Your child is the most valuable thing in your life. So trying to choose a daycare provider for them, whether infant, toddler, or older can be incredibly daunting. Especially if you have no connections to any daycare over another. And using price as the deciding factor can be scary since “you get what you pay for” doesn’t sound great when it is talking about your child’s safety.
Check out this must-have list of questions to ask a daycare provider when you go on your tour. Get the FREE printable version to take with you from the Resource Library.
25 Questions to ask a potential daycare provider
Figuring out what matters and what questions you should ask a daycare provider can feel impossible. Even more so when you have never dealt with one before and don’t know what to expect. This list of interview questions will not only help you understand how to choose a daycare that will work for you, but it will also give you a strong idea of what to expect and what matters to you while you are trying to make a decision.
Also, make sure your child is prepared for the first day of daycare.
1. What is your sick child policy?
What deems it necessary for a child to stay home? A fever of a specific degree, rash, etc. Do you still pay for that day? Do you need to call them out? As a question to ask a daycare that may have the largest impact on your schedule, you will want to fully understand the sick child policy.
2. what is your discipline policy?
Will you use time outs, a color chart to represent behavior, or witholding privileges? Are you willing to practice what we teach at home for consistency? How will I be told about any discipline my child receives?
Check out this method for discipline without yelling!
3. What supplies are supplied by the daycare?
Diapers, wipes, formula, meals, snacks, cup/bottle, linens, etc. If I need to bring them do they need to be labeled? Can they remain at daycare or do I need to bring necessary items home to wash them? The answer to this question will also help to more accurately compare prices of different daycares.
4. do you administer medications as necessary?
If my child is on an antibiotic but cleared to attend, requires an Epi-pen, or another type of medication such as Tylenol, will you give it?
5. What is your supervision policy?
Is there any instance in which my child may be left alone or with little supervision? Many daycares follow the “always in sight and sound” policy meaning all children need to be able to be seen and heard at all times by a teacher. This is one of the most important questions to ask a daycare.
6. may I see an example of a daily schedule for my child’s class?
What type of structure will there be? Infant rooms may be less structured than other age groups like toddlers or preschoolers. You can also ask for an example of activities, toys, and crafts that your child may do.
Kids thrive on having a consistent daily schedule, especially toddlers!
7. are all teachers CPR and first aid certified?
Understanding what type of response time may be involved in an emergency situation with y our child can play a major role in how to choose a daycare. Especially if you have a little boy like mine who is always getting hurt!
8. what ratio will my child’s class follow?
This can vary by state but should always be followed. It will give you an idea of the maximum class size that your child would be in as well. Most states will have infants at 3 or 4 to 1 with increasing kids to teacher up to school-aged kids around 18-25 kids to 1 teacher.
9. will my child ever leave the center for any reason?
This may be to go on walks, to a park, or on a field trip. If the answer is yes, ask about transportation and how you will be notified of when those trips will be happening. Most likely you will need to provide a car seat and sign a permission slip for each outing.
10. what happens if my child has an emergency?
Do you call 911 then me? How many times will you attempt to speak to me if I don’t answer the first time? At what point will you call other contacts o the list?
11. what are the immunization requirements?
Do you require all children are up to date on vaccinations? Are parents allowed to do delayed schedules? At what point do you require proof for being up to date?
12. how do you determine group classifications?
Is it solely by age? Or also based on other factors such as potty trained or not, school-ready or not, etc.? Does it change when playing inside versus outside?
13. what is the all-around age range of the daycare?
This will give you an idea of who the daycare serves and help to give you a clue as to the length of time your child may be able to continue attending if you choose this daycare.
14. what is the pick-up procedure and security involved?
Some daycares have locked doors and require all parents/caregivers to have keycards to enter. Others may just require an ID if they don’t recognize the person who enters. Your specific situation and location may play a role in what you are comfortable with and what the average daycare near you does.
15. what type of food is provided (if the daycare provides any)?
Do you get to see a menu? What if your child doesn’t like what is being served? How do they handle allergies? Will they accommodate other types of diets? Is the fee included or extra? If you provide food for your child, does the fee change? If food is provided for your child this is one of the most important questions to ask a daycare provider so make sure you don’t skip it. Your child needs a healthy and well-balanced diet even while away from home.
16. what is the outside play policy?
What weather conditions will your child be playing outside in? Whatever daycare you choose should abide by similar rules when it comes to child safety. But some teachers will be more willing to go outside when it is cold versus others. So ask about how much kids play outside in a regular week and in different seasons.
17. what is the screen time policy?
how often will your child have screen time? For what reasons would it happen? What would it be doing? Playing on a tablet, watching a movie, listening to or watching nursery rhymes? If there is a lot of screen time for younger ages, that may play a major part in choosing a daycare.
18. are there cameras in the daycare facility?
This is another way that some daycare providers may have security. It isn’t specifically something that will be monitored constantly, but more something that is there if needed. If any questions or issues with care were to arise, tapes could be reviewed. If you want to have the peace of mind this can provide, it is something to keep in mind when you choose a daycare.
19. will there be progress reports?
Depending on age this could be like report cards or just a daily sheet saying when diapers were changed, what was eaten and how much, and what activities were done. But having the proper expectation for daily communication with your child’s daycare teacher is very important.
20. what is the cleaning policy?
How are rooms and toy cleaned? How often and with types of chemicals? Having a clean room is important to help avoid unnecessary germs spreading, so knowing the procedures is important.
21. what is the nap policy?
What happens if your child doesn’t nap? DO they use the CIP method or comfort each child as they require it? Will the daycare follow your routine from home?
Stop having bedtime battles with these easy tips!
22. What are the hours of the daycare?
When do they open and close? Is there a specific window for drop off and pick up? When are late fees incurred?
23. How do you comfort kids who are upset or hurt?
Do you let them come sit with you, allow a band-aid or ice pack even if it isn’t strictly needed? Will you pick up a child and hug them until they are ready to go back to playing? The way your child’s emotions are handled should be something the daycare provider is open about so you understand their experiences when you are not there.
24. when do kids “graduate’ to the next class?
Is it based on their birthday, their age, the school year, or something else? That way you know when a transition is going to be made and can prepare your child for it as best as possible.
25. what happens if a child is biting or hitting excessively?
Whether it is your child doing it or being hurt, you should know what will be done. Do you have to pick your child up if they begin to hurt others? When are they able to return? What happens if another child is hurting yours at daycare? These are all important policies that you need to be familiar with.
You may have other questions to ask a daycare provider but this list of must-have questions should give you a good start and hit on most of the crucial points. What else would you ask?