I have a parent who staked out the childcare centers that were of interest, at different times of the day- to see who “hung out”. She then called the centers to HEAR if they answered the phone properly, clearly and grammatically. She made visits to get the VIBE of the center. She also wanted to know, educationally, what her then infant would be learning.
Is her behavior the norm when seeking childcare? Unfortunately no. The common thread when interviewing with parents, especially first-timers, is they DON’T come with questions to ask the childcare provider. Parents need to know what their needs AND wants are from a childcare provider. There are no excuses since our fingertips can touch the WORLD WIDE WEB.
In interviewing a first-time parent of a 9 month old recently, she stated she didn’t have any questions. I navigated her through varied questions she SHOULD ask of a childcare provider. In my navigation, her eyes opened wider when I stated, “Some parents will be attracted to centers that are loud and not focused as it reflects their character. Some parents will be attracted to centers that communicate well and expect involvement as it reflects their character. Understand it is the CHILD that will either endure or enjoy the center.”
In letting my fingertips walk across the WORLD WIDE WEB, I came across a detailed group of questioning I am very comfortable in sharing with you. We are BIG about promoting Dads. DADS Adventure’s web site: http://www.dadsadventure.com/information-referral-center/questions-to-ask-a-childcare-provider/#sthash.OuxzMg5q.dpbs
• How long have you been in business?
• Are you licensed by the state?
• What is that number?
• What does that really mean as a provider?
• Are you inspected by the state?
• How many children are you/is the facility licensed for? How many infants?
• How many children do you have currently?
• Does this include after-school-only children?
• May I please have a list of references?
• How much notice is needed if I decide to switch day cares?
• What is your billing policy? Do you provide receipts for income tax credits?
• Deposit – change my mind, move, etc? What happens?
• Do you have rules on sick time/vacation? Are we still required to pay? Is it discounted?
• What do you like most about caring for infants/children? What do you like least? Why did you decide to become a child-care provider?
• If I wanted to come in and breastfeed, do you have a place where that would be possible?
• Are you comfortable with breastmilk for feedings when I cannot come in? Do you have a refrigerator for storing bottles?
• Do you feed babies on demand or on a schedule?
• Where do the children sleep?
• Do you have a nap schedule?
• Do you provide breakfast, lunch, and/or snack? What kinds?
• What type of learning will there be for an infant?
• What is a typical day like?
• Do you take the children on walks through the neighborhood?
• What potty-training methods do you use for toddlers?
• What other supplies would I need to bring for my child?
• What do you expect from me as a parent?
• How do you communicate with parents? Will you give me a daily report or is there another process for informing parents of what children did during the day (naps, bottles, BMs, etc.)?
• Do you have first-aid training? Are you certified in infant and child CPR?
• Will anyone else be caring for the children at any time?
• Will anyone else be in the house while the children are there?
• Do any of these people have a criminal record of any kind?
• Have you/they had criminal record checks?
• What is your security policy? (doors locked, etc.)
• Do you smoke?
• Do you have pets?
• Must children be immunized in order to attend?
• What is your policy on sick children? Do you send children home at the first hint of a sniffle, or do you wait until a child has a fever?
• What do you do if a child gets sick while there?
• Do caregivers wash their hands after changing diapers and before feeding the children?
• Are older children taught to wash their hands after using the potty?
• How often are the toys cleaned and replaced?
• What is your release policy? Who may pick up my child?
• What do you do if YOU are sick/vacation/etc. Will we be notified? How early?
• Do you have a substitute that you use? Can I get their name?
• On which holidays do you close?
• What kind of things would make you call me in the middle of the day? (crying 2 hrs, pulling on ear, hit by another child)
• What would you do if my baby cried inconsolably?
• How do you discipline children when you see tantrums, pushing, fighting, and arguments?
• What if something catastrophic happens and I am stuck on the highway for 3 hours, what would you do?
• Do you have any other rules?