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Aside from other important steps like checking out the childcare provider’s license, background, reputation, and experience in caring for children, there are some other things to keep in mind when choosing a childcare center or daycare home. 

1.  The personality of the childcare provider.  Is the person responsible for caring for your child friendly, attentive, and knowledgeable?  While anyone can have a bad day, if the provider appears overly stressed, terse, or even hostile, you should move on to the next place on your list. 

2.  What is the environment like?  Does the childcare center or daycare home offer plenty of space for children to play?  There should be a good selection of toys and books and children’s areas should be nicely decorated.  Play and learning areas should be bright, cheery, and stimulating, and nap areas should be soothing. 

3.  How do the other children seem to like the environment?  Are other children in the childcare center or daycare home happy and playful?  If children are too quiet or seem unhappy, these are good indicators that the provider may be too strict, unkind, or inattentive.

4.  Learn about illness and head lice policies.  Are children required to leave and remain at home if they are contagious, running a fever, or suffering from head lice?  You don’t want your children to suffer because the home or center has lax policies.  Sick children belong at home, and children with head lice should not be allowed to return until all evidence of lice is gone. 

There are of course, many other things to consider, but these four points are very important when you’re choosing a place where your child will spend many hours in someone else’s care.