Daycare Interview Questions for Parents and Other Considerations
When it comes to the right childcare for your family, there are many important considerations. Be sure to do research, read reviews, and have a list of go-to interview questions - We can help you start these conversations!
You’ve housed, nurtured, and cared for your baby for months (including those months in your comfy belly!) and ensured you’ve done everything possible to keep them safe, healthy, and thriving. Maybe you’ve read the books and maybe you had your healthcare provider on speed dial with important questions like “what can I eat?”, “how can I exercise?”, or “is this or that safe my baby?” – and you’ve done an amazing job! Now, between bonding, feeding, pumping, and those great newborn snuggles, you might be preparing for your return to work. It can be a challenge, especially if you might be feeling as though you just got your new daily routine with a newborn down pat – figuring out sleep patterns, a nursing and pumping schedule, and, most importantly, enjoying those first beautiful weeks with your baby in the comfort of your home.
As you adjust to your new normal and begin venturing into the unknown world of childcare, it’s totally fine to feel a little anxious! When it comes to the “right daycare” for your family, there are many important considerations – and, just like the questions you had for your healthcare provider throughout your pregnancy, these considerations are crucial as you find the right childcare situation for your baby. As you explore your family’s options, be sure to do your research, read reviews that may be available online, and consider a go-to list of daycare interview questions for parents like you – to help you narrow down your list of potential childcares.
Know Your Daycare Options
Depending on where you live, there are often many options for selecting the perfect childcare for your newborn. Be sure to know the differences between each, including state or local requirements and consider your own pros and cons:
- In-Home Daycare: This childcare option is hosted in a home environment and may be less pricy than a daycare facility or private nanny. In some cases, in-home daycares are run by parents themselves and may offer flexibility in terms of hours available. As a working parent who may have changing meetings, shifts, or deadlines, you may be able to negotiate drop-off and pick-up times based on your unique work schedule.
If you’re considering an in-home daycare, always opt for those that are licensed and in good standing with your state of residence. This means that they must follow certain directives, such as how many children are allowed in the daycare per day and how many support staff they must have employed based on the number of kids in their care. It also means that they are held to state-mandated daycare standards. Because of limitations on the number of children that an in-home daycare can accept, you may like the idea of smaller group sizes, closer interaction, and more personalized attention given to your baby – which is especially vital in those early newborn weeks and months!
Finally, if your newborn is also a little brother or sister, an advantage of in-home daycares is that they will typically keep the kids together rather than in different rooms based on age group – which is often the case with group daycare facilities. Your little ones may enjoy having the familiar face nearby while you are busy at work!
- Group Daycare Facilities: Unlike in-home daycares, a daycare facility is held inside of a commercial building. Because these daycare facilities usually have higher overheads than in-home daycares, such as rent, utilities, marketing and advertising, commercial-grade cleaning, building repairs, and more, this option is often pricier than other childcare options. With that in mind, there are plenty of perks as well. Group daycare facilities usually have more staff – which means that sporadic closings due to illness or other situations, such as vacation or a family emergency, are a lot less likely to happen. This can avoid unnecessary headaches and eliminate the unexpected worry of having to suddenly find back-up childcare. If your baby’s usual caretaker at a group daycare facility is out for some reason, then you can typically rest assured that they will have another staff member filling in during their absence. Group daycare facilities may also provide a more classroom-like environment for your little one, which can be beneficial as your baby grows and becomes interested in more structured activities.
Daycare Interview Questions for Parents to Ask
When selecting a daycare, it is imperative to tour any that are on your list of potentials – both in-home daycares and group facilities. You may choose to call around first and schedule your tours ahead of time or, if you have a group daycare facility on your list, stop by one morning or afternoon if you’re in the neighborhood – this can allow you to observe the environment in a more organic setting while getting your questions answered. As you begin your daycare tours, keep in mind the distance of each from your home and workplace. Is it conveniently on your route from one to the other, or do you have to go a little out of your way? While logistics can certainly be an important factor in deciding on your newborn’s care, we’ve included a sample list of daycare interview questions for parents just like you – which may help you prioritize what are or aren’t deal-breakers, so you can find the perfect situation for your little one!
Safety is, of course, the main concern of every parent, so start with those ultra-important questions first and then continue the conversation from there:
Safety-Related Interview Questions
- Has each teacher or caretaker been given a comprehensive background check? (tip: be sure to brush up on federal, state, and local laws when it comes to criminal background checks for childcare providers)
- What certifications, credentials, and/or education (if any) do your teachers and/or caretakers have?
- How many total kids in total are enrolled in this daycare and how many children are assigned per teacher or caretaker?
- How many infants only are enrolled in this daycare and how many infants are assigned per teacher or caretaker?
- Does the infant program follow any particular curriculum or educational standards?
- Is your daycare licensed by the state? (tip: licensing requirements vary significantly by state, so be sure to understand what exactly is required for your state of residence – visiting childcare.gov can be a great place to start)
- Have your employees been trained and/or certified in newborn and infant care, such as pediatric first aid and C.P.R., safe sleep practices and prevention of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), use of medication, and prevention of shaken baby syndrome, abusive head trauma, and child mistreatment?
- Are infants supervised at all times, including when napping? Does your daycare follow safe sleep guidelines?
Once all safety-related questions have been discussed, have a list ready of other important considerations that you may wish to ask about. Remember that breast milk feeding routine that you’ve officially perfected? There’s no need to stop now – and certainly not because you’ll be returning to work! Be sure to ask nutritional and logistical questions like:
- I am still feeding my baby with breast milk. If I provide pumped milk each day, can my baby’s caretaker feed it to him or her?
- How will my pumped breast milk be stored before, between, and after feedings? Does your daycare follow the CDC’s guidelines for storing and serving breast milk?
- Should I provide a copy of current breast milk storage guidelines (you can also download a Spanish version here!) to ensure proper storage and feeding of my pumped milk?
- How often will my baby be fed and/or offered my pumped milk?
- What supplies will I need to provide each day for my baby? What supplies are included at your daycare? (tip: let your daycare take as much of the weight off your shoulders – literally – as possible, by providing some essentials like diapers, wipes, and toys!)
- What days and hours is your daycare open? Are those hours at all flexible?
Financial-Related Interview Questions
- What is your daily and/or weekly rate? Are there any additional one-time or annual fees to consider?
- Does your daycare accept vouchers, participate in childcare assistance programs, or offer discounted options? (tip: you may wish to explore childcare.gov to see if your family is eligible for financial assistance programs that may help you obtain quality daycare for your baby)
- What payment methods does your daycare accept?
We know, mama – choosing the perfect childcare provider can be almost as difficult as entrusting your baby to someone else’s care! Carefully considering the pros and cons from each daycare that you speak with and asking all the right questions can help you find not just the best childcare for your family – but also one of your biggest allies as a new parent. You’ve got this!