Whether it’s time for you to go back to work after having a baby or you’re just looking to get your little one socializing with others their age, it can be unnerving and even overwhelming to find a child care center that you trust to take care of your child.
While safety and security are every parent’s number-one priority, there are many other things that you’ll wonder and worry about when you’re placing your child in daycare. After all, letting someone else care for your child is a difficult thing to do.
The best way to ease your mind and feel confident that you’re choosing the right child care center is to schedule a tour of the place and have a list of questions ready to ask when you meet with the daycare provider. It’s important to prepare your questions ahead of time so that you don’t forget anything important you want to know while you’re wrapped up in exploring the location.
To get you started on the right foot, here’s a list of 20 essential questions that you can discuss with the child care provider to help you make an informed decision that you feel confident in.
20 Questions to Discuss with the Child Care Provider
Before you meet with a potential child care provider, take note of the following questions as they pertain to you and your child. Take your list of questions along with you to ensure that you’re choosing a center you feel entirely comfortable with.
Check Their Policies
One of the first areas you’ll want to consider is the center’s policies. Write down questions like the ones below and get clear, detailed answers.
1. Are they licensed? First and foremost, they must be legally running the facility and have documentation to back it up.
2. How do you handle sick children? Find out if children are able to come in when they aren’t feeling well as long as they aren’t running a fever. You’ll also want to know whether you’re still expected to pay if your child is sick and can’t come in for a day.
3. What is your discipline policy? Their general attitude towards discipline should align with your views.
4. What is your vaccination policy? This is an important question to have answered as it involves your child’s health.
5. Do you administer medicine? Find out whether the staff is qualified and willing to administer emergency medication, such as Epi-Pens, antibiotics and pain medication.
6. What is your policy for picking up and dropping kids off? It’s important to know whether you need to contact anyone if a child is being picked up at an unsual time. Are identifications needed at pick up?
7. Can you come to check in on your child? You might want to stop by unannounced sometimes just to see how things are going with your child. If this is something you’ll want to do, find out if the center allows it.
8. What are your security measures? Another critical policy to get details about is their security measures for children and adults.
Questions Regarding Food
It’s important to know what to expect when it comes to food, especially if your child has allergies or if you’ll be expected to prepare food for your child to bring with them.
9. Do I need to provide snacks and lunches? If they provide food, ask what the daily menu looks like.
10. How are food allergies handled? This is especially important to note if your child has any food allergies.
11. Can I stop by to breastfeed my child? If you do not need to breastfeed, ask how they handle frozen breast milk or formula.
General Questions to Consider
In addition to the questions about policies and food above, note the following general questions to cover any additional concerns about the child care center.
12. What are your rates? Have them break it down and confirm what you’ve researched. Don’t forget to find out if they charge extra if you’re late.
13. What is your general philosophy on child care? In addition to the general philosophy, find out what a typical day is like at the center and how they go about comforting a child who is upset.
14. What is the ratio of kids to staff? If you want your child to get a lot of one-on-one attention, find out whether they have a reasonable child-to-staff ratio.
15. What are the ages of the kids in the facility? If the center accommodates children of a wide range of ages, find out if they’ll be separated by age group.
16. Is the staff certified and/or vetted? It’s important to know whether the staff is certified and put through a background clearance check. You should also find out whether they’re certified in first aid and CPR.
17. What supplies will I need? Ensure your child will have everything they need by asking this question to be prepared.
18. Do you take off-campus trips? Find out whether they go to parks, on walks or go on field trips. If the answer is yes, ask about their transportation methods and rules.
19. What type of communication is there? Be clear on what type of communication they typically use. Find out whether you can call and text if needed and get the contact numbers you’ll need.
20. How do I get updates about my child’s progress? Find out what methods the center uses for progress reports. Some places use apps, while others use more traditional methods like report cards and parent-teacher conferences.
While not all of the questions above may pertain to you, there are many that every parent should be sure to ask when looking at child care centers. Write down the questions that resonate with you and be sure to take the list along when you visit potential daycare centers for your child. Asking questions will help you get to know the daycare provider better and give you an idea of how your child will be cared for at their center.