On this page Family Child Care Providers will find a comprehensive list of questions to ask prospective daycare parents/clients. Below that, parents will find a comprehensive list of questions to ask potential child care providers. Use what fits your particular situation as a family child care provider or parent.
Questions for Child Care Providers To Ask Parents
Has your child been in daycare before? If so, for how long? If not, who has been providing childcare (parent, grandparent)?
What is your method of discipline?
How do you approach potty training?
Does your child have any special needs based on religious issues?
Does your child have any special needs based on health issues?
What general observations can you give me about your child's development (when did he/she crawl? walk? say the first word? etc.
Does your child dress him/herself?
What is your child's favorite activity?
Are there any food restrictions?
What are your expectations for a child care provider?
Are you available to participate in an occasional field trip?
Are you prepared to participate in occasional day care activities and special events/parties? (Not all of them, but as your schedule allows. I do require some involvement throughout the year.)
Are you willing to sign a contract?
Will you be giving two weeks' notice to your former child care provider (or whatever is required in the former provider's contract). If not, why not?
(Note: I don't accept a client if they do not honor their former obligation/contract - unless there is a special reason such as abuse. I do this to discourage parents from provider hopping.)
May I have two references? (I always ask that one of them be the former childcare provider. In a sense, you are extending credit to parents and have a right to check their references. I ask one to be the provider as I
want to be sure they paid, checks cleared, the account is current and paid in full. I also want to verify some of the above questions. If the answers are different, I want to find out why?)
Have you read my Parent Handbook and reviewed all policies listed? (If
not, I always get back to them once it is read and make sure they don't have any questions about it.)
Is someone available to pick up your child by closing time?
Do you have a backup provider when your child is ill?
In the unlikely event of an emergency closing and my back up is unavailable, do you have emergency back up care?
Does your child have any allergies?
Does your child have any fears?
What time(s) does your child normally nap?
Are you in agreement with my payment policy, including late fees?
What is your greatest concern (if any) or question (if any) about placing your child in care outside the home?
I always explain that I ask these next questions not to pry into their personal life but to get an idea of their child's background.
Does your child have any siblings? If so, ages?
Are parents married? divorced? (Widowed?) If divorced, are there step parents involved and is everyone prepared to participate in the child care experience?
If parents are divorced, I ask for a copy of any paperwork regarding custody. I do this to avoid a question if one parent shows up for the child claiming it is "their turn/right". I don't want to be in the middle.
Has the child had or have any serious illness? If so, is he/she cleared by the doctor to participate in all activities? I make sure there is a note confirming this on the health paper when returned.
How do you think children learn? (Play? Academics? Combination?)
Are you in agreement with my curriculum?
Questions For Parents To Ask Child Care Providers
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Do you have references available to prospective parents on request?
Provider's education High school and child care classes
Provider's certification (CPR, First Aid,)
Provider's membership in professional organizations
Are you licensed or registered for day care?
Would you be willing to take a police background check (BCI), if requested?
Do you have any pets? If yes, please specify.
Do provider's own children stay home during the day? How many, what ages?
Are there any other adults in the facility during care hours? If so, who?
Hours and Rates:
Take part-time/full time children?
Offer snow day/public school closing day care?
Offer evening/weekend babysitting?
Offer 2nd-shift care?
Offer overnight care?
Accept Title 20?, etc.
When is payment due?
Are there late fees for late pick up?
Are there late fees for late payment?
What holidays do you close? Are they paid?
Do you take a scheduled vacation? Paid?
Do parents pay you for time while they're on vacation?
How many sick days? Paid?
Backup care for your sick days? If so, who?
Do you take other days off without pay?
Do you have a contract?
How much notice is required for termination of contract?
Do you require a deposit?
Do you have liability insurance that covers the children in your care?
Advice for Starting or Operating a Child Care Service
What is included in the fees:
Do you provide breakfast?
Do you provide lunch?
Do you provide dinner?
Do you provide snacks? How many?
Do you provide diapers?
Do you provide formula?
Do you provide baby food?
Do you provide art/craft supplies?
Do you provide activity/admission fees (if you offer field trips)?
Group size/caregiver ratios:
Number of providers at this location
Number of children accepted
Ages of children accepted
Do you accept infants? If so, how many infants do you accept at one time?
Do you accept special needs/handicapped children?
Do you prefer to have several children of one age group, or do you prefer to stagger their ages?
If you provide snow days/summer care, how many children?
If you provide after-school/latch-key care, how many children?
