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Quality Checklist for Choosing Child Care

​​​​​​​​This checklist can be a useful guide to parents as they are choosing child care.

​​What type of child care is best for my child?
Most families use a combination of care arrangements to meet all of their needs; the best child care arrangements are those that work best for you, your child, and your family.

Types of arrangements used by families include:

  • Parent only care
  • Care by a relative
  • Non-relative care by nannies, friends, or neighbors (in the child's home or a family child care home)
  • Child care centers
  • Specialized child care for children with special health needs.


​Why is it important to have high quality child care?
All of a child's early experiences, whether at home, in child care, or in other preschool settings are educational. The indicators of high quality care have been studied and are available in many formats. When care is consistent, emotionally supportive, and appropriate to the child's age, development, and temperament, there is a positive effect on children and families.

Depending on each child's needs, benefits of high quality child care can include:

  • Enhanced brain growth and child development

  • Greater success in school (better math and language skills)

  • Better cognition, social skills, interpersonal relationships, and self-regulation

  • Decreased need for special education and related services later

  • Lower adolescent pregnancy rates and lower juvenile crime

  • Higher graduation rates


How do I find quality child care in my area?
To find out what the quality child care options in your area are:

How do I know if my child is too sick to attend child care?
Visit the "When to Keep Your Child Home from Child Care"​ page.​

What are the laws, regulations, and standards that licensed child care centers and family child care homes should follow?
The AAP has collaborated with other key national organizations to determine national recommended standards and guidelines​ for child care programs. There are a variety of ways you can learn about national and state standards to better understand the guidelines that your child's program operates under.