Choosing a daycare for your kids can be so stressful. It’s hard to know which questions to ask a home daycare provider in order to make the right decision for your kids and family.
In-home daycares are especially tricky to research as there are not normally many references or online reviews to check so it’s important to ask all the questions during the daycare interview.
If you are currently researching potential in home daycare providers, the best thing you can do is go to the interview armed with a list of all the things you want to know about how they manage their daycare and what you can expect.
Below you will find a comprehensive list of 30 daycare interview questions for parents along with a printable checklist.
Things To Ask A Potential Daycare Provider
A few things that you might want to think about are the daycare policies on things such as:
- Sweets and Treats
One home daycare provider that I interviewed mentioned that, rather than a formal nap time, they all napped together on her couch, including her! Glad I asked!
If you have strong feelings about things like screen time or sugar intake, it is definitely worth bringing it up at the daycare interview to avoid awkwardness further down the road if things are not as you had expected.
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Special Concerns To Mention in the Daycare Interview
If you have any special requirements or unusual parenting techniques that you would like the in home daycare to follow, it is best to bring them up before you commit to a provider. Not all daycares are willing to accommodate special requests, especially if they will disrupt their regular routine or create a lot of extra work.
Examples of special circumstances that are worth mentioning:
- Cloth Diapering (explain what you would need her to do, what supplies you would provide)
- Breastfeeding – if you are still breastfeeding your baby to sleep, it is worth mentioning it in case the first few weeks are difficult at nap time
- Pacifier use – some daycares forbid the use of pacifiers so it is worth bringing up if your child uses one
- Allergies and special food requirements – Not all in home daycares are able to accommodate allergies or they may ask you to bring food in.
- Medications – Let the daycare know upfront if your child requires regular medicine or has an epipen.
30 Questions To Ask A Home Daycare Provider
Although it is impossible to cover every single topic, this list of daycare interview questions will help you to get a feel for any home daycares that you visit and to make the right decision for your family.
Underneath these questions you will find the printable version that you can take with you to the interview.
1.How long have you been in business? Do you have any formal qualifications?
Many home daycare providers do not have formal qualifications but they will probably be able to explain a little of their experience either bringing up their own children or looking after other children.
2. What are your hours?
Make sure the hours work for your schedule and ask how flexible they are. Also find out if they ever close early or if they take snow days or adhere to other school board policies as some do.
3. What’s your holiday schedule? How does your vacation work?
You want to know upfront how much vacation they will take each year and how much notice you will get in case you need to make alternative arrangements. Also confirm whether it is paid or unpaid.
Also make sure to ask about holidays that aren’t stats but that many people take such as the Friday after Thanksgiving.
4. How flexible are you with pickup and drop-off times? Is there a late-pickup fee?
What happens if you are stuck in traffic? Daycare centres often charge a late fee but most home daycares do not.
Is there ever an opportunity for an early drop off/late pick up if needed?
5. Do I pay when my child is ill or when we are on vacation?
At almost all in home daycare, you will pay if you are on vacation (unless otherwise agreed upon eg. teacher’s hours) or if your child is sick.
6. Do you supply diapers and wipes? What else should I bring? Will you use cloth diapers?
If you need to provide diapers and wipes, ask if they would prefer a daily diaper bag or just a large box of each dropped off every few months.
Also ask about sippy cups if your child is using them.
7. Will I receive a daily report of my child’s meals and activities? Do you send photos/texts throughout the day?
I personally love receiving photos of my children out and about with their home daycare. If this kind of comunication is important to you, make sure to ask about it at the interview and don’t assume you will be given information regarding meals etc unless they confirm that to you.
8. Why do you work with children? What do you like most about caring for them? What do you like least about it?
This question is really to get a feel for the daycare and why they have chosen this career.
9. How do you discipline the children? What is your philosophy? Do you use time-outs?
Most daycares will be upfront with you about their disciplining strategies and it is worth asking so you know what to expect, especially with older children and toddlers.
10. How do you comfort the children?
This may sound like an odd question but I had one daycare who comforted all the children by giving them cookies. Now this is one of my must-ask questions at daycare interviews.
11. Do you have up to date CPR and first aid training?
Ask to see the certificate or any other information they can provide regarding their training.
12. Who else lives in the house? Do they have police background checks? Are they around the children?
Everyone who will be around the children (husband, adult children etc) should have police background checks and be willing to provide them to you.
13. What activities do you like to do with the children? May I see a sample of a day’s schedule?
Do they go on outings or are they mainly at home doing crafts and activities? Will they read stories or is it mainly free play? Some in home daycares operate much like a preschool with circle times and scheduled activities while others are more free and easy.
14. Do you have a childproofed indoor play area?
Ask to see the playroom and other areas where your child will spend their indoor time.
15. Do you take the children outside? Where? Walks/backyard?
Do they use strollers or a wagon? Should you provide snow gear and sunscreen to keep at daycare? Ask to see the backyard.
16. Do you drive the children anywhere? Do you have car seats installed? Are they up to date?
Some daycares drive the children to local parks and story times. They may ask you to provide the car seats or they may have their own. If you would like your child to be rear-facing, make sure to mention it.
Many people are not comfortable with their children being driven by anyone other than them so make sure to ask this question if it is important to you.
17. Do you let the children watch television? How much?
What channels do you watch? Do you have ipads or other electronic devices available for the children?
18. Do you use containment devices such as exersaucers and swings? How often?
If you have a young baby, make sure to ask if they let the babies nap in swings or if they are always put down for a nap.
19. Must children be immunized in order to attend?
Some daycare providers will ask to see immunization records and if this is an important issue to you either way, make sure to bring it up at the daycare interview.
20. What is your sick-child policy?
How long do children need to stay home after a fever or diarrhea? If your child gets sick while at daycare, how long do you have to pick them up (some daycares have strict 1 hour policies which can be hard for working parents).
21. Will you administer medications if necessary?
In addition to meds such as epipens, what happens if your child is on a round of antibiotics or ear drops? Will the daycare provider give those medicines to your child?
22. Do you allow smoking in the house?
Although it is unlikely that smoking is allowed when the children are around, it is worth finding out if there are any smokers in the house who smoke after hours
23. What is your release policy? Who can pick up my child?
Do you need to provide a list of approved names and phone numbers? Will they check ID?
24. Do you provide breakfast, lunch, and/or snack? May I see a sample menu?
Ask about visits to places such as McDonalds or other fast food restaurants if that is a concern. Will they provide baby food or should you bring purees yourself?
25. Will you accommodate preferences/allergies? eg. almond milk instead of whole milk.
Make sure to bring any allergies up at the daycare interview in case they cannot accommodate them.
26. Do you feed babies on demand or on a schedule?
Should you send bottles ready made or will they make them up for you if you are using formula?
27. Where do the children sleep?
Ask to see the sleeping arrangements and ask about items such as sound machines and lovies if your child uses them.
28. What is the nap schedule/routine? Do you do Cry It Out?
Do they let the children sleep as long as they need or is there a set wake up time?
29. Do you place babies on their back to sleep?
Sounds obvious but a quick search for SIDs deaths shows that many occur at daycares. It’s definitely something to double check in case the daycare isn’t up on the latest research.
30. May I contact some references?
Ask for the emails or numbers of a couple of recent families who have used the potential provider. Ask them why they left and any concerns they had.
For the free printable PDF version of these questions, just click below. Good Luck!
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