Questions To Ask Prospective Daycare Providers

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Most working parents have been there. You drop your child off at the home of your childcare provider or daycare center and she cries, “Mommy, stay with me! Don’t go!”

“Is this really the best place for her?” You struggle over your decision, your options.

To help you be sure you have made the best choice for your child, consider asking the following questions when interviewing a home provider:

1.        How many children of your own do you have? Ages?

2.        How many children do you care for? Ages?

3.        How long have you been providing childcare?

4.        What made you choose this profession?

5.        May I have a list of your references, including phone numbers?

6.        Do you have a contract?

7.        What are your hours? Overtime?

8.        Do you charge by the hour, day or week?

9.        Do you impose late charges?

10.       When is payment due?

11.       When and how many vacations do you take in a year?

12.       Do you smoke or drink?

13.       Are there any TV programs that the children are allowed to watch during the day?

14.       Do you plan field trips?

15.       Who provides the meals and snacks? How many? What kind?

16.       Can I drop in anytime during the day?

17.       Are there specific nap times?

18.       What if a child doesn’t want to nap during naptime?

19.       How do you discipline children?

20.       What religion do you practice, if any?

21.       If a child breaks something, who pays for it?

22.       Do you have a back-up provider for planned days off?

23.       Do you have insurance?

24.       Do you have any animals?

25.       What kind of transportation do you have? Car seats?

26.       Do you have an emergency stand-by in case of an accident?

27.       Where will my child sleep? (Look at each place your child would be–during a tour you request–before making any decision.)

28.       What are your views on potty training?

29.       Where will the children play indoors? Outdoors?

30.       Describe your daily schedule.

31.       Do you have infant furniture? Toys?

32.       Is your house childproofed?

33.       What will you teach my child?

34.       How do you handle picky eaters?

35.       Do you have emergency phone numbers on or by your phone?

36.       Do you know CPR? Is your certification up to date?

37.       Do you have formal child care training?

38.       Tell me about yourself. Where are you from? How long have you lived here?   What are your hobbies/interests?

39.       What child care/development books do you read?

40.       How much “one-on-one” time with you does each child receive?

41.       Do you have a fire extinguisher?

42.       Do you have allergies?

43.       What do your children do when they are out of school?

44.       What would you like to know about my family and me?

45.       Would you like my references?

Of course you may have some of your own questions you’d like to add to the list. Don’t feel pushy for asking these questions. Many can be answered within normal conversation; your interview needn’t sound like an interrogation. You have the right, no, the responsibility to ask.

Do not allow yourself to feel intimidated. Above all else, listen to your own feelings. A woman can have child care degrees hanging all over her wall, but if you don’t feel 100% at ease in your gut, run. If she doesn’t have an open-door policy, run. (And if, after being in a daycare situation a short time, your child can name every character on a soap opera, again, run!

Having made the choice that is right for your family, you can go to work guilt-free, knowing that your child is in capable, loving hands.

Kelly J. Stigliano has been a speaker and writer for over 20 years. She and her husband, Jerry, enjoy life in Orange Park, FL. To learn more, visit

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About Kelly Stigliano

Kelly J. Stigliano has been a speaker and writer for over 25 years. She and her husband of over 30 years, Jerry, enjoy life in Orange Park, FL. To learn more, visit

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