Questions for day care provider??

jami_nyomiFebruary 6, 2002

I'm going back to work 3 days a week in April and will need to have someone take care of Nyomi (she'll be 5 months old when I go back to work). I found a couple of great day care *schools* in the area I live in, but recently was given a wonderful recommendation of a woman who has a large (12 child) family day care in her home. We are going to visit her in her home next Wednesday and she said to bring a list of questions we might have.

I have some questions...what do we need to provide? policy on sick children? days she may be closed (holidays)? ... but would appreciate any advice on other important questions.



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Do they hand-feed the bottles (if baby still on bottles) - I didn't want them lying the baby in the crib to drink.

What is the menu, what do they serve when kids are older? (mine adhered strictly to FDA guidelines and kept written logs of what was served)

What is the daily schedule/routine?

Check the place out for safety hazards, like blinds cords, outlets, etc.

What is the diaper routine? Do they use gloves/wash hands when done? Are soiled diapers stored separately from where food is served/bottles prepared?

What is caregiver/child ratio?

What is their status in the state? Are they certified with the state?

Will they give you a written report each day? At 5 months, you should get how many BMs, how many bottles, was baby relatively happy that day, etc.

What is their policy on late pick-up.

Get references and call them. Ask a sampling of questions to the reference (what was your experience with this provider and diapering / feeding / etc)

    Bookmark   February 6, 2002 at 11:53AM
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Good questions!

Don't forget their discipline policy, which will be an issue in the next 5-8 months. I know of some places that spank with the parents ok; and not only is that NOT okay with me, I don't want my son to see adults hitting children. Similarly, I like my in-home provider because of her policy on what the kids can and can't do. There's no hitting, no toy gun/fighting playing, and they can't tell eachother that the other kid can't come to the birthday party, which sounds sort of silly but is a huge thing with kids.

Backup -- if she takes a day off, or goes out for a dr. appt or an errand, does she have some one who come to watch the kids for a while, and what are that person's qualifications?

Payment -- monthly, weekly, and do you pay for her days off?

Educational philosophy. Even though this isn't a daycare, school per se, you shouldn't have kids plunked in front of the tv all day. Ours has a computer with child-learning software, and the preschool kids have "school" every day. They work on letters, numbers, colors. She even involves my 19mo in this.

I'd also add to the diaper routine -- are they changed by need, or on schedule? You don't want your baby sitting around soggy or soiled for an hour waiting for the 2pm change.

Naps -- are they scheduled or on demand? At 5mo, you're probably heading towards a schedule for naps, and they should help you figure out something that works there and at home on weekends.

Can you drop in? I wouldn't take my son somewhere I couldn't show up at any time, whether to pick him up or to visit. Similarly, you should drop in unannounced at least once before you begin, so you can see what's going on when they're not prepared for a visitor.

Spend some time there apart from the interview with your baby. Pay attention to the other kids. Do they seem bored, happy, attended to? I interviewed one in-home person who said all the right things, but the kids were just laying around the floor with nothing to do, and she actually called one of the kids dumb. Make sure you have a chance to observe the interactions between kids, between the children and the caregiver, and let your daughter play for a while and make sure she's comfortable.

Finally, trust your gut!

    Bookmark   February 6, 2002 at 12:36PM
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Find out if she is licensed. And if she is, call your state health department or whoever is in charge of licensing and find out about any complaints or written reports they have on her. Don't forget to do a follow up call with the licensing agency a few months later to make sure things haven't changed.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2002 at 1:51PM
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Wow, you guys are awesome.

I'm making a copy of all the responses to jami_nyomi's questions. My 6 m.o. DS will be going to a childcare provider in the near future, so Mommie can get some "Mommie time" back into her life.

Thanks for the info, ladies!!

    Bookmark   February 6, 2002 at 5:40PM
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Hi Jami!

Here's what I have asked all the daycares we visited. They may not all be applicable in your case.

