SmileTutor Blog Parents Key Decisions 12 Warning Signs of a Bad Childcare Centre

12 Warning Signs of a Bad Childcare Centre


Many parents in Singapore opt to drop their children to childcare centres because no one can supervise and take care of their children while they work during the day. These childcare centres should provide a safe and secure environment for children and a place to learn and engage with fellow kids.

While most childcare centres provide excellent service, there are cases where childcare centres abuse their charges and offer poor services that can be detrimental to the child’s safety and development.

If you are going to enrol your children in a childcare centre, you must ensure that it is the right one for them. Here are some warning signs that you need to watch out for when scouting for a suitable childcare centre:

Poor Reputation

You can determine the performance of a childcare centre based on reviews. Check some local forums or social media reviews and read the opinions of different people.

If you see that the childcare centre has collected negative reviews, it is a clear sign that it is not a good facility. A childcare with poor reputation certainly will increase your anxiety as you would not be comfortable with your child being at the centre!

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High Turnover of Teachers

If the childcare centre constantly changes its roster of teachers, it is maybe a sign that the childcare centre is not right for your children. It could mean many things, but one probable reason is that the centre mistreats its employees.

Childcare centres must provide a semblance of consistency for children to look forward to when going to the centre daily. When teachers change regularly, some children may have a hard time to trust new faces and may take a long time to feel comfortable with them.

Poor Attitude from Teachers or Principal

Childcare centres should always be welcoming to children since they have to spend most of their daytime there while their parents or guardians are working. It should have a friendly environment so kids can enjoy playing and learning with their peers.

If you notice cold stares and awkward glances when you enter and meet the staff, there might be something wrong with the employees, and you should avoid keeping your children there.

Kids Come Home Sick or Often Injured

Kids are often prone to get injured, mostly if they play rough with their friends or get into minor accidents. However, if your child always gets injured, you may need to look into the situation more closely. It is always important that you check the cause of your child’s illness if they come home sick one day after daycare.

Experts say that it is common for some children to get sick due to infections, especially during their first and second year. But if your child gets sick often, look into the centre, and maybe there is an issue regarding the maintenance and cleanliness of the place.

Poor Nutrition Planning

Since children stay in childcare centres throughout the day, they must be well-fed to keep up with the activities and with their peers.

Childcare centres must have a precise nutrition plan for all the meals that will be served to the kids during the day and parents should know these to make sure that their children eat properly when they are not around. If the centre doesn’t provide any nutrition plans, maybe it is not the best place for your child since food and nutrition is extremely important to a child who is growing up.


No Rules

Childcare centres should be a fun learning place for your children to help them get used to their peers and their schedule. A child care centre must have regulations to help children know what is right and wrong.

If it does not have rules or boundaries, children will be more prone to get hurt, and they will not understand the importance of following rules.

No Clear Curriculum

To keep your children occupied throughout the day, the childcare centre must have a schedule and lesson plan to help with their development.

It is not ideal to leave your child to a childcare centre that does not have an explicit schedule of activities, a proven curriculum and daily programme.

You Have Concerns About Safety

During your tour around the childcare centre, always make sure to see if the childcare centre is safe for your little ones. Check the basic things like ensuring that there is no exposed electrical sockets, that there is no cleaning or toxic materials in the children’s area, that fire exits are marked and easy to see, and also if the toys and equipment are in good condition for usage.

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You should also ask if they have a first-aid kit available and protocols in place for emergencies.

Poor Cleanliness & Maintenance

During your site visit, you need to ensure that the childcare centre is clean and well-maintained because a neglected and filthy environment can cause health problems to your children.

If the centre is poorly maintained, it is a sign that the centre is not compliant with the Infection Control Guidelines for Schools and Child Care Centres as mandated by the Ministry of Health. Remember that this is an essential requirement before childcare centres and schools can operate in Singapore.

Low Manpower

Childcare centres must have an excellent teacher-student ratio so that every child’s needs are taken of and met. However, if the childcare centre has only one teacher and often plays other roles, you should consider other childcare facilities.

It is never a good combination to leave your children to someone who cannot do their roles properly and cannot give their full attention to your children.


Kids Hates or Avoids Going to School

Finally, a big warning sign you should not ignore regarding your childcare options is when your child hates going to these centres. Although it is normal, in the beginning, for young children to have separation anxiety with their parents, it is not usual if they continue to throw tantrums and avoid going to the centre.

Some kids may even say that they do not like their childcare centre at all! When children express sentiments like this, it is best to find out the reason behind it.

Lack of Communication

Of course, it will not be easy to leave your children in school or childcare, especially if they are still very young. You would be very worried about them and the things they do when you are not around.

Therefore, you have to make sure that the childcare centre you choose, is easy to communicate with so that you can always check on your children and find out immediately if there’s anything wrong. If the centre doesn’t offer transparent communication, you may want to consider another centre for your child.


As parents, we must not hold back in checking thoroughly if the childcare centre we have chosen is the appropriate place for our children to spend their time while we are at work. Always do your best to research and have the time to visit the centre personally. Moreover, your child will be spending most of their time in the centre while you are at work. It is extremely important that your child is in good centre which helps their development.

Remember that your children’s safety and welfare are also at stake if you choose a childcare centre which is not suitable for your child. Do not be afraid to ask around and with some patience, you will be able to find the right centre for your child to stay in during your workdays.

For more childcare related articles, please do check out these:

Pros and Cons of Large Childcare in Singapore
How to Prepare Your Child for a Positive Childcare Experience

Rum Tan

Rum Tan is the founder of SmileTutor and he believes that every child deserves a smile. Motivated by this belief and passion, he works hard day & night with his team to maintain the most trustworthy source of home tutors in Singapore. In his free time, he writes articles hoping to educate, enlighten, and empower parents, students, and tutors. You may try out his free home tutoring services via or by calling 6266 4475 directly today.