Many families require that their children go to daycare due to financial and employment issues, as well when it is a personal choice in raising their children. Finding the right provider can be a challenge that meets your individual needs and expectations. You’ll want to find a center that works with your budget and location, but you also need to find one you feel confident leaving your children with. Here are 5 questions to ask when researching and choosing a daycare provider:
Are You Licensed as A Childcare Provider Facility?
A lot of childcare facilities are unlicensed and operate as a sort of neighborhood babysitting group. Up to a certain number of children, this can be okay, but overall it’s a good idea to make sure the people you leave your kiddos with are licensed. You want to make sure that the number of children to adults is appropriate, so your kids will be given attention and watched over safely. State licensure requires that a childcare facility abides by certain laws and ethics that ensure your children have the best and safest experience possible.
Are there Cameras in the Facility (and do I have access to watching video)?
For parents, it can help your peace of mind to be able to check in and watch your kids periodically. This doesn’t mean that you’re a helicopter parent out to spy on the providers; it simply indicates that you want the childcare to be transparent and for the workers to feel comfortable with parents knowing what’s happening with their children throughout the day).
What is your Drop-In Policy?
Be sure to inquire as to what the childcare provider allows as far as dropping in unexpectedly to see what your child is up to. This is your child, and it’s a red flag if the facility is not open to allowing you to see him/her during the day.
Can I Observe before Enrolling?
You want to see how the center operates before you sign up to have your child under your care. Do the workers seem engaged? Do the other children seem happy? Are there fun and intellectually stimulating activities and resources (books, toys, learning materials)? Is there snack time? You want to learn as much information as you can before you pay for their service.
What is their Discipline Philosophy?
How does the facility handle kids who break the rules? How do they use these situations as a teaching moment? Of course they need to maintain order and make sure everyone is safe, but you want to make sure that their philosophy on discipline matches your own. Many parents may not feel comfortable with a childcare worker discipling their kid at all, so it is important to have a clear, candid conversation about the facility’s structure and expectations.
Overall, I encourage parents to do their research and also to go with their instinct when it comes to searching for daycare. Leaving your child with someone is no small thing, so make sure that you trust them.