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

7-minute read 

There are so many options when looking for a caregiver, so how do choose when it can’t be you? Kate Jordan-Downs, KinderCare’s Senior Director of Education and mom of two, gives you some of our guiding principles to guide your own caregiver search, plus top questions you should ask on these topics: 
  • Health and safety practices. 
  • A learning environment that celebrates diversity, equity and inclusion while fostering self-confidence. 
  • Creating connections with teachers and friends to build social and emotional skills. 
  • Dedicated curriculums for all ages, stages and learning styles of early childhood development. 
  • Developmental screenings to ensure your child is where they need to be or find out if they need a little extra support in some areas. 
We know that trusting your baby (or toddler or preschooler) with a new caregiver is a big step. We get it. You’re probably feeling all the feelings right now: worry, guilt, and maybe even relief that you will get the help you deserve.  
There are so many options when looking for a caregiver, so how do you choose when it can’t be you? Kate Jordan-Downs, KinderCare’s Senior Director of Education, is here to help you meet this moment for your family by providing some of our guiding principles to guide your own caregiver search. 

mom greeting child and teacher smiling

Where They Are Safe and Loved

Caring for your child is a huge responsibility, and KinderCare takes it as seriously as you do. That’s why we place such importance on safety. We post our health and safety policies, plus Frequently Asked Questions, and more, all on our site so you can refer back to it whenever you’d like. Plus, 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!). They also make themselves available to you, to answer your questions, whenever you have them. 
Questions to ask as you search: 
  • What are their health and safety procedures? 
  • Do they have a warm and loving demeanor with babies and children? 
  • Are teachers or providers CPR-certified? 
  • What is their approach to nap time? 


Where They Will Be Seen and Welcomed for Who They Are

Whenever you step through a KinderCare 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 is the most important thing in the world. 

KinderCare is a safe space for children to explore who they are and learn about others. We create opportunities for your child to see reflections of themselves and their beliefs, customs, and cultures in our classroom community. Every child is unique and they develop at their own pace and in their own way. That’s why a team of classroom advisers support our teachers in meeting every child’s needs and interests to design a learning environment that celebrates diversity, equity and inclusion while fostering self-confidence.   
Questions to ask as you search: 
  • How do they communicate with families? 
  • How do they work with families to bring out the best in each child? 
  • What are ways they foster diversity, equity and inclusion? 

dad cuddling sleeping baby

Where They Will Build Important Relationships

Our teachers’ trained ears and eyes know how to listen to your child’s needs—at different ages and stages—and respond with age-appropriate suggestions and questions. In particular, questions help them learn and feel confident about their choices. 
And we don’t just emphasize teacher connections, friendships among children themselves are also meaningful for their development. They help build independence, self-confidence, and self-esteem, and also help set children up for success. 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 to ask as you search: 
  • Do teachers engage children by asking questions and talking respectfully to them? 
  • How do they handle tears or children working to share a toy? 
  • Do they have a social-emotional curriculum? 

Where 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. 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 multi-use materials, so that your child can explore and use their imagination to 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 infants, designed to help build their brains with new sensory and language experiences. Click here to watch a short 5-minute video with our Vice Chair and Senior Advisor, Dr. Elanna Yalow, talking to a new mom about early learning for infants and how teachers can help boost your baby’s brain development by building connection to people and things around them. 
Questions to ask 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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Where They Get Ready for Kindergarten…and Life!

As educators who have been at it for nearly 50 years, KinderCare wants you to have the information you need so you can come together with our teachers to help your child reach their full potential and develop confidence for life. 

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. We have administered the TerraNova kindergarten assessment for nearly a decade, and year over year 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 your child can get a huge leg-up on learning, which they carry with them always.  
You want the best for your baby or child when it can’t be you who cares for them. And today’s unknowns can make your decision that much harder. As you begin this process, click here see a short 5-minute video with our Chief Academic Officer, Dr. Elanna Yalow, giving her advice on what to look for in safe care that your family can feel confident in. 
Now that you have seen some of KinderCare’s guiding principles and you have questions to ask providers, you’re ready to take the first steps toward finding the best caregiver for your family. 
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