Child care – take your time, ask questions
Finding a child care provider can seem overwhelming. We recommend that you take your time, ask many questions, visit the facility/person frequently before making a final decision, and talk to other parents about their child care experiences.
Questions to ask yourself and the provider:
- What are the hours?
- What is the cost?
- Is the child care setting inviting, friendly and clean?
- Does the environment seem safe (appropriate toys, child safety equipment installed, etc.)?
- Where will my child sleep, and is the crib or bassinet up to modern safety standards?
- What are the qualifications and experience of the child care provider(s)?
- What do their references, or other parents, say about this provider?
- What is the ratio of children to adults?
- How many children are babies (that require more attention from the provider)?
- How many other children will there be at any given time?
- How does my child respond to the caregiver and setting?
- How is discipline handled?
- What measures are taken to keep germs under control?
- What are the child care provider’s rules or requirements?
- How will I get feedback on how my child is doing?
- Am I welcome to call or visit any time?
- Once my child has started, does he seem happy when I pick him up? Clean? Well fed?
- What kinds of foods, drinks are served? How often?
- Are there animals present (e.g. a dog that could bite)?
- Is there a safe, outdoor area for playtime?
- Are children driven anywhere (e.g. store, field trips)?
- Does the provider have a backup in case of illness?
- Is there learning time, pre-school curriculum offered?
- What kinds of activities, if any, are offered (e.g. music, art, story time)?
- Do any of the other children have behavior issues (hitting or biting) that would put other children at risk of injury?
- Do they accept children with special needs?
- What is my gut feeling? First impressions or gnawing intuitions are often correct.