For the first several years of my son’s life and a short time after my daughter was born, I was a Mom who worked in an office. That meant I needed daycare 5 days a week. I was incredibly anxious about which daycare provider I could trust with the two human beings most precious to me. At that time I did a lot of research around what questions to ask a daycare to be sure I chose the safest, best option for my kids.
That’s what I’m going to share with you today: 30 Incredibly Important Questions Every Parent Should Ask Before Choosing a Daycare. Read to the end to make sure you get my free printable you can take with you as you interview daycares. Keep them all in a file so that you can make the best choice, but also so that you can reference the daycare provider’s interview questions should you ever need to do so.
In the end it turned out the best option for our family was my kids’ Aunt, whom they adore. (PS: I was actually able to quit my job and stay home with them because this blog you’re reading right now earns almost three times what I was making at the office.)
Daycare Policy Questions:
Before going to interview daycare providers, know the laws for your state and be sure the center or provider is following them. You can find daycare licensing requirements for each state here.
- Will I be charged if my child is absent, whether for illness, vacation or inclement weather?
- 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?
- How is discipline handled?
- I would like open door access to check in on my child at any time while they are in your care. Is that acceptable?
- What is the teacher to child ratio? (Note: The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that the maximum child-staff ratio for 13-35 month children is four to 1.)
- Are there supplies I am responsible to purchase?
Child Safety, Health & Wellness Questions:
- Are there webcams that will allow me to monitor my child while in your care?
- If my child has special dietary needs, how do you handle that? (You can get a kid-friendly allergy alert bracelet here.)
- Are the entrances secure, or can anyone walk in?
- Are babies put to sleep on their back and monitored while sleeping?
- Is the playground fenced and inspected regularly for safety issues?
- What is the plan in case of natural disaster or criminal threat? Do the children practice those plans at least once a month?
- How do providers handle children who bite?
- Do providers keep one hand on babies at all times when changing them?
- Will I receive an incident report if my child is hurt?
- 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?
- Will you alert me when there is a contagious illness in the center?
- 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’s the educational level of teachers? Do they undergo any child development training?
- If my child is extremely distressed and crying, how will you handle that?
- What will my child’s daily schedule look like?
- How do providers handle potty-training or potty accidents?
- If I’m working on teaching a behavior at home, will daycare providers support and reinforce it?
- What kind of snacks and meals are served? What if I want to bring food from home for my child’s meals?
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Liz is a just a mom trying to keep it real about how little she sleeps, how often she gets puked on and how much she loves them. You can find her here every day writing about real-mom moments.