If you provide evening/weekend babysitting, how many children?
If you provide 2nd shift care, how many children?
Do you have school-age children of your own who may occasionally be home with you due to sick days, snow days, school holidays/vacations, etc?
What is the maximum number of children you will be watching at any time?
Do you accept drop-in care of children who do not usually attend your facility on an hourly/daily basis? If so, how many children do you accept?
Is membership in any club/group/religious organization required for admission to your facility? Or do members of any groups/clubs/religious organizations get a discount on the weekly/daily fees?
Do you provide any regularly scheduled education activities/home-school?
Do you provide any regularly scheduled art/craft activities?
Do you provide any regularly scheduled musical activities?
Do you provide any regularly scheduled sport/exercise/dance activities?
Do you provide any regularly scheduled religious/cultural activities or education?
Do you have regular scheduled nap times?
Do you offer an outdoor play area?
Do you offer an indoor play area with climbing toys for cold/rainy days?
Do you offer any fieldtrips?
Do you offer any guest speakers/community visitors programs? (such as firemen, zookeepers, etc)
Do you offer potty training assistance? If so, are child-size potties provided?
Do you have a computer that the children are regularly allowed to use? What sorts of activities are the children allowed to do on the computer? Do you allow internet access?
Do you allow the children to watch TV? About how many hours per day?
Do you watch any regularly scheduled programs/videos?
If TV is allowed, are the children allowed to select the shows/videos, or do you limit the choices?
Are age groups segregated into separate rooms or play areas?
Do you require parents to provide any toys or supplies?
Do you provide highchairs, bouncy seats, playpens, "exersaucers", swings, etc for infants?
Do you provide a separate bed/cot/crib for each child?
Do you provide the bed linens?
Are bed linens shared?
Describe the main room where the children will spend most of their time while playing. Is it on the main floor, basement, or upstairs, etc.?
Approximately how large is the area where the children will spend most of their time?
If you provide an outside play area, do you have a shaded play area?
Do you have a screen room/enclosed patio where the children might play?
How do you handle discipline situations in which no child was injured?
How do you handle discipline situations in which a child was injured? (biting, hitting, etc.)
Do you spank?
Do you use "time-outs"?
Do you separate unruly children from the others?
Do you cancel contracts of especially unruly children? If so, under what conditions?
What other discipline methods do you use?
What types of rewards do you use?
Meals and snacks:
Do you provide hot/cooked meals? If so, how often?
What are some typical foods and beverages that you serve?
Do you accommodate special diet requests, such as Kosher, Muslim, vegetarian, food allergies, portion size, etc?
Do you have a nutrition expert on staff, or do you plan meals with nutritional requirements in mind?
Do you provide a weekly menu to parents in advance?
Do you allow children to bring special foods?
Do you allow children to eat at times other than scheduled meals and snacks?
Do you require children to finish their meals?
Do you allow children to have additional portions if requested?
How often do you provide sweets, such as candies, cookies, cakes, brownies, ice cream, etc?
Do you require that infants bottle feed on a schedule?
Do you require premixed formula, or is dry formula acceptable?
Do you have freezer space to accommodate mothers who express breastmilk for their infants?
Do you offer filtered/bottled water?
Do you provide any organic/health foods?
Do you accommodate parents requests to administer prescription medications?
Do you administer over-the-counter medications, such as Tylenol, Pediacare, etc as needed, or only at the parent's request?
Do you require that children who have a cold stay at home? If so, for how many days?
Under what conditions would you send a child home due to a suspected illness?
Under what conditions could a child return to care after an illness?
Are you trained in infant/childhood disease recognition?
If you are CPR/First Aid certified, do you regularly update your CPR/First Aid certification?
Do you offer to care for sick children? If so, are the children in a separate part of the facility? Are there medically trained staff members in this area of the facility?
Do you have outlet covers on all outlets?
Do you have a stove, oven, and refrigerator guards?
Do you have toybox latch guards?
Do you have doorknob covers, etc. to keep children from opening doors that are off-limits?
Do you have lock-guards on doors in areas where children are allowed to play?
Is the main door to the area where the children spend most of their time locked during care hours?
Are the children allowed in the kitchen area while meals are being prepared? At other times?
Do you have a fire evacuation plan?
Do you have fire alarms? A fire extinguisher?
Do you have carbon monoxide detectors/alarms?
Do you have a tornado drill/plan?
Do you use baby monitors in the nap areas?
Do you have locks on all cabinet doors and drawers in kitchen, bathrooms, and laundry areas, etc.?
