Choosing a daycare is one of the first BIG decisions that you make as a parent, and it’s a tough one. How in the world are you supposed to just trust these people that you just met with your child? There are some really critical questions to ask daycare providers before you make your selection.
Some people are blessed enough to have a close family member or friend care for their child while they’re at work, but if you’re not one of those people, here is a list of 20 crucial questions to ask daycare centers you visit before making your selection.
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Scroll to the bottom of this post to get the FREE PRINTABLE to take with you on your daycare tours. It includes all of the important questions to ask when choosing a daycare, and a place for you to jot the answers down.
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Also at the end of this post you’ll find a list of baby daycare essentials!
Questions To Ask Daycare Providers When Choosing A Daycare
What Is Their Rate
What are their payment options? (Weekly, Monthly, Yearly, Check, Cash, Credit Card, etc.)
Do they offer any discounts for things such as cash payments, second siblings, etc.
What Are Their Emergency Plans
Ask the daycare about their storm Shelter and evacuation plans.
Do They Have Cameras
If yes – are they available on a web portal for parents to check in and view at any time? How is that portal secured?
If No – Why?
What Types Of Learning And Developmental Activities Will Take Place Each Day For Your Child’s Age Range
This is a great question to ask daycare providers because you’ll want your baby/child to be participating in daily activities that aide in their mental and physical development.
Also ask about the age ranges above your child, so you know if you’ll be happy with the stages as your child grows.
What Does A Typical Day Look Like For Your Child Once You Drop Them Off
Have them walk you through what a typical day would look like for your child from drop off, to when you pick them up in the evening. Not only does this ensure you’re happy with the daily structure, but it also helps to add a layer of comfort knowing what your child is walking into, especially on day one.
How Many Children Attend The Daycare, and What Is The Child To Caregiver Ratio
This is a really important question to ask daycare providers!
You want to ensure your child isn’t going to be in the hands of someone who is overwhelmed and therefore can’t adequately look after your child and provide them with a learning and developmental environment.
For infants, I would not have felt comfortable with a ratio more than 1 caregiver per 3 infants. Be sure to look up the regulations in your particular state. You can also look up the daycare provider on glassdoor.com and see if former employees had anything to say about that.
When we were interviewing daycare providers, I checked glass door and found reviews from former employees that the particular center did NOT adhere to the required Child To Caregiver ratio. So I know to stay clear of that daycare.
Are Any Meals, Snacks, or Beverages Provided, or Is It All Parent Provided
This is good to know so you can either find out what types of food items will be provided and notify them of any restrictions, or so you know how much to pack in the lunch box, so your child has enough for the day.
How Is Discipline Handled When A Child Is Misbehaving (hitting, not sharing, yelling, not listening, etc.)
There are many ways to discipline a child. Obtaining this information upfront will ensure you agree with the discipline philosophy that will be used with your child when you aren’t there.
It would be much better to understand this philosophy up front, rather than finding out down the road when they discipline your child and you aren’t happy with how it was handled. And you also want to ensure your child wouldn’t be bullied without any disciplinary action being taken on the child that was picking on yours. So definitely include this on your list of questions to ask daycare providers.
What Are The Visitation Policies
Can only parents drop in throughout the day? Is there a security process in place anytime someone new needs to pick up a child, such as a friend or family member?
This is another important daycare interview question for parents because it’s imperative that the daycare has rules and policies in place about someone other than yourself picking up your child. You don’t want them allowing your child to leave with a stranger, and you also don’t want random dangerous people entering the daycare center to pick up other children.
My child’s daycare runs background checks on the parents, and on anyone who the parents want to put on the “approved list” to pick your child up.
What Are The Hours?
How early can you drop off, and how late can you pick up? Make sure that their hours will work with your schedule. (Don’t forget to account for the rush hour commute!)
What Is The Late Pick Up Policy
Most daycare centers start charging a fee as soon as you’re 5 minutes late. Commonly, that fee would continue to increase depending how many minutes past closing you arrive to pick up your child.
Is Payment Still Required For Days Or Weeks When Your Child Is Not Attending Due To Vacation Or Illness
Most daycare centers would still require you to pay for the days that your child is not in attendance because they are only permitted to have a certain number of students enrolled at a given time. So you’re essentially paying for your child’s spot in their center.
It sucks…but it makes sense when you think about it. They are only permitted to have a certain number of children enrolled at a given time. So they can’t have people taking days or weeks where they aren’t paying. They still need to operate, and pay the staff.
What Is The Sick Policy
At what point are children sent home and/or not allowed to go in?
What Is The Policy On Immunizations
Are they required? If a parent refuses to immunize their children, are they still allowed to enroll?
How Often Do You Sanitize Toys and Surfaces
Listen…I’ll warn you now…when starting daycare, your kid is going to get sick. A lot. Just remember, that’s them building up their little immune system. While getting sick is inevitable, you still want to ensure things are being cleaned and sanitized at least once a day.
What Training and/or Certifications Are Required For Staff
Even though this is so critical, a lot of parents forget about this question to ask daycare providers. It’s very important that ALL of the daycare staff are CPR trained and certified! Also ask about any child care/development certifications that the staff has.
Are You Licensed and Accredited
If so, by who?
When choosing a daycare, you absolutely need to make sure they are licensed and accredited!
Please Provide A List Of References
For the last question to ask daycare providers, have them give you a list of references that you can reach out to. This will be current or former parents that have children at this daycare center. Those conversations can be extremely helpful when you’re trying to chose a daycare for your baby!
However, be sure that you also do your own googling to see what people are saying.
OKAY, now you have all of the MOST important questions to ask daycare providers in order to ensure you chose the BEST daycare for your baby!
So just download the printable, schedule your daycare tours, and get back to snuggling that cute little baby of yours!