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11 things to avoid when choosing a day care
No Caption - photo by Herb Scribner
Parents are hoping to change the first rule of "Fight Club" to: Dont let children do it.

You can find these parents in Cranford, New Jersey, where two day care workers of The Lightbridge Academy Center were charged for encouraging fights between the day cares youngsters, according to The Associated Press.

Police reports say that the two workers encouraged children ages 4 to 6 years old to fight each other for one day in August like it was a scene from the movie "Fight Club," AP reported. The two workers also recorded the fights and shared them on social media. The videos allegedly show children shoving and punching each other, AP reported.

"I am so sad for all the parents who had children involved," one parent, Lindsey Bengivenge Klimuc, said, according to AP. "I hope these awful people get what they deserve."

Though its the fault of the workers and not the day care center, the "Fight Club" danger is just one bad experience kids can encounter while away from home. Here are 11 other things parents should watch out for when choosing a day care.

It doesnt let your child socialize

A 2013 study from Radboud University found that day cares often allow children a better chance at social interactions, which improves a childs social skills, ScienceDaily reported. This is especially true when children spend a lot of time in day care.

Children who are exposed to more days in play school may develop more efficient communication skills because of the greater variety of social situations that they encounter, ScienceDaily reported.

It doesnt have toys

Who didnt love toys as a child? They were the best Christmas gift and the perfect item to use during day care. BabyCenter reported that toys help children build their imagination and social skills. Toys may also help children interpret everyday life events.

For example, if a child sees parents come home with another child, he or she will be more nurturing and family-oriented with the toys to help the child understand how things are changing in their own life, BabyCenter reported.

Its not of the highest quality

A 2010 study form the U.S. National Institutes of Health found that children who are in high-quality day cares that is to say, day cares that offer warmth, support and cognitive stimulation will have higher academic achievement when they become teenagers, according to Reuters.

Those children were also less likely to participate in impulsive and risky behaviors, Reuters reported.

"High-quality child care appears to provide a small boost to academic performance, perhaps by fostering the early acquisition of school readiness skills," James Griffin of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development told Reuters.

It doesnt encourage physical activity

Children arent getting enough physical activity in day care or early education, according to a new study from the University of Washington in Seattle. The study said that preschoolers in Seattle, for example, spent 30 minutes every day outside. This is despite most guidelines suggesting day care instructors lead one-hour sessions of physical activity and one hour of unstructured free time, the study said.

Physical education and activities can help children increase their academic achievements and avoid obesity, CBS News reported.

"Children need daily opportunities for physical activity not only for optimal weight status, but because physical activity promotes numerous aspects of health, development and well-being," Dr. Pooja Tandon, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington in Seattle, told CBS News. Physical activity, which in this age occurs typically in the form of play, promotes cardiovascular, musculoskeletal and mental health and is associated with academic achievement."

It encourages aggressive behavior

The aforementioned day care in New Jersey had two workers who encouraged aggressive and physical behavior between children. But thats not something your day care should have since, as a 2015 study found, day care doesnt often lead to aggressive behavior, according to Science Daily.

The study, published in the Association for Psychological Science, found that day care wont encourage children to be aggressive or exhibit behaviors that would affect their social skills or emotional adjustment, Science Daily reported.

"From a public perspective, our findings are important because they should help ease parents' fears about the potential harms of early non-parental child care," Eric Dearing, the lead author of the study, told Science Daily.

It has too many staff members

Too many staff members may mean your child isnt getting the proper attention, according to Parents magazine. Here are the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations for child-to-staff ratio:

Under 1 year: 3-to-1

10 to 30 months: 4-to-1

31 to 35 months: 5-to-1

3-year-olds: 7-to-1

It has too much turnover

Do a lot of caregivers leave your day care year after year? That may be a bad sign, according to Parents magazine. Children establish a strong bond with their caregiver. So if the caregiver leaves, it could affect how much your child grows while at day care, Parents magazine reported.

"Children build trust by staying with one primary caregiver over time," Anne Goldstein, a former day care teacher, told Parents magazine. "With continuity of caregiving, there's one person who's attuned to your child's temperament."

It isnt clean

Some day cares are dirty and unsafe, which could put your child at risk for health issues, according to BabyCenter.

Day cares should keep food preparation areas far from the toilets and diaper-changing stations, and all floors, walls and kitchen areas should constantly be cleaned, BabyCenter reported. The facility should be well-maintained, and the staff should wash their hands often to avoid the spread of germs, BabyCenter reported.

It's a red flag if you don't see staff washing their hands after every diaper change (and sanitizing the changing area) or if the center generally looks poorly kept, BabyCenter reported. Pick up a few toys how sticky are they? Is the play area well organized?

It isnt safe

In the same vein, its important for day care facilities to have adequate space for children to move around in, according to BabyCenter. The facilities shouldnt have broken toys or any sharp objects close to the children.

Parents may also want to avoid facilities that dont have impact-absorbing surfaces under swings and slides in their playgrounds.

It doesnt have proper licensing

Day cares with proper licensing are often up to standard on health codes and safety measures, which make them a top choice for parents, according to Child Care Center US. Some day cares have accreditation from the NAEYC, which implies the day care will have high standards, according to the Child Care Center.

Child Care Center US suggests parents familiarize themselves with their state's day care licensing laws before choosing a day care.

While current licensure isn't a guarantee of quality in itself, it does show a commitment to young clients and their parents.

It lacks schedule and curriculum

Parents may also want to avoid day cares that are just winging it, according to Child Care Center. Schedules and curriculums keep children focused, which allow them better opportunities for learning and developing while at day care.

Kids need a dependable routine in order to thrive, and a sound curriculum in order to learn and develop, according to Child Care Center. If activities seem largely unorganized and there is no curriculum in place, it could be a sign of a bad child care center."
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