The struggle is real for parents looking for childcare.

Finding a safe, happy environment for your child to go when you are at work is a big concern for parents everywhere.

We break down the top five tips to help you pick the right place.

Tip number one in finding childcare: start early! Maybe before the child is even born depending on when you need the care to begin.

For more tips, we turned to a childcare expert at the University of Tennessee, Patty Bowlin.

She says your gut feeling is real!

“I always want people to visit. That’s the thing, I don’t want people just to call and find the first available agency that has an opening. I want them to be selective,” Bowlin said.

During your visit, Bowlin says make sure the kids at the facility are happy!

“I want them to look for children that are playing ... that’s how young children learn best. They are nosy. They are curious. They need to be on the floor playing to be having access to different materials, and I want teachers to be on the floor with them,” she said.

A teacher’s tone can also be a big indicator on if the school is right for you.

“I feel like you get a sense that there’s a level of respect there that children have a lot to teach us, and so I always feel like a really good teacher is armed, watching, observing, listening and playing. I want somebody who’s engaged,” Bowlin said.


It’s also important that the program is licensed by the state of Tennessee.

“You know kids need to feel safe first and foremost, that’s the most important thing. They need to feel loved and so safety and love can go a long way in care that would be really good quality,” she said.