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10 Signs Of A Bad Daycare Provider

Our children are the most important people in the world to us and allowing other people to care for them such as daycare, nannies, or even family members can be tremendously difficult.

Finding the right care for your little one is imperative and requires a great deal of time and research.

So if you have decided that daycare is the right environment for your child and meets the needs of your individual family situation, the next thing you need to know is what to look out for.

We have put together 10 signs of a bad daycare provider to help you find the best care for your children.

10 Signs Of A Bad Daycare Provider

There are many signs that may tip you off that the daycare setting you are viewing is not the right one for you or in fact, may just be a bad daycare altogether. Here are our top ten things that should raise red flags for you:

1. High Employee Turnover

Working in daycare can be a tough job and those employers who do not treat their staff well or value them will not keep them for very long.

The problem with that is that children need consistency to ensure that they feel safe and secure especially when away from their familiar home setting.

They will often get attached to the staff and look forward to seeing the same familiar faces each day. When there is a constant turnover of staff children can feel insecure.

2. Space Is Overcrowded Or Too Small

Daycares are only allowed to care for a certain number of children and this ratio is decided by the number of staff that they have as well as the space they can provide.

This number does vary from state to state and also the age of the children plays a part. Overcrowded daycares are not only a potential fire hazard but it is also impossible for children to get the individual care and attention that they need.

3. Lack Of Cleanliness

When I say cleanliness I do not mean immaculate spaces that look like there are no children there. I have 5 children so I know how much mess they can actually make in a very short space of time.

But what I do mean is that basic cleanliness is a priority after all this can make the difference between your child becoming sick at daycare or having a fantastic healthy experience.

4. Licensing Requirements Are Not A Priority

You need to make sure you know and understand the licensing requirements for your state. It will help you to check and actually see if the daycare is at least meeting the bare minimum requirements.

These requirements are there in order to keep children and staff safe and to prevent any avoidable accidents or incidents.

If the daycare is not following requirements in one area then there is a pretty good chance that they are not following them in other areas too.

5. There Is No Clear Schedule

Daycares should be a structured environment where children are given the opportunity to choose different activities within it.

Typical activities at daycare may include music, arts and crafts, cooking, storytime, outdoor play, nap time, meal times, and free play. They should also provide children with the opportunity to work on their different skills such as motor skills, language, social, reading, and writing.

If you attend daycare and there is no clear schedule in place then this should immediately be a big red flag for you. The same red flag should be raised if they advertise a schedule but do not actually stick to it – this may show that they are doing the same in other areas of care.

6. Children Leave Dirty And Hungry

Daycare facilities should ensure that your baby is clean, has a clean diaper, and is not covered in food. 

Depending on the age of your child they will often ask you to provide them with multiple changes of clothing so that your child is always dry and clean.

You will also be asked to supply diapers and wipes for your baby but if for any reason you run out they should also have their own supply and no child should be left in a dirty diaper for this reason – if this happens this is another red flag.

7. Field Trips

One of the best parts of your child going to daycare is the chance for them to experience day trips. But parents should always be aware of these types of day trips and be able to state if they do not want their child going on them for any reason.

8. Not Easy To Communicate With

A good daycare should send home daily reports and should always be available to communicate with you openly, after all, they are caring for your children. Ask how they keep in touch with parents, email, phone, text message?

Do they use social media or a website that is regularly updated? They should be happy to share all the information with you about your child the good and the bad – no one’s child is perfect all of the time.

9. Safety Issues Spotted

This is going to be one of the biggest red flags when it comes to daycare. While you are there take a look at doors and windows and check that they have childproof locks.

What about cabinets and storage is it all safe, secure, and childproof. Toilet facilities do they offer age-appropriate toilets, potty, and handwashing stations. Do their outdoor areas have appropriate surfaces and is equipment well maintained. 

But safety is not just about the material things, what is their process for allowing visitors into the setting?

What if someone else is picking up your child – do they have a security process in place for this like a password? Ask as many questions as you like they will help you get a better feel for the place.

10. It Just Doesn’t Feel Right

You may go to daycare and it may tick all the boxes for being the best daycare on paper, the place is spotlessly clean, the children are happy and the staff are pleasant and open. But you just have a strange feeling about it – trust your instinct!

Moms are often frowned upon by professionals for just having a feeling something is not right with their child but that mother’s instinct is more often than not correct.

My advice would be to follow your instinct when it comes to the health and safety of your children. It may not be something that can be scientifically measured but it is also not something that should be ignored, it is a unique talent that parents have – use it!!


How do you know your child is unhappy in daycare?

Every child needs time to settle into new surroundings but if you are noticing extremes in their behavior it may be a sign that they are not happy in daycare. They become extremely clingy at drop-off times or become clingier at home. They may go the other way and you may notice that they ignore you.

Do babies feel abandoned at daycare?

As a parent, it is completely natural for you to feel uncertain and question whether you should really be leaving your baby at daycare.

But there are ways that you can help them to transition – pack a familiar toy or blanket that reminds them of home and provide them with comfort throughout the day. 

Why does my child cry all day at daycare?

It is normal for young children to cry at daycare or even school, particularly at drop-off times.

Children do go through periods of separation anxiety but they are predictable – many babies experience separation anxiety at around 7 months old and usually improves before they turn one.

The Final Thought

Deciding to place your child in daycare is a big step and finding the right place for them is imperative to family health and happiness.  These warning signs will help guide you to finding the best care possible for your child.

Maybe you are still trying to weigh up the different childcare options available to you such as nanny vs daycare vs au pairs