6 Ways to Tell Your Child Care Provider Isn’t the Right Fit

You may have spent countless hours carefully researching, getting referrals and visiting great child care providers in your area. You think you’ve found the perfect child care provider for your family, and decide to enroll your child. Even if initially the fit seems right, your child may struggle to respond to the environment, or other factors could have you reconsidering your choice.

1. They Don’t Listen to Your Requests or Concerns

If you bring up concerns or requests about your child’s care, you should expect them to be acknowledged and addressed by staff members or supervisors in a pleasant and helpful manner. If you find that your comments are not taken seriously or ignored altogether, this can be a major red flag. It could be that the center’s learning and development approach is different than your personal and family philosophies, or the center staff team may not being putting parent communication at the forefront of their priorities list.

2. They Don’t Communicate Well

Excellent child care providers take care to ensure parents are involved in their child’s care and center activities whenever possible. Newsletters, notifications of policy changes, family meetings and regular reports on child progress should all be made available to parents on a regular basis. If your child care provider does not hold meetings, does not send regular communications or actively discourages parent visits and involvement, it may be time to look elsewhere for better care.

3. The Staff Changes Frequently

Regular employee turnover could be a sign that your child care provider is not treating their staff well. Consistency is very important for young children as they develop, and if caregivers don’t stay around at the daycare for long, children cannot reap the benefits of care from those they are familiar with and have become attached to. Be wary if you see new faces every time you visit the center.

4. There Isn’t Enough Staff

Have you visited your center and found that a single teacher is working with too many children? Overcrowding not only compromises the standard of care that a child care facility can provide – it’s also a safety issue. By law, a child care provider must comply with the staff to child ratio set out by their state, province or territory to ensure that each child gets the attention and care they need. If you consistently see a too-high child to staff ratio, start searching for new care.

5. You Notice Safety Issues

Part of the reason you chose this particular center was its attention to health and safety. If you notice signs that safety standards are starting to slip, consider making a change. Pay attention to a wide range of potential safety hazards, such as unsafe playground equipment or toys, the location and accessibility of first aid supplies, and the overall level of cleanliness. If any safety problems are not rectified immediately by your child care provider, it is definitely time to look elsewhere.

6. Something Doesn’t Feel Right

Sometimes as a parent you just have a feeling that something is off. If you have a bad feeling about your child care provider at any point, trust your gut. You know your child best, and can identify when a daycare isn’t the right fit for their needs.

Remember that while there could be challenges with the care at your center, more often than not, this is a fit issue. Talk with your child care provider about your concerns, and in the end, select the care that meets the needs of your child best.

Ron Spreeuwenberg

Ron is the Co-Founder & CEO of HiMama, where he leads all aspects of a social purpose business that helps early childhood educators improve learning outcomes for children.


  • Madeline S Alcaraz says:

    I used to work in YMCA Child Care. I was laid off along with lots of educators. I started browsing the Warning Signs a Child Care centre doesn’t fit for your child and it lead me here in this blog. I was curious about the HI Mama and would like to study several parents’ concerns.

    I would like to ask if another topic about the educators’ feelings would be included in a particular blog.

  • Last week, I met my sister for lunch, and we talked about how she needs to find a daycare for her kids before all the good ones are taken. It’s great that you explained how we could identify a professional and reliable childcare center, so I’ll gladly share your article with my sister and hope she finds the right place soon. Thanks for the advice on childcare providers and how their staff must be enough for all the children.