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Choosing a daycare

How to find the best child care for your child

Words of advice on finding good daycare: Be sure to visit a few times first. Photo credit: Kimberly K. Fritz

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Parents these days have to make a lot of choices. OB/GYN or midwife? Hospital or home birth? Natural childbirth or medically assisted? And this is all before the kid is even born!

One of the most important and life-impacting choices working parents face once that little bundle of joy arrives is the choice of daycare. With so many options, it can get confusing ... and nobody wants to make a mistake.

So what should parents look for when choosing a daycare facility for their little one?

"You want your child to thrive in an environment that's as clean, safe and nurturing as your own home," said Michelle Glacken, owner of Kiddie Academy, which is in Lacey.

She recommends that you visit prospective daycare centers and consider the following when making a decision:

  • Is playground equipment safe and age appropriate? Are children encouraged to play outside, weather permitting?
  • How do staff members interact with children on and off the playground? Are they cheerful, engaged, nurturing?  Is discipline handled in a positive manner?
  • How do caregivers interact with one another? Do they seem to get along with each other and work well together?
  • Is there a daily schedule? Is it posted in plain sight?
  • Are children engaged in a variety of activities, frequently of their own choosing?
  • What curriculum is used? Does it include music, art and opportunities for creative expression?
  • Is creativity encouraged and valued? Is children's artwork displayed at the child's eye level?
  • What security procedures are in place to keep your child safe?
  • Are all staff members trained in first aid, disease prevention (especially hand washing) and safe sleep protocols?
  • Is the facility clean, tidy and child-proof? Specifically, are cleaning products and other potential toxins stored out of the reach of children?
  • Is there daily communication between staff and parents? Is feedback encouraged and implemented?
  • Are parents welcome to drop by unannounced?
  • Do the hours of operation coincide with the parent's work schedule?
  • Are nutritious snacks and meals included, and are the menus posted?

Finding the right daycare can make life much less stressful for both parent and child, so take your time. Be choosy. In the end, you'll be glad that you were.

If you'd like to learn more about Kiddie Academy in Lacey, stop by at 1130 Galaxy Dr. NE, visit the website at, or call at 360.456.5700.

To help with your quest for child care, there are a number of websites which can aid your search. Visit and download "A Guide to Finding Quality Child Care in WA". Child Care Aware of Washington provides referrals to licensed child care in the community.  There is also a place to check the status of providers through Child Care Check. Visit or call 800.445.1114.

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