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How Do You Choose a Caregiver (When It Can't Be You)?

mom greeting child and teacher smiling

By Kate Jordan-Downs

We know that trusting new caregivers with your baby (or toddler or preschooler) is a big step. We get it. You’re probably feeling all the big feelings right now: worry, guilt, and maybe even relief that you will get the help you deserve. 

There are so many options to choose from when looking for child care, so how do you choose a center or the right provider when it can’t be you?

As KinderCare’s Senior Director of Education Programs, I’m obviously a big believer in our approach. Below, I am offering the guiding principles we use every day in caring for children. Hopefully, what guides us can help guide you in your search as well. 

Everyone Belongs In Our Circle

At KinderCare, we’re committed to building warm, welcoming and supportive classrooms for children of all abilities, backgrounds and experiences.

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They Will Be Safe and Loved

Caring for your child is a huge responsibility, and KinderCare takes it as seriously as you do. That’s why we do what it takes to keep children safe—so you feel sound. It also means making ourselves available to answer your questions, whenever you have them.

Our staff makes sure that safety (both physical and emotional) is priority number one. Our centers are regularly inspected to make sure everything meets or exceeds state standards. For babies, we follow safe sleep policies from the American Academy of Pediatrics to the letter.

Most importantly, we hire teachers who are naturally talented with babies and children. These gifted teachers do what it takes to make your child feel safe, loved, and ready to explore their world. Our infant teachers respond promptly to every coo, gurgle, smile, and cry your baby makes with kindness and compassion (just like you do!).

Questions you might ask yourself (and a director or provider) as you search:

  • Do they have a warm and loving demeanor with babies and children?
  • What are their safety procedures?
  • Are teachers or providers CPR-certified?
  • What is their approach to nap time?


They Will Be Seen and Welcomed for Who They Are

Whenever you step through our front door, you’ll know that you’re in a place where your child is safe, happy, and celebrated for who they are. Making your family feel at home here is the most important thing in the world to us.

Every child is unique. We love that! We also know that every child develops at their own pace and in their own way. We’re here for that exploration. That’s why we have an entire team of classroom advisers who support our teachers in meeting every child’s needs and interests. 

We work with you (mom, dad, or caregiver)! We love to get to know and create opportunities for children and their families to see reflections of themselves and their beliefs, customs, and cultures in our classroom community

Questions you might ask yourself (and a director or provider) as you search:

  • Do they have a regular way of communicating with families?
  • Is there artwork on the walls that reflects the diversity of the children?
  • How do they work with families to bring out the best in each child?

dad cuddling sleeping baby

They Will Build Important Relationships

If children love their teacher, they’ll love school—and learning.

Our teachers’ trained ears and eyes know how to listen to children’s needs—at different ages and stages—and respond with age-appropriate suggestions and questions. In particular, questions help children learn and feel confident about their choices (“I did it all by myself!”).

And it’s not just the connections with their teachers that we focus on. Friendships among children themselves—besides being adorable—are also so important. They help build independence, self-confidence, and self-esteem, and also help set children up for success. 

That’s why teaching social-emotional skills is central to KinderCare’s curriculum; so that children know how to share a special toy with a friend, collaborate on a finger-painting project, and understand the importance of kindness.

Questions you might ask yourself (and a director or provider) as you search:

  • Are teachers focused on what the children are doing?
  • Are they engaging with children by asking questions and talking respectfully to them?
  • How do they handle tears or children working to share a toy?

They Will Love to Learn

Right now, your child’s brain is growing faster than it ever will in their whole life, making amazing connections every second. That’s why every second of learning counts! 

Our classrooms are designed with this in mind, and our curriculum is built from the latest research in early childhood development to help little minds grow. 

Our preschool classrooms are set up with lots of books to encourage early literacy and are full of materials that are open-ended (i.e., have multiple uses). We do this so that kids can explore their imaginations and decide how (and what) they want to create. This kind of independent thinking builds critical-thinking skills and self-reliance. 

And yes, we have a curriculum for babies, too! From the minute they’re born, your baby is making connections between themselves and the people and things around them. Our curriculum is designed just for babies to help build their brains with new sensory and language experiences.

Questions you might ask yourself (and a director or provider) as you search:

  • Do they have a formal curriculum?
  • How do they help children develop reading and math skills in these important early years?
  • Is there a lot of time for open-ended play? Are children in charge of their own play?

A Lifetime Of Confidence Starts Here

Our teachers help every child build the confidence they need to try new things and explore the world around them.

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They Will Be Ready for Kindergarten…and Life!

All of the important work we do is focused on making sure your child develops confidence for life. As educators who have been at it for nearly 50 years, KinderCare wants you to have the information you need so parents and teachers can come together to help your child reach their full potential. 

Our teachers use Brigance® developmental screenings to make sure KinderCare kids ages zero to six are where they need to be—or find out if they need a little extra support in some areas.

And it’s working! For the seventh year in a row, TerraNova results show KinderCare kids are more prepared than their peers for grade school, outperforming other kids in key areas like math and literacy. That means that kids get a huge leg-up on learning, which they carry with them when they leave our doors. 

We know you want the best for your baby or child when it can’t be you who cares for them. It might be comforting to know that we want the same for you and yours. To help make your decision, check out our 8-Step Guide to Choosing a Child Care Center here. The best of luck with your search!