A new daycare is a big decision for any family and it can be overwhelming. But there are some daycare questions you should always ask before signing on the dotted line. Here are 15 questions to consider: Do they offer meals, snacks, and nap time? -How do they handle a fussy child? And more!
What is the teacher-to-child ratio?
The smaller the number, the more attention each child will get. If there are too many children to one teacher, then it can lead to less personal care for your child. The National Association for the Education of Young Children recommends that no more than 10 toddlers should be with one adult caregiver during naps and playtime combined.
What is included? i.e. Snacks, Breakfast
Some daycares include snacks, breakfast, and lunch while others do not. This is a major deciding factor for many parents. I know for me, I loved how my son’s daycare had breakfast if I had him at the daycare before a certain time.
What are the hours? Full-time/Part-time?
You want to make sure that your schedule will fit with the center’s schedule! And vice versa, you want to make sure that they can accommodate any schedule changes you or your family/friends might have, especially if you’re a single parent.
How often do they change diapers?
This is an important question to ask because it can be frequent or very rare, depending on the daycare’s policy with cleanliness and sanitation. Some centers only change them after every meal or if the child soils them. Find out first before signing up! And then determine whether that schedule will work for your family.
What is their policy with sick children?
Some centers are stricter than others when it comes to sick kids, which means they may require a doctor’s note before allowing the child back into the center. Some places even have the child leave, if they have diarrhea. If you have a child that gets sick frequently or has friends/family that are sick often, this is an important question to ask.
Do they ever take them out of the daycare?
There are some daycares that take kids out for playdates and outings, which adds a nice social aspect to their daycare. Some even have “field trip days.”
What is the age range of the class?
This is another important question, especially if you have a younger or older child. You want to make sure they will fit in and feel okay! Most centers offer different age groups so parents can choose which is best for their family.
What activities do they do?
You want a daycare that provides a wide variety of activities for your child. Some places only have the kids play indoors but some others even take them to local playgrounds and parks.
Do the daycare provider and assistants have training?
This question is important because having a degree in early childhood education or child development, along with daycare training and CPR certification, will instill more confidence in decision-making and general daycare practices. It is also very reassuring for parents to know their daycare provider has undergone such extensive background or behavioral checks.
Can you get a copy of the schedule of what the day looks like?
Some centers have a very structured schedule, while others are more flexible. It shows the activities, when nap time is, and when they eat. It can also help if you have your child in the daycare part-time so that way you can try to follow the same schedule at home.
Do they have separate cribs/cots for nap time?
This is important because some daycares co-sleep the children, which may not work for every parent. Some places allow their babies to share a cot too. This question is super important right now, especially with Covid-19.
Do they have an app like Tadpoles, describing what they did and how much they ate?
These types of apps can be very helpful in determining whether or not your child is eating enough and how many diapers they are going through as well. It also shows the activities they did for that day. You get a report after you sign out your child and it stays on the app for you to be able to review at a later date.
Do they send pictures of your child throughout the day via an App?
This is important because it helps you feel like you’re there and can see what’s going on. Plus, we miss our children while they are in daycare. Nothing makes our day, like seeing a photo of our child having fun at daycare. Now, due to privacy reasons, the photo will only contain a picture of your child playing by themselves. They cannot send photos of other children.
How do they handle a fussy child?
You want to make sure that the center your child attends handles fussy children, in a manner that will work best for your child. You would hate to find out when dropping off your child at daycare, only to have them cry throughout the entire time there.
What do they do if the child doesn’t do what they want him or her to do?
You also want to make sure they do not spank or yell at your child for acting out. The daycare needs to be patient and kind towards the kids in their care. You also want to make sure it aligns with your values and how you want to raise your child. If you are unsure which parenting style is best, CLICK HERE to learn more about the Four Different Parenting Styles.
A key step in finding the perfect daycare for your family is asking a lot of questions before enrolling. It seems like an easy enough task, but you have to go into it with intentionality and thoughtfulness because there are so many factors that could make or break your decision. The more information you gather on different centers, the easier it will be to judge which one might work best for you and your child’s needs. And remember: no matter how much research you do on any given school, nothing can replace actually seeing what goes on firsthand during a visit!