Sending your child off to a daycare provider can be one of the most difficult moments in motherhood. In fact, choosing the right daycare is as complicated as choosing the right preschool. Your brain is probably swirling with questions like will my child be OK here? Will this caretaker be able to handle my child? And of course the dreaded, will my child be able to cope without me? While it may be a little nerve-racking at first, the good news is, it gets better with time. If you are starting your search for a daycare provider, we have got you covered. Whether you are getting ready to go back to work or just looking for someone to watch your children every now and then, this read is for you. Interviewing a potential daycare provider is something you need to come prepared for. Here are some of the top questions that you should ask any daycare provider when you sit down for that face to face interview.
1. What Is Their Background?
One of the most important questions to ask any and all daycare providers is about their educational background. You want to make sure that your daycare provider knows how to interact with children appropriately. Especially in this critical developmental age. The first thing that you want to ask your daycare provider is whether or not he or she is licensed by the state. If they are, ask to have a copy of the licensure for your records. Even if you are still in the interview process with them, it is perfectly fine to ask for a copy of their license. This will give you some time to investigate your daycare provider further before you make a choice.
The next question you want to ask is about when it comes to their background is about their accreditation. Many daycare providers have individual certifications or accreditations such as one from the National Association for family child care. If your daycare provider is accredited, this will help further their credibility. As always, you want to make sure that their licensure and accreditation are up-to-date. Under no circumstances should you seriously entertain a daycare provider who is not licensed by the state.
2. What Does The Daycare Curriculum Look Like?
While they are not necessarily at school when they are at daycare, you will want to know if there is a certain daycare curriculum that your daycare provider follows. This question is especially important if your daycare provider is a public facility that takes on ten or more children. If you have newborns or infants, don’t expect this curriculum to include in-depth ABC lessons. Rather, ask questions about what the day-to-day activities look like for each child. Will your child be sitting in front of the TV all day? Will your child be outside playing in the yard,? Or will there be a fair mixture of play and learning? In any good daycare provider, you want to look for a diverse learning environment. This means your child will be interacting with his environment and learning through play. Along with this, any good daycare provider should aim to meet the developmental needs of all children.
3. Hours Of Operation
The next question you want to ask your date care provider revolves around practicality. Have a conversation with your daycare provider about the hours of operation that he or she runs. Specific questions to ask include:
- What are your hours during the holidays?
- What are your hours during the week?
- Are you able to watch children during the evening?
- How flexible are you with pick up and drop off times?
- How flexible are you with unscheduled daycare services?
Asking questions like these to your daycare provider will help you figure out if a daycare will meet your needs.
4. What Is The Number Of Children Serviced?
It is not uncommon for many daycare providers to service more than two or three children at a time. You should ask your daycare provider how many children they service at any given point in the day. It is also good to ask about what the highest number of children they are willing to serve during one time period is as well. If they are currently filled up to capacity, then you will want to ask about their waitlist policy. Do they provide one? If they do how do you go about getting on it? Don’t forget to ask about time frames such as how long a child can expect to be on the waitlist.
5. Discipline Procedures
One of the most critical aspects of any good daycare provider its proper discipline. When you are interviewing a potential daycare provider, ask about what the discipline policy looks like in their daycare setting. Questions to ask include
- How does your provider handle bad behavior?
- Do they have a warning and time-out system in place?
- Do they rely on positive behavior methods?
Be sure to give specific examples of possible scenarios with your child so that you can get a general sense of how they discipline. For example, You may want to ask how do you handle biting bullying or situations if they were to take place.
Not all daycare providers have supplies that will be used for your child. Such supplies can include diapers, wipes, foods, and any other resources that your child may use on a daily basis. Ask your daycare provider what supplies you should bring as well as what supplies they will have available. Knowing whether or not your daycare provider will provide everyday supplies will help you determine what a fair price for your daycare provider should be.
It’s not unusual for daycare providers to take the children they serve with them on outings. When interviewing your daycare provider, it’s a good idea to ask about this. If your daycare provider will be taking the children and outdoor adventures, what type of transportation do they use to get there? If they do use a form of transportation, ask about safety and organizational procedures that are in place during the outing. For example, how will your daycare provider keep track of the children when they are out and about. What safety measures are in place so that the children stay nice and safe? If they will be needing to use a car seat, is that provided? If so, be sure to do a safety check to make sure that they are correctly installed
8. General Daycare Policies
Whether or not it is at a home daycare or commercialized daycare, be sure you are familiar yourself with the daycare's policies. Some policies you will want to ask about include attendance. How does your daycare provider handle absences due to vacations or illnesses? Will you still be charged for that day or are there prorated fees available?
9. Tuition And Fees
While you are talking about policies with a potential daycare provider, it is a good time to bring up to tuitions and fees associated with the daycare. Get an understanding of what the weekly or monthly tuition fees look like. It is also a good idea to ask if there are any discounts available. Some daycare providers offer discounts to educators and public servants as well as families who may be enrolling more than one child.
10. Health And Wellness
One of the main concerns about any daycare is making sure that your child’s health and wellness is of the utmost importance. When interviewing your daycare provider, be sure to ask about specific things such as immunization. It is helpful information to know whether or not children service by a daycare provider will need to be up-to-date on their shots.
Another great health and wellness question to ask revolves around potty training. How will your daycare provider service a child who is not yet potty trained? If there is a specific way that you would like your child to be potty trained, then will your daycare provider make accommodations? Being as specific as you can is not only helpful to you but your daycare provider. Asking specific questions like these to daycare provider will help you narrow down your search to finding the right fit.
Finally, with any daycare provider facility that houses several children at a time, germs can be a concern. As your daycare provider, how do they keep this problem at bay? Ask to see if your daycare provider sanitizes toys and other commonly used objects in areas. If they do, be sure to ask how often these items get sanitized.
11. Safety procedures
One of the most important topics to discuss with your daycare provider is safety. You will want to talk to your daycare provider about how security is handled in their facility. Is there a fire extinguisher available? Are there drawn out maps and lists of things to do in the case of an emergency? What procedures are in place in case of fire were to happen? Safety procedures in the building are just as necessary as contact with you in the event of a safety emergency. Ask your daycare provider what ways they contact parents. It is helpful to ask if they send out texts, email, or phone calls to each parent and guardians in the event they may need to be reached.
12. Toys And Personal Items
In many daycare settings that take place in a commercial location, there may be rules in place for personal toys. While many children may bring a personal toy with them as a form of safety and comfort, some daycares do not allow this. Be sure to speak with your daycare provider about their policies in place. Do they let children to bring their own personal items or will there be toys and such for children to play with there?
When it comes to the safety and welfare of your children, there is no such thing as asking too many questions. When you meet with any potential daycare providers, it is important to keep in mind that the more specific you are, the better. It can be challenging to find just anyone to watch your child. Vetting out any daycare provider thoroughly before you commit is the first step in choosing the right daycare provider for your child.