Child Care Aware of Eastern Washington

Types of Child Care

One challenging decision facing parents is choosing what type of child care is best for your family. Perhaps the smaller capacity and hominess of an in-home family child care appeals to you. Or, you may want a more structured daycare center that has a capacity for a larger number of children. Each type of care has something to offer to your child and to your family.

Family Child Care

In-home family child care businesses are programs run by a provider in a state-approved area of their home. Many parents prefer family child care for infants and young children because it offers a more relaxed environment with a small group of multi-aged children. Because of this smaller-scale setting, a family child care provider can offer a more personalized learning environment.

When looking for a family child care provider, it is important to be comfortable with the home, the other children enrolled there, and the caregiver. When you visit a family child care program, observe the activities being offered, the interaction between the caregiver and the children, how your child fits in with the rest of the children and the family, and how well the children and the provider use the space available for them to play in. Ask the provider about her experience in child care, and inquire about what training she has had. The more questions you ask, the better informed your decision will be.

To get a better sense of what to look for and expect from your visit to an in-home family child care provider, watch this short video: "Choosing Quality Child Care: Family Child Care."

Child Care Center:

Opting for a day care center means that your child will be in a larger group setting. Center-based programs generally care for larger numbers of children, who are typically grouped together by age. Day care centers tend to offer a more structured learning environment, which many parents prefer for older children who may benefit from a more curriculum-informed learning environment. It is also an appealing option if you would like your child to be with peers of the same age.
To get a better sense of what to look for expect from your visit to a day care center, watch this short video: "Choosing Quality Child Care: Day Care Center."

State Staffing Requirements for Child Care Providers. (PDF)