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July 21, 2021 5 min read

What is your general philosophy on daycare?

This is a broad question so you can probably tell a lot about the daycare from how they answer. Are they focused on discipline, education, playtime, interaction? If there answers aren’t similar to your ways of parenting maybe this isn’t the daycare for you.

 

How many children attend the daycare?

How manny children will your child be interacting with and what are the age ranges.

 

What is the child to caregiver ratio?

You want to ensure your child will be supervised at all times and the daycare has the requirements to do so.

 

Do you provide food and snacks or do parents?

Follow up questions to this would be wether there are rules to what you can put in your child’s pack lunch for example peanuts and if the daycare provide meals what food will they be giving the children?

 

What are your visitation rules?

If you’re a breastfeeding mother or just want to see how their day is structured knowing wether you can visit announced or unannounced is important. It is understandable if they don’t particularly want visitors as it can be disruptive and make the transition of the child leaving their parent even harder.

 

What does a typical day consist of? 

This can vary massively between daycares, some following a structured schedule every day or a weekly schedule where some approaches are more open to letting the children dictate the day. Again just make sure you are comfortable with their approach and think your child can thrive there.

 

How do you handle discipline or behavioural problems?

It’s good to know if the daycares discipline strategies line up with your own as a parent. Do they enforce time outs? Does it depend on the child and their age? Are there consequences for bad behaviour? What is classed as bad behaviour to them?

 

What is your procedure if a parent is late for pick-up?

Daycares understand that life can be busy and will have procedures in place for late pick-up. It’s good to know wether you will be charged extra or if you can give permission for a family member or friend to pick up your child.

What is your policy for a sick child?

It’s good to decide what you expect from your daycare straight away regarding injuries or sickness. Would you like to know as soon as it happened if they’ve scraped a knee or can that wait till the end of the day? What happens when they are sick? So you can be prepared for an early pick-up or missed day. Find out what the procedure is in case of an emergency. 

 

Do you require children to be up to date on immunisations?

Sickness in children spreads like wildfire and is important to be wary of especially in children too young to be fully immunised. Find out wether the daycare require all children to be up to date on immunisations and how they enforce it.

 

Do you potty train?

If your child is potty-training or approaching that age, consistency is key when learning young children which is why it’s super helpful when your daycare helps enforce it as well.

 

Are children divided into groups by age or are they all in one group?

 

Daycare can range from brand new babies to the day before nursery but the requirements of a 5 month old vary drastically from that of a four year old. What system is in place to ensure each child’s needs are met?

 

How do you comfort children who are upset?

A caregiver needs to be able to show compassion and assess a situation suitably. Understanding their approach to comforting an upset child will definitely put you at ease.

 

Do the children have any time outside?

Young children benefit massively from exploring and playing in outdoor environments so if the daycare doesn’t have an outside area you should ask if they have the opportunity to visit any local parks. If so ask how they will be transported and where they will be going.

Are all staff members certified/ qualified?

I imagine it’s quite important to a parent knowing that the caregivers they choose are fully qualified ensuring peace of mind when leaving them responsible for your child. It’s also important to ask if staff members are trained in first-aid. 

 

 

Do you offer refunds for missed days?

Wether a vacation or a sick day, this is a vital part of information. Daycare is expensive so it’s good to be aware of their refunds policy. How long do they need to know in advance? How flexible are they? What are the refund policies regarding closure due to COVID-19?

 

Do you follow any educational curriculum?

Don’t be expecting your daycare provider to be teaching your child to read but enquire if they follow any play based learning or playing with educational toys.

 

Is screen time permitted?

When you’re paying for daycare you don’t expect your child to be plonked in front of a screen all day so it’s good to ask this early on and set your expectations.

 

How do you manage naps?

Naps are really important for the development of young children but it can be difficult for a daycare to navigate nap time when all the children are on different schedules. Do they have a designated quiet time or a separate room children can go when they feel tired?

 

Do you work on social skills with the children?

Your child will be interacting all day with other children and adults, social skills such as manners, sharing and tolerance is learned through these interactions and is important that the daycare encourage this.

 

What holidays are celebrated?

Holidays are important parts of families, culture and religions so finding out if the daycare celebrates all holidays or particular ones can help you decide wether this is the daycare for your child. If a certain holiday is important to you and your family you can request they celebrate it or you could offer to teach them about it. 

 

There are probably a million and one other questions you could ask but these questions should offer some peace of mind when taking your child to daycare. If any of the answers to your questions worry you enquire further or look elsewhere for your childcare. Making sure you are comfortable with who and where you are leaving your child is imperative.