Choosing a daycare facility for your child is no easy task. You want to drop your child off at a place that feels like a home away from home. Before your visit, make a list of questions.
What do you want to hear? If the daycare fails to line up with your expectations for most of your questions, it probably isn’t the right place for you.
- Are they licenced? Could you have a copy?
- How many children attend the daycare?
- What is the child to caregiver ratio and is there an assistant to help? Address this upfront to make sure they can meet the physical and emotional needs of your child.
- Do they serve meals or do parents need to provide food?
- What is the daily schedule and could you have a copy? Is there outside time and is outdoor play equipment properly cleaned several times each day? Do they practice hand washing before and after outdoor play?
- What is the approach to discipline? This one should be at the top of the list because you can tell a lot about their general philosophy by how they choose to discipline the kids in their care. Explore this subject further by asking more pointed questions. Does the staff use a raised voice to reprimand children? Does their approach differ depending on the age of the child? Are time outs used, and if so, how? Are there consequences for bad behaviour?
- When choosing daycare for your child, what security measures are in place? Do they have cameras? Asking about security cameras doesn’t make you crazy—you’re just a parent trying to anticipate an unfortunate circumstance in the interest of your child’s safety.
- Has the facility been baby proofed?
- Can parents drop by unannounced? Could you sit in and observe for a couple of hours?
- What happens if we’re late to pick-up?
- What’s the sick-child policy?
- What are your policies regarding immunisations?
- What is the potty-training procedure?
- How regularly are toys cleaned and sanitised? Do the clean and sanitise the entire classroom every day?
- What are the tuition and fees? Is there a waitlist? Are there any types of discounts available for paying in advance or second sibling discounts?
- What supplies should you provide in addition and how often?
- What degrees or certifications or training does the staff have? Do they have basic first aid training certificates?
- Do they conduct background checks on all your employees? It’s a good idea to ask the provider whether staff members are certified, and background checked. You’ll feel reassured knowing that every member of the staff has been screened for criminal behaviour as well completed the formal training required to meet the state standards for providing high-quality early childhood care.
- How long has the current staff been here? If they experience a high employee turnover it should be a red flag?
- What is the policy regarding administering medicine and/or emergency allergy treatments?
- How are parents kept up to date?
- Are caregivers able to provide regular updates? Communication is key when it comes to childcare of any kind. Be sure to ask prospective daycare providers if they’re available to respond to parents with periodic updates throughout the day. A little correspondence and perhaps a smiling baby WhatsApp photo can go a long way towards putting your mind at ease
- Ask for a list of contactable references?
These are just questions on my list. You may have additional questions when choosing daycare for your child.