Questions to Ask Providers When Choosing Childcare

Posted on June 11, 2019 : Posted in Early Child Care, Legacy Academy

Choosing childcare is no small task. Not only are you entrusting your child to people you don’t yet know, but you also must face the wide variety and number of childcare providers available. Just like any list of questions when choosing childcare, this post is a guide to help you hit the highlights as you interview potential caregivers. Your child’s safety, happiness, and well-being are of the utmost importance. With this in mind, don’t be afraid to ask any questions when choosing childcare that are important to you and to take notes as you speak with a caregiver.

What Are Your Facility’s and Staff’s Qualifications in Childcare?

Before you get into the nitty-gritty of a typical day in a facility, you want to know who you are dealing with. A question like this gives the person you are interviewing the opportunity to explain any licenses, accreditations, or references their facility has earned. At the same time, you learn more about the priorities of the school or center. Are they academically focused? Do they encourage their staff to pursue further early childhood education? Learning their emphasis is a great start in evaluating how they would fit with your family.

Can You Describe a Typical Day Under Your Care?

This is a great question to ask for several reasons. First, this question benefits you by running through many different portions of the daycare’s inner workings (such as mealtime, education, playtime, etc.). Secondly, this is another good way to explore the priorities of the caregivers. Do children create something each day? Is there open-ended time for play or is every moment structured? Are children exposed to art, music, or science demonstrations? What about outside time? All of these topics will be addressed or at least broached by asking for a daily routine. Finally, this question serves you well because it gives you a framework for further questions.

How Would You Describe Your Care Style?

Just as individuals have different approaches to childcare, childcare centers promote and train their staff members to interact with children within certain guidelines. Choosing childcare means finding caregivers who share your values and standards for interacting with children. Again, this question allows you to glimpse the general policies and procedures for childcare, as well as making space for follow-up questions. For more specifics, ask questions about discipline, screentime, learning goals, and toilet training, since all of these areas will require teamwork between the parents and childcare workers.

May I See Your Policies for Enrolled Families?

Most childcare centers have a handbook or list provided to families which includes all of their important policies. This list should include information like a sick policy, payment expectations, transportation regulations, meal plans, and a visitation policy. If any of these policies are missing, ask for specifics. Choosing childcare is difficult enough without being blindsided by late payment charges or no childcare because of a runny nose. While facilities will have a variety of policies in these areas, your goal should be to find childcare that runs in a way that makes you most comfortable. Choose your priorities and don’t compromise. Your peace of mind and your baby’s happiness are the most important factors.

What Are Your Ratios of Space and Staff Per Child?

This is a question many parents forget, but it is an important one in evaluating the health of a childcare situation. Small children, such as infants and toddlers, often require one-on-one care and too high of a child-to-caregiver ratio means that children’s needs are not met. Additionally, if children are too cramped they lose the opportunity to play creatively and well together. While there is no magic number for staff or space ratios, be sure to tour the space and experience it for yourself. If it feels small and overcrowded or unruly to you, your child will likely have the same experience.

Choosing childcare doesn’t have to be a stressful or overwhelming experience. Yes, there are many options and questions when choosing childcare to be asked. But there are also many wonderful, caring people who are well-qualified and enthusiastic to care for your child. With these simple and thorough questions, you will be well on your way to finding the ideal childcare situation for your family. If you are located in the southeast, consider finding a Legacy Academy center near you. With low teacher-to-student ratios, high academic standards, and beautiful, inviting spaces, your child will grow and thrive with us. Visit your local center for more information.