Choosing Child Care

Finding the right child care for your baby or young child can seem overwhelming.  You want to make sure that your child is safe and happy. You want their child care to be fun, educational, and nurturing. Here are some tips on how to choose child care.

Consider Your Child

When choosing child care, it is helpful to understand your child's temperament and personality.

  • What does your child like or dislike? 
  • What are your child’s needs for nurture and individual attention?
  • How does your child manage challenges?
  • Does your child have special health needs?

For more tips, read “Matching Your Infant’s or Toddler’s Style to the Right Child Care Setting” by Zero to Three and Child Care Aware.

Choosing Child Care

There are many types of child care opportunities.  Child care can be when a child goes to a center.  Or it can when a child stays home with a friend or relative while parents are at work.  Each opportunity is a unique learning experience.  Here are some tips for choosing a child care

  • Get a list of child care providers
  • Call providers to find about about availability, cost, staff-child ratio, licensing, hours of operation and more
  • Visit a variety of child care programs to see the facilities and watch how providers interact with children
  • Meet with a child care program director to discuss staff experience and education, sick child policies, and daily schedule of activities

For more tips, read “Choosing Child Care: How Do I Find the Right Program?” by the 4C’s of Alameda County.

Helping Your Child Adjust

Whether you are leaving your child with a grandparent or dropping them off at a child care center, it can take some time to adjust to the new routine.  It can also be an adjustment for you!  There are many easy steps you can take to help your child. 

  • Visit the child care with your child to meet the teachers and explore
  • Talk to your child about what to expect – activities, play time, snack and more
  • Bring your child’s special toy, blanket or pillow
  • Talk to your child’s caregiver about how to support your child.  Check in to see how your child is doing. 

For more tips, read "Helping Your Child Adjust to Child Care" by Help Me Grow Alameda County