Step Up To Quality Stories

5 Tips on How to Find High Quality Child Care From a Distance

A common piece of advice when parents are searching for child care is to “trust your gut” when meeting with the director or owner, and touring the facility.

But what can parents rely on when they can’t tour a facility in person?

The COVID-19 pandemic is changing the way a lot of things are done, and searching for child care is no exception. The good news is that parents can find high quality child care without going on a tour. It’s not ideal, but families have been in this circumstance before. For example, families who are moving to a new town, members of the military who are stationed away from their children and people who are immunocompromised all have had to choose child care providers without meeting in person.

Here are five tips on finding high quality child care, even when you’re unable to take a tour:

    1. Start with Step Up to Quality. Your first step in finding high quality child care providers in Nebraska should be referencing Step Up to Quality’s list of providers who are enrolled in the program. This list can help you narrow down your choices – programs that are participating in Step Up to Quality are going above and beyond normal licensing requirements to continuously improve the quality of their care.
    2. Ask your network. Check with friends, co-workers, neighbors, family members and even your pediatrician to see if they have any recommendations. Search on social media, including ones like the Nextdoor app, to see if people have referrals. Google and Yelp reviews can also sometimes help.
    3. Take a virtual tour. Most people have smartphones with video capabilities, so ask potential child care providers to take you on a live video tour of their facility. Whether it’s by FaceTime or Google Meet or Zoom or any number of free video conferencing tools, a live view of a child care’s rooms and surroundings is important to see. Don’t be afraid to “direct” the tour by asking to see specific corners of a room or areas like the director’s office or their kitchen.
    4. Check your priorities. Make a list of “must-haves” and “nice to haves” and take notes about the different child care providers you are considering.
    5. Consider relationships. How accommodating is the child care director to your questions and your needs? Do they seem flexible and eager to work with you? Developing a relationship with the director or owner is important right off the bat, and can be a key factor in deciding what provider to choose.

While searching for a child care provider from a distance can involve a few extra steps, with careful consideration and using the resources available to you, your child can end up in a place where they’ll grow and thrive.