Selecting a Day Care- What Questions Should I Ask?

Daycare PhotoChoosing a daycare for your child is likely one of the more difficult and concerning choices you make in their young lives. If you are a working parent, your child will likely spend more time at their daycare then at home. From polling our members, the following were some of the best questions we thought to ask when visiting a new daycare.

 

  • Size/Setup
    1. How many kids do they have?
    2. What is the teacher to child ratio?
    3. How classes are organized (what age ranges are in each class)?
    4. Do classes have assistants?
    5. How long have teachers been there?
  • Foods

    1. What types of food do they provide if any?
    2. Can mom’s breastfeed at the daycare and do they have appropriate facilities for it?
    3. Do bottles have to be pre-made or will teachers mix/clean formula bottles?
    4. Are there certain foods that cannot be brought into the daycare?
    5. If food is provided by the parents, what is the procedure if for some reason you forget to pack a lunch?
  • Nap Time
    1. How do they does the daycare do naps, where and when?
    2. What if a baby/child doesn’t want to sleep, what is their procedure?
  • Activities
    1. What kind of activities are there?
    2. How are toys cleaned?
    3. Can you get a sample curriculum?
    4. How much out door time do kids have on a daily basis?
    5. Does the daycare offer music or language instruction (this is becoming popular for Toddlers)
  • Policies
    1. Is there regular parent/teacher check ins?
    2. What is their sick child policy i.e. how long must a child be home before they can return if they go home sick?
    3. What is their regular and holiday hours?
    4. What is their snow policy?
    5. Are teachers given healthcare and required to be vaccinated?
    6. Does the daycare have set teacher minimum qualifications?
    7. What closure process do they follow (federal government, county government, school board, etc)?
    8. Are there fees associated with late/delayed pickup due to extenuating circumstances?
    9. Do they offer any “free” vacation weeks where you can take your child out of daycare for a week without paying?
    10. Does the daycare have security onsite or cameras?
    11. Are they able to provide you with copies of current licenses? In most states you can check the government website to see if they have any potential violations or citations:
      1. Washington DC: http://www.learndc.org/childcarefinder
      2. Maryland: http://www.checkccmd.org/
      3. Virginia: https://www.dss.virginia.gov/facility/search/cc.cgi
  • Other
    1. Can you observe one day… this will give you a sense of whether you like the feel of the place, how they treat the kid’s etc.