Do they accept pumped breastmilk and/or formula? (Some places won't allow pumped breastmilk)
How is it stored?
Are cloth diapers allowed?
Do they supply disposables/wipes or do we?
How many bottles do they require each day? (Clean one after each feeding?)
Is there backup in case the leader is sick?
Do you pay for days such holidays, the days the teacher is sick, and days Nyomi won't attend? Or, do you only pay when she is there. (We have to pay for days when DD will not be there, holidays, etc. until vacation credit is earned.)
What is their policy on people picking the child up? (Make sure they are real careful about not just allowing anyone to pick DD up.)
What is the ratio for child to teacher? (I've heard 2:1 is best for infants because the teacher only has 2 arms in the case of a fire, etc. It will be rare to find a place with that low of a ratio though. 1:5 is usually the limit allowed by law.)
Do the children follow a set schedule (eating, napping, etc.) or go at their own pace?
Do they record anything for you (when she naps-for how long, when she eats-how much, etc.)
Since it's a home daycare you might want to ask if it is acceptable to leave Nyomi's stuff there or if you have to take it home nightly (extra clothes, diapers, socks, etc.)
How much notice is required if you need to discontinue service?
Are there pets in the home?
Does anyone smoke in the home?
Is she available on off-days in cases of emergency? (Drop off service)
Will Nyomi have a crib or where will she sleep?
What are the hours?
Any registration fee?

That's all I can think of now. I learn more from first impressions than I do from questions. Look around the place for safety standards (locks, baby gates, stairs, etc.) Does she seem nice and caring, etc?

Good luck to you!


    Bookmark   February 6, 2002 at 11:43PM
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You guys are fantastic!!! I'll let you know how it goes!!!


    Bookmark   February 7, 2002 at 12:21AM
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While visiting a day care center with my daughter (I'm the Grandma) we noticed that the day care workers seldom smiled and that the children were not smiling. Everything else was in order...clean, log books, place for pumped breast milk, 1:4 ratio of child to day care helper...lots of fun toys and things to do. No way would we place a baby in a place where there was not tons of smiling and laughter going on.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2002 at 11:56AM
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I'm a new mommy to be and I just printed this whole thing out. This is great!

BTW: Jami I owe you an email. I will get to it. THing have been crazy but are slowing down! :-) Thankfully!


EDD 04/08

    Bookmark   February 12, 2002 at 11:16AM
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As a provider here are some of my added suggestions...

*Are they on a funded food program...they require healthy eating and records to prove it.
*Do they allow children to bring thier own toys?.some don't
*Do they require paid vacation?
*Do they smoke...and about pets, are they current on all shots?
*How often do they get to play outdoors?

As far as my state, Kansas, we have strict guidelines to follow. I am a licensed in-home daycare but only have 4 kids, 2 being my own, and 1 part time/drop-in. I like to think of myself as a glorified stay-at-home-Mom :) Here are some of our requirements that you could keep an eye out for or ask about..

*Posted fire, tornado, flood and disaster plans and monthly drills recorded for fire and tornado
*Posted license
*Posted log of all children in the times that they are there
*Posted certificate from the Fire Dept. stating any problems or not
*If they take your child anywhere off the property, they need to have a written permission slip for each time..and ask about car seats
*I post a discipline policy
*All meds need to be in a locked box and logs kept
*Smoke detectors in rooms which children sleep in
*Sleeping materials for nap need to be thick like a comforter or pad.
*Children under the age of 18 months should be in a crib or play pen for naps
*A clean diaper changing area
*Electrical outlets covered
*Ask about time allowed for tv, some people may just use it as a babysitter
*Definately drop in unexpected if okay
*Ask your child, if able, about their day
*Ask everyone you can about the provider, call the state for information and your local SRS office, you can never know too much about the person you are allowing to help raise your child
*Something that I personally think is important.. is the home clean? Not toys scattered as much, but ask to use the restroom and really see if it's clean when walking around
*Another thing to ask is how often they sanatize toys
*When you do choose a provider, in-home or a group, treat them well. Don't treat them like you know it all, some providers spend more time with the children than their own parents do..listen to them. Treat them like a friend and they will be more likely to love your child like thier own and respect you much more.
Good Luck

    Bookmark   February 26, 2003 at 7:40AM
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here is a good web site i found they have alot of stuff on daycare hope this helps you all brenda

    Bookmark   February 27, 2003 at 12:11PM
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