Six Important Questions to Ask Child-Care Services
Deciding on a child-care provider is one of the most important decisions you can make for your family. Entrusting your child to a stranger is a nerve-racking process but one that is necessary if you want to work normally or don’t have family nearby to take on the responsibility. Attending a daycare is also beneficial for your child’s socialization skills.
There are plenty of reputable care providers out there that create a warm, nurturing environment for your child. These questions can help you figure out which daycare or camp is best for your family, making the selection process easier.
1. What Qualifications and Training Do Your Staff Have?
Child care is a lot more complex than playing with children and making sure they don’t hurt themselves. Providers take on an important responsibility for the child’s physical safety, emotional well-being, and even learning outcomes. As such, you want a provider that has some background in care.
Most daycare providers have at least some degree of early childhood education, whether it’s an associate degree or a more advanced diploma. Even if providers don’t have a degree, they can still be a good choice for your child if the staff has plenty of years of experience. Finally, if you’re going with the daycare option, all daycares should be licensed.
2. What Is Your Curriculum and Daily Schedule Like?
If you’re looking to place your child in a daycare, then you are placing your child in an educational institution, and it should have a curriculum like any school for older children. Although the curriculum shouldn’t be rigorous (these are still young children), it should show knowledge about early childhood learning goals and include plenty of educational activities, such as sensory play and artwork.
Your child’s daily schedule should also include time for play, which is vital for children, and some outdoor time. Above all, you want a care provider where children are encouraged to be active instead of parked in front of a TV all day.
3. How Do You Communicate with Parents?
Although you don’t need to be on the phone with your child-care service all day, you should have some form of regular communication with the people watching your child. The service should have a policy in place for communicating valuable information to parents, such as closures. It’s also nice if the carer has some system for communicating updates with parents, whether it’s sending photos throughout the day or sending home precious baby fingerpainting.
If your potential care service is reluctant to communicate, that is a red flag, and you should seek other options.
4. What Supplies Does My Child Need?
Taking care of children, especially young children, is messy work (as you probably know every time you try to leave the house and are loaded down with dozens of bags). Ask your care provider what supplies they need to take care of your child while you’re gone. For example, ask if you need to prepare food or if the daycare takes care of meals, or if your child needs spare clothes.
5. What Do You Do If Parents Are Late or Skip a Day?
Emergencies always happen, and no matter how hard you try, sometimes you may be late to pick up your child. Check with your service provider about their procedures for late pick-ups—you definitely aren’t the first parent to run into traffic.Also ask about what you need to do if your child will skip a day, for example, due to illness or an early vacation. Some providers charge fees, which are normal, but you should be prepared for them.
6. What Do You Do in Case of Emergencies?
Finally, one of the most important questions you can ask a potential child-care provider is what they do in case something bad happens, for example, if your child gets sick or injured. They should have an emergency plan in place for providing first aid and getting your child medical care. If you have a child who has sensitive medical needs, look for a provider with an on-site nurse.
These questions can help you start vetting potential daycares and other services for your child.