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8 Questions to Ask a Prospective Childcare Service Provider

6.7 million children across the US get care from someone who is not a parent or relative to them. 4.8 million of those children go to an organized childcare facility or preschool. There are many options for childcare providers, but how does a parent go about finding the best ones? How can a parent be sure a childcare provider will give the best care possible? It can be very stressful for parents to choose a childcare service for their kids.

Are you wondering what are the best things to ask when you’re searching for a childcare center for your kids? Read on for a list of questions to ask when you consider your childcare options. 

1. Is Your Staff Vetted and What Process Do You Use?

The truth is, sadly, working in childcare isn’t always a lucrative career. The field can see some movement in the workers. You want to be certain that the actual workers who will care for your child have been appropriately vetted for your child’s safety. 

Ask your potential childcare provider about the process they use to vet employees? Do they do the same process for every employee? You want to know that the childcare provider has checked on a potential criminal background for their workers. 

You also want to understand what kinds of training the employees receive. You should also ask about safety certifications and if the childcare worker is up to date on their requirements for employment. 

2. What Is Your Policy for Discipline?

As a parent, you know sometimes your child doesn’t do what they’re supposed to do. When there are many kids together, it can also happen. So, how will this childcare provider handle it when a child isn’t following the rules or expectations?

This is a sensitive topic for parents because each parent has their own feelings about someone else handling discipline for their child. You want to ask specific questions. How does a childcare worker handle it when a child is doing something wrong? Will the child be scolded? Will the worker raise their voice? 

You want to know if the childcare provider uses timeouts and how they are handled. Don’t be afraid to press them on how everything related to this topic is handled. You have a right to protect your child and make sure they are not going to be mistreated. 

3. How Do You Handle Sick Children?

The truth is children get sick and they are very likely to spread it to other kids too. So, you want to know the policy for how the childcare provider will handle sick kids. 

Are they lenient when it comes to a sniffle or a cold? If a child is showing signs of illness, will they remove them to a place separate from other kids until the child can be picked up? Do they have care options for you if your child is sick?

4. What’s the Policy for Vacations and Sick Days?

Since childcare is very expensive, you need to know when you’ll be expected to pay and when you can skip it, if you can at all. 

Perhaps you are fortunate enough to plan a two week vacation to somewhere with water and beach time. Will you still be expected to pay for childcare when your child is gone on vacation? Does the childcare provider offer so many days or weeks of unpaid vacation time per year?

Likewise, are there days or weeks when the childcare provider won’t be open because of vacation time?

You also want to know what happens when your child is sick. Are you still paying your regular rate for care even if they aren’t there in attendance. 

5. What Does a Normal Day’s Schedule Look Like?

You want to know what kind of routine your child will have while in the care of the provider. 

Some care providers don’t have planned activities and will let children just play with the day progressing along. Others will have a more structured schedule with activities. 

You also want to know if your child will get outside play time and how often.

Another important question involves screen time. You probably already have your own struggles and opinions on screen time. You may be adjusting it as your child ages too. But you probably don’t want to pay for childcare only to find out that your child is sitting and watching movies all day long. 

6. What Is the Ratio of Children to Caregivers?

Ask about the ratio of children to caregivers. The ratio is likely to change and adjust as children get older. 

For example, it might be pretty challenging for a caregiver to properly care for six babies at a time. Yet, they could handle six four-year olds at a time. 

You want to know how many caregivers will be in attendance for your child and how many other children will also be present under their care.

7. Are You Licensed and Insured?

You want to make sure the childcare provider is following all of the legal expectations of your area. Have they registered as a childcare provider? Have they filed the necessary paperwork and completed the requirements to be recognized as a licensed childcare provider?

You also want to be sure they are carrying all of the appropriate insurances. 

8. Do You Provide Meals and Snacks?

You will want to know the childcare providers’ offerings for food, snacks, and drinks. Will they provide breakfast and lunch? If they do provide food, you want to ask about how the food is prepared. What happens if there is an issue with a food allergy? 

What are the options if your child is a very picky eater? What type of snacks are provided? 

You want to be sure the plan for food is in line with how you would feed your child too.

Find the Best in Childcare Services for Your Children

Finding the right childcare service for your child can feel a bit daunting. It can be scary to consider leaving your child in another person’s care. By asking the right questions, you can learn a lot about how a care provider will handle your child in their care. 

Are you wondering where to begin to look for a care provider? We can help you with the process. Contact us today to learn about how we can help you find the childcare assistance you need. 

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