Signs of a Good/Bad Home Daycare


Though many parents prefer the idea of a more personal childcare experience through a home daycare, finding one of great quality can be a challenge. In some states, licensing and regulation is significantly less stringent for home daycare businesses. Because this can translate to less oversight and accountability, parents who are actively exploring home daycare options may face a challenge separating higher quality programs from those less desirable. With a basic understanding of what to look for and what to avoid in a home daycare, the right decision may be more easily made.

Typical Signs of a Good Home Daycare

Every home daycare is unique, which grants prospective clients greater flexibility in terms of finding the one which is best suited to their family. Still, there are some signs which can reliably indicate a high-quality home daycare program. Parents who are in the process of evaluating home-based daycare solutions should be actively looking for these indicators of quality.

  • Clear Policies and Rules – While center-based daycare establishments often provide a detailed, written breakdown of their policies and rules, this may not always be the case with some home daycare providers. A firm, clearly communicated set of rules and agreements allows parents to make a more informed decision. From late pickup fees to sick child rules, a good home daycare provider will make sure regulations are met.

  • Safety Measures and Cleanliness – A good home daycare center may not be as orderly at the end of the day as it is at drop-off, but it will always be sanitary and safe. Parents should look for basic baby-proofing measures to ensure kids’ safety, and evidence of sanitary practices. Diaper pails and changing areas will not be near food prep spaces, smoke and fire alarms will be functioning, and all equipment will be in good repair. Outside play areas and equipment should also be evaluated.

  • Experienced and Qualified Caregivers – Home-based daycare providers should have ample experience, along with all relevant first aid and CPR certifications. Because home-based daycare providers don’t always hire outside help, a good home daycare will be limited in clients to ensure the caregiver is able to adequately meet the needs of all children under their care.

  • Strong Reputation – Word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool, and a good home daycare provider will come highly recommended. Parents should make a point of investigating home daycare providers to learn more about their overall reputation, and to ensure that other parents have been satisfied with their childcare experience.

Common Red Flags


A bad home daycare situation can be a parent’s nightmare, which is why its so important for parents to learn how to spot the signs of a low-quality home program. While there are many ways in which a bad home daycare can indicate the presence of a problem, some are more common than others. From subtle signs to those of a more telltale nature, it pays for parents to carefully investigate a home daycare setting before entering into a childcare agreement. These are some of the more common red flags of which parents should make themselves aware when evaluating a home daycare program.


  • Lack of Stimulation – While a home-based daycare may not have the same set curriculum as a larger daycare center, appropriate stimulation is still essential. For instance, a reliance on television programming and videos instead of hands-on interaction may be a sign of a bad home daycare.

  • Disagreements About Discipline and Development – It’s important for parents and child care providers to have an understanding and be in agreement when it comes to parenting and discipline. While a strong disagreement may not necessarily be a sign of a bad daycare, it’s often the sign of a bad fit.

  • Lack of Licensing – Some states and counties don’t require small home daycare operators to be licensed, provided their client load is under a specific limit. Still, a lack of licensing may indicate a lack of dedication; a home daycare provider who’s serious about their business will take steps to procure the proper license.

  • Heavy Non-Business Traffic – Unlike center-based daycare where traffic tends to be heavily regulated, a home-based child care provider’s base of operations is also the place where they receive guests. A heavy flow of personal traffic can be an indicator of a bad home daycare, or at least one where kids are being exposed to new people without their parents’ knowledge or consent.

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