Some of these centers are set up primarily to keep children safe and secure.

How do you choose quality child care to meet your family's needs?

Nebraska resources to help in choosing child care from Nebr. Department of Health and Human Services
Includes a list of questions to consider when choosing child care.

Establish positive relationships with child care professionals

Child care teacher with childrenA child caregiver is an important person in many children's lives. As parents, it is important to:

  1. Establish a positive relationship with your child's caregiver or teacher, starting when your child is an infant.
  2. Effectively communicate information about your family to the caregiver.

If there is a divorce in the family, the child caregiver plays a key role in helping children cope through this difficult time.