For the first 6 months after my daughters birth I was a stay at home mom and had intentions of being so until she was at least 2 or 3 years old. I actually had this idea before she was even born – isn’t it funny how quickly life can change!? It wasn’t until the 8th month mark of my daughters life that I started thinking about going back to work. I felt both excited to be getting back into the “adult” world and being able to contribute financially to our family (even though my partner has always reassured me that he is perfectly happy supporting the 3 of of), yet I was extremely nervous about leaving my daughter in the care of others…especially people I didn’t know.
Luckily when I first started back to work it was part-time and because my partner owns a seasonal business, he was able to stay home with our daughter…Mr. Mom! It was a perfect transition, but now that my partners busy season is approaching, so is the company’s I work for and my hours have now switched from part-time to full-time. That meant we needed to look for daycare 5 days a week. I was very anxious about which daycare provider I could trust with the person most important to me. I did a lot of research on things to look for in a daycare as well as what questions to ask to be sure I chose the safest, best option for my kids so I could feel assured in dropping them off there everyday.
That is the topic I am going to share with you today: 30 Important Questions Every Parent Should Ask Before Choosing a Daycare. Read to the end to make sure you get my free printable I used that you can take with you to interview daycares.
In the end we found an amazing daycare near my work office. It’s a small in-home licensed center that specializes in infant and toddlers from 6m-3 years of age. We interviewed quite a lot of places, and while many of them answered my questions to my satisfaction and would have done the job just fine, it ultimately came down to a feeling…and the place we found just “felt right”. My partner worded it perfectly: “those ladies LOVE their jobs”. And you know what, in this scenario, he was right. They lit up when telling us about themselves, their center and their kids – and that was the icing on the cake.
I hope you find these questions and the printable list helpful – but ultimately, it all comes down to trusting your gut instincts when it comes to caring for your babies.
- What are the fees? Are there late pick-up fees?
- Do you offer scholarships or siblings discounts?
- Do I pay if my child and/or care provider is absent, whether for illness, vacation or inclement weather?
- How and when will you bill us?
Daycare Policy Questions:
- For which holidays will you be closed?
- What is your policy regarding sick children? At what point are they sent home or told to stay home? Will I be notified when there is a contagious illness in the center?
- How is discipline handled?
- Do you encourage an open door policy for parents to visit during the day?
- What is the teacher to child ratio?
- How are the kids grouped? (mixed ages/grouped by age)
Child Safety, Health & Wellness Questions:
- If my child has special dietary needs, how do you handle that?
- Are the entrances secure, or can anyone walk in?
- Do you ask for photo ID and pre-approval if someone other than myself comes to pick up my child?
- Where do the children sleep? What is the nap schedule?
- Is the playground fenced and inspected regularly for safety issues?
- Does everyone who works at the daycare center undergo a criminal background check?
- Are all caregivers certified in first aid and CPR?
- How often do you sanitize toys? Are baby changing surfaces sanitized after each use?
- Are there hand-washing guidelines for workers?
- What is the policy regarding medications? What measures are taken to be sure each child receives the correct medication?
- Are all children immunized and are parents required to show proof?
- What is the director’s educational background?
- What is the staffs credentials and training?
- When was the centers last inspection? (if licensed)
- If my child is extremely distressed and crying, how will you handle that?
- What will my childs daily schedule look like?
- How do providers handle potty-training or potty accidents?
- What supplies, if any, do I need to provide? (diapers, wipes, sunscreen, etc)
- If I’m working on teaching a behavior at home, will daycare providers support and reinforce it?
- Are snacks and meals provided? If so, what kind. Ask for sample menu. If not, are there any food allergy restrictions?
Finally note – Before going to interview daycare providers, do a little research into the laws for licensed/non-licensed centers for your state/province and be sure the center or provider is following them.
For a free printable listing these questions including a spot to note references, click HERE! And good luck in your search!