Are you feeling uneasy about your child’s daycare and you’re not sure if you’re just imagining it? Check out how to spot the signs of bad daycare.

Warning Signs of Bad Daycare

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Are you feeling uneasy about your child’s daycare and you’re not sure if you’re just imagining it? Check out how to spot the signs of bad daycare. If you are having problems with your child’s daycare, what can you do to deal with it?

sad child sitting against a wall leaning his face into his hands.

Signs of bad daycare

There are many different kinds of childcare available for children. Some of it is more beneficial than others. Sometimes you might have to break up with your daycare provider, but sometimes it can be avoided by working out your differences together.

There are so many fabulous daycare providers out there that are doing an amazing job caring for children. The news stories sensationalizing when something goes wrong or blaming a childcare provider when something happens to a child that was an accident, or even something the parent asked the provider to do makes it even harder to see there is so much good out there.

child crying

Many providers are giving their all to provide amazing care for little ones. There are a few tips you can use to help you find a jewel for your childcare needs.

There are other times when daycare is just not good and you should move your kids to another facility.

Leaving your kids in the hands of another person so you can work is a personal thing. It’s a scary thing. You can’t be there to know everything that goes on. There are some red flags that may indicate that maybe the environment is not the best one for children. When you find that you have bad daycare, it’s time to move on.

Daycare red flags

Here are some red flags that you should take notice of. And the number one thing to do is trust your instincts. If you feel like something is off, RUN, don’t walk away.

Kids say they don’t want to go to daycare because who doesn’t love snuggling at home in your pjs with mom? Kids are also tired sometimes. But if your children are really upset about spending time at daycare, there may be more going on than you realize.

No communication. This is a big indicator that someone might be hiding something. Not always, some people are just not good at communicating, but sometimes a provider won’t communicate because the things going on at the facility are not good. If you express that you need communication and the provider still refuses, it’s time to look for care somewhere else. This may be bad daycare.

Being defensive. It’s natural for providers to feel insecure when someone questions them, they are people, but if they are super defensive about anything you ask or say, it might not be a good fit. Sometimes we are defensive about things we know we shouldn’t be doing.

pencil with word unsafe written and un crossed out

Signs your child is unhappy at daycare

Multiple write-ups/visits from DHS. Check your provider’s record. In Oklahoma, you can look at all of our licensing visits on childcare locator. If the provider is always being written up, maybe they aren’t the best provider.

There are times when a provider gets a licensing worker that may write them up needlessly, but you can ask them and they can explain what their write-ups are for. If they are deal breakers for you, look elsewhere. Don’t forget about that okdhs child care locator!

Extremes. If a facility is too clean it may not be developmentally appropriate. Kids make messes when they play. They have to do something all day. If it’s too messy, maybe it’s not sanitary or maybe the kids aren’t receiving enough supervision throughout the day. I would tend to worry about safety issues.

Harsh caregiver. If caregivers are very harsh in front of observers, they are probably harsher in private. This is a big red flag. I have had someone mention this to me about a provider at their church. She’s so mean to her own son, I’m afraid she’d be mean to my daughter. That’s a legitimate concern friend. Listen to your gut.

Cheaper than other providers. If a provider gives a super cut rate, you might be getting what you pay for.

Won’t give receipts for payment. This may be an indicator that the provider is not a rule follower. They may not be paying taxes as they should. They may not be following other regulations either.

Closed-door policy. If your provider does not welcome you at any time, that’s not good. I like to ask parents, please don’t pick up at nap and wake up the kids. I tell them I’m busy at lunch because I make lunch. But if you drop by your daycare and are not welcome in no matter what time it is, that is not okay. Your provider should invite you to drop by any time you would like.

Now, if your child sees you, be prepared to take them. Don’t torture them and the provider by showing up and then leaving. That’s not nice. But there should always be an open-door policy.

Too much unannounced time off. This can be frustrating for you as a parent trying to be a good employee. Your provider deserves time off, but they should give you at least two weeks’ notice when they do. I like to give out my days off in January for the year. Once in a while, an emergency comes up, but I try my very hardest to keep it to a minimum. Providers should be respectful of parents and their work schedules.

Everyone’s crying and the caregiver doesn’t respond. There are times when everyone is crying in here and if you have younger babies, they might all have to cry for a while until It’s their turn to get picked up and taken care of, but if you walk in at pick up or drop off and there are always kids crying and the caregiver is not responding to their needs or seems unconcerned, this is cause for you to be concerned this might be bad daycare.

No paperwork. If there is no paperwork involved in enrolling or staying enrolled in the facility, this might be an indicator that something is not being done correctly. It may not be a deal-breaker, but it may. Ask if there is anything you need to fill out. Find out more about their policies. There should be some records of your child’s care and if not, why not.

There are many good and bad providers out there just like there are good and bad doctors and good and bad teachers. Your provider should be loving and caring to your kids and to you as their parent. If they’re not, it may be time to find a different one. Caring for your precious child is a privilege and should be treated like it. And find a wonderful childcare provider is a blessing and you should appreciate and hold onto one if you have it.

top picture an upset child crying with the words warning signs of bad daycare and a caution symbol on the bottom

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