Choosing a day-care provider: Your checklist


Questions to ask:

  • Are you licensed? (Confirm this information with your local child-care council.)


  • Are you willing to take one or two appropriate courses per year if I pay for them? (For unlicensed or private nanny providers.)


  • Have you completed a CPR course?


  • What background have you had in child care?


  • Why did you choose the field of child care?


  • How long have you had your own center/family day



  • What is the maximum number of children you will take?


  • How much do you charge?


  • Do you charge for vacations (yours and mine)?


  • Do you close during holidays? Am I expected to pay for those holidays?


  • When do you expect payment -- on a weekly or monthly basis?


  • What are your hours?


  • Do you charge late fees?


  • Do you, or does anyone else in the house, smoke?


  • Do you have pets?


  • What is your sick policy?


  • How do you maintain a relatively germ-free environment?


  • Do you have backup care if you are ill? (If the provider works by herself.)


  • Do you serve meals? If so, how do you plan the daily menu?


  • Will any other adult(s) be in the house during day care operating hours?


  • Do you have an open-door policy for parents to drop-in?


  • Can you describe a typical day at your center/home?


  • Do you plan on using television or videos?


  • When is naptime?


  • Do the children get time outdoors? If there is no yard, is a park nearby? Is it an enclosed area? How will you transport the children to the park?


  • How would you describe the perfect parent?


  • If my one-year-old drew on the wall with crayons, what would you do? (You can use any question that will reveal disciplinary style and a proper understanding of child development. An appropriate answer might be: "A one-year-old may not understand 'no,' so if she continued to do it, I would remove her from the scene and distract her with another toy."


  • Can you tell me about a particularly challenging child and what you did to handle that child? (Listen for word choice and look for other, non-verbal clues.) 


  • Do you have written material (including contracts) for me to review?


  • Can you provide me with at least three references?

Page Three: Important things to observe when visiting a day-care facility

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