Do you have a fireplace/wood-burning stove/baseboard heater/radiators in areas where the children are allowed to be? How do you protect children from these items?
Do you have bumper pads on all tables and other hard furniture items with sharp corners?
Do you have window locks?
Do you have a hot water lock on tub/shower/sink faucets to prevent scalding?
Do you use child gates at all stairways and other areas of concern?
Do you use seatbelts on all highchairs and booster seats?
Do you provide car seats for all children in care, or do you require parents to provide them?
Do you have a van or other vehicle capable of safely holding all children in care with you?
Do you have a gun in the house? If so, where and how is it stored?
Do you or any other adults in the house drink alcoholic beverages when the children are present?
Do you have an indoor play area with climbing facilities for rainy/cold days?
Do you allow the children to play on swings, slides, monkey bars, etc.?
Do you allow the children to play in a swimming/wading pool, pond, or stream? If so, what ages?
Do you allow the children to dig in a sandbox/dirt pile? Is the sandbox covered?
Do you have a fenced-in outdoor play area? If not, do you have access to a public park nearby?
If you have pets, do you allow the children to play with them? If so, in what capacity?
Do you allow children to play with toy guns or other toy weapons?
Do you allow older children to play outdoors while you are indoors at any time?
Do you prefer that infants sleep on a schedule?
Do you prefer that infants be comfortable in a baby swing/playpen?
Do you allow infants to use cloth diapers, or only disposable?
If you allow cloth diapers, do you pre-wash or require a sterilizing tub?
How much time do you spend holding the infants in your care?
What do you do with the infants while preparing meals, etc?
Are older children in your care allowed to play outside while infants nap indoors?
Do you provide separate play areas and toys for infants?
Do you provide outside playtime for infants?
Do you allow infants to watch TV? If so, in what capacity?
Do you allow pets in the infant play areas?
Do you have vaporizers/humidifiers in the infant areas?
Do you use pacifiers, or only if provided by the parents?
Do you allow infants to "cry it out" sometimes, or do you usually pick them up the moment they start crying?
Approximately how many hours do the children spend at the following activities?
playing indoors with small/medium size toys
playing indoors with large/climbing/riding toys
reading or playing quietly
provider-led structured play
playing on the computer
field trips to parks/zoo/library/museums, etc
meals and snack times
Are parents allowed to drop by anytime to visit during care hours, or only at specific times?
Are any other adults allowed to visit during care hours?
Do children need to be dropped off or picked up only at specific times?
Do you ever leave the facility during the care hours? If so, do the children go with you, or does an alternate caregiver stay with the children? If so, who?
Do you provide transportation to and from any of the local schools?
Do you do any other jobs during the day, such as medical transcription, home-schooling your own children, or other in-home jobs during the hours while you are providing care?
Do you perform household chores throughout the day, such as laundry, etc that may require you to be away from the children at any time?
Do you accept phone calls during the care hours?
Do you have areas of the facility that are off-limits to children? If so, for what reasons?
Do you provide daily reports of a child's activities/accomplishments? Written/verbal?
How often do you clean/wash the toys?
Are girls and boys allowed to play together, or are they in separate rooms/play areas?
Do you prefer to care for girls, boys, mixed group, or no preference?
Do boys and girls nap in the same room, or do they nap in separate areas?
Do you have separate lockers or cubby holes for each child's coats and personal items?
Do you offer after-hours activities/parties for children and their families on special occasions?
Do you allow older children or other adults to hold the infants in your care?
Do you allow older children/ teenagers/other adults to take the children in your care for walks or stroller rides?
If you have older children of your own, do you allow the daycare children to play with their toys, or do you have specific toys for them?
Philosophy of care:
What do you consider to be the most important aspects of good childcare?
Do you require parents to spend any certain amount of time while dropping children off or picking them up?
When starting to care for a new child, do you first offer any "get-to-know-you" visits during evenings or weekends, prior to the first day of regularly scheduled care? Do you require mandatory visits? If so, how many?
Are there any circumstances under which you would refuse to accept a child in your care facility?
Do you teach/expect children to help with clean up or chores? If so, in what capacity?
Do you consider yourself more of an observer, educator, or playmate of the children in your care?
Do children of different ages play together, or are age groups generally separated?
Do you allow boy children to play with dolls and girl children to play with trucks, or do you prefer to keep toys gender-specific?
What will you do if my child cries?
What do you like most about providing family daycare?
What do you like least?
Where would you like to go now?
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