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Old 05-13-2010, 11:36 PM   #1
leighi123
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What questions to ask a childcare provider?

I got a job teaching kids sewing classes at JoAnns (yay!), that is just for the summer and 2-3hours a day a few days a week. My mom usually watches ds, but will be gone for most of the summer, so I am working on finding childcare for him for the first time!

I found someone who will have 2 other kids close to dsís age, and she does a preschool/Homeschool type program with fun educational activities, plus lots of outdoor time (which ds loves).

She has CPR/first aid, FBI background check, is certified in FL, and I'm assuming she has references (I already asked for them and will check them)

What questions do you ask a childcare provider??? I donít even know where to start! But I want to have a list of stuff to ask when I meet her.
Also, what kinds of things do you look for when you check out the location (her house)?
And when you call references, what do you say/ask?

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Old 05-14-2010, 06:56 AM   #2
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Re: What questions to ask a childcare provider?

As for basic questions, find out a daily schedule for the day, discipline policy, illness policy. Where do the kids nap? Who is allowed in the home? Does she ever take them outside the home? Any pets or smokers in the home? How often does she clean the toys and equipment? Does everything look in good repair and tidy? Does she have a plan in case of emergency? Does she ask a lot of questions to get to know you and your son? As for location, drive thru the neighborhood. I would not take my child to a place where the neighborhood is run down, where people or teens are just hanging out, where there is a lot of activity around the place or a home on a busy street. When you call for references, ask how they are related to the provider. She should not be giving references of relatives, etc. who of course would praise her. It should ideally be at least one past daycare parent and one current parent. Besides that, drop in unannounced when your son first starts. Make sure he is clean and happy upon pickup. Ask him what he did that day. Call a few times and see if you can hear kids crying in the background, etc. (That doesn't necessarily mean anything is wrong but if there is chaos every time you come by or call, that is an issue)
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Old 05-14-2010, 07:04 AM   #3
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Re: What questions to ask a childcare provider?

Sounds really an excellent choice. Pets and smoking would turn me off so if you can think of anything that you don't like ask about it.
The outdoor play is a big plus for me.
Good luck!
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Old 05-14-2010, 08:28 AM   #4
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Re: What questions to ask a childcare provider?

I'd definitely try and meet with this mom AND her kids - if you are able to do it sort of playdate-style, you can see if your son and this woman's kids get along and what her dynamics with her own children are like. I met my sitter at her home, primarily because I would be taking DD over there for her to watch so I wanted to see what her home was like too. If you plan on having this mom watch your son in her own home, it might be a good idea for you too. Pay attention to cleanliness, layout, what types of toys are around, safety concerns, etc. Here are some questions:

--What types of activities do you and the kids enjoy during the day?
--What is your typical daytime schedule?
--Is there a certain area of your house that is "gated-off" for the kids, or do they have free reign? What types of safety precautions are in place? (if you go to the home, you can look for this too)
--(If you can ask this of the kids, even better!) What types of foods do you have to snack on? OR What did you have for lunch? (so I know if it's well-rounded - even if you don't plan on leaving your DS over a meal it's still a worthy question in case you don't want him munching on junk the whole time you're gone...)
--(Ask the kids this one too, if you can) What is your favorite TV show? (Great way to see what type of, and how much, TV they watch)
--Do you know CPR and first aid?
--Do you have a smoke detector and CO detector?
--How would you handle an emergency should one arise?
--What is your descipline policy? AND/OR How do you descipline your children if one misbehaves? (