Daycare – How To Find The PERFECT Place For Your Peanut

Yes, I realize that I am a stay-at-home-mom, but I do have A LOT of information and knowledge on the daycare subject.  I worked in daycare for many years and I also had our first child in daycare for the first year and a half of her life.  So I have complied questions to ask and pros and cons to home and center care.

Home Daycare

A home daycare is a small setting daycare with many children of all different ages.  Usually there is one main caregiver who is with your child(ren) every day.  This is in some ones home (hence “home” daycare).  It has a family feel.


  • One (sometimes two) caregivers, so your child gets to know that caregiver personally and does not have many caregivers throughout the day.
  • A home setting, much like your own house or a relatives home
  • One-on-one care
  • Many different ages for learning and growing all in one room
  • USUSALLY cheaper than a center based daycare
  • More flexible times for drop-off and pickup


  • Only one set of eyes
  • Only one opinion
  • You have to trust this person fully, if anything happens, it is only their word
  • This person is with the kids ALL day, they do not get a break

Center Based Daycare Center

A center based daycare center is usually in a free-standing building or within a school or church.  There are usually classrooms based on age or developmental age.  Teachers are hired and many times contain CEU’s (credits that have been earned from courses on child development information) and/or college courses.  Many centers required monthly training.  There is a director that oversees the entire center.


  • Many sets of eyes
  • Caregivers get breaks
  • Children are in a room based on developmental age or age
  • There is usually a rigid schedule, children can count on this schedule
  • People are in and out all day
  • There is usually high security
  • Many times there is a set curriculum that is followed
  • fewer incidents (studies show)


  • More expensive (in most cases than a home daycare)
  • More children in one area (the teacher-to-child ratio is a little different than a home daycare)
  • Children pick up illnesses more frequently because they are surrounded by more children
  • Rigid pickup and drop-off schedules

Questions to ask

  • Are you a licensed center/daycare?
  • Am I allowed to stop in without notice?
  • Do I have to pay when my child is not here?
  • Do I get any vacation time?
  • What is the teacher to child ratio?
  • What is considered fulltime?
  • What is considered part time?
  • How often are diapers changed?
  • Does the tuition include food/snacks?
  • What plans are in place for emergencies? (fire, natural disaster, illness, etc.)
  • What is the sick policy?
  • What is your philosophy of childcare/education?
  • What is the daily schedule?
  • Who will be in contact with my child throughout the day?
  • What is the late policy?

In my personal experience, I have found that both types of daycares can be great if the right questions are asked, both parties are under a clear understanding of expectations and love is able to be seen for your child.

We did have to remove our child from one home daycare due to the lack of trust after a few incidents.  I asked all of the questions in the beginning, felt comfortable, and made sure that my child was in a licensed daycare, but unfortunately, it didn’t last.  The women watching her would tell me how stressed she was, she over fed my child so that she would be content, and my child lost a tooth in her care with changing stories from the caregiver.  We removed her from this place and found a WONDERFUL homecare for her.

Finding the right place for you and your peanut takes time and preparation.  Ask questions, stop in unannounced, get to know who is caring for your little one.  Don’t let anyone tell you are “doing it wrong”.  Go with your gut.  Ask parents who take their children to the same daycare their thoughts.  If your gut is telling you NO then do keep searching!

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