What are Parents looking for in a Dayhome?

So. You’ve decided to run a dayhome; either privately, or with an agency. Whether you are new at this, or just need a refresher, here are some tips: WHAT are parents looking for?

First and foremost, parents are looking for a place where their child is going to be happy.  Leaving your child in care is hard enough. Knowing they are happy takes a HUGE weight off our minds. First impressions are huge. As a parent, the following points help me know that my children will be happy in their dayhome, and I will be happy to drop them off there:

  • Is your dayhome child friendly? Are there a broad range of toys and activities for boys and girls of all age ranges?  We want to know our children will not get bored and will be stimulated appropriately.  Have a variety of books, crafts, and toys to engage all kids.
  • Is your dayhome clean?  We understand you are looking after many children and sometimes tidiness is tough, but food crusted on chairs and tables, and mud on the floor is NOT ok.  Have the kids help you clean up as part of their dayhome routine!
  • Are you open to drop in visits? As parents, if we need to book an appointment to visit the dayhome once our child is registered, we wonder if you have something to hide. 
  • Is your dayhome safe for children of all ages? We want see gates on stairs, broken toys mended or trashed, plug covers on outlets,  doors to cupboards with child safety guards on them, etc. We realize you cannot plan for every possible eventuality, but our peace of mind is your peace of mind, because you want them to be safe too!
  • Can you explain what kind of programming you offer?  Some parents are looking for a purely play based dayhome, some are looking for more of a preschool program (check out our BaC Pac!), and some are looking for an emergent learning based program. Think about what you love to do, or teach, and work with that strength.
  • Are the meals and snacks healthy? Do you provide opportunity for physical activity? With childhood obesity on the rise (currently at 26%), we are more and more conscious of healthy eating habits.  Do you provide fruits, vegetables, healthy grains, etc?  Trips to the park, walks around the neighbourhood and a fun, active outdoor space encourage our children to MOVE.
  • Do you accomodate for dietary intolerances/allergies?  Many children these days have some kind of dietary intolerance or allergy.  We as parents of these kids (read dairy, soy and gluten intolerance) need to be confident that your meals are not going to set off any reactions.  We, as parents, provide “safe” alternatives for our son, which works really well for us.
  • Do you have certifications, training and/or experience in regards to caring for children?  These provide peace of mind, and show that you have thought about the different facets of caring for kids.
  • Are you organized?  A dayhome who provides a package outlining all of the above shows that you are organized and have thought through all the ins and outs of caring for children. A contract to sign, forms clearing you to administer needed medications or transport children, and a handbook outlining your dayhome will go a long way to impressing prospective parents! Need a start up package? We can do that!

Whether you are a parent looking for a dayhome, a new dayhome provider just getting started, or an experienced dayhome needing a pick me up, hopefully these tips will help you get things moving in the right direction.
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2 thoughts on “What are Parents looking for in a Dayhome?

  1. Sierra

    Another question I get asked is how many children do I care for. Some day homes take as many as they can others follow regulations. Personally I only have 4 children, 5 including my daughter. Over crowding is not good for the children or provider.

    1. Faye Holt Faye Holt

      Absolutely. Everyone has their limits as to what numbers they can handle. I’ve always felt that littler kids should mean less kids, but if you’ve only got school-aged kids, a few more is totally manageable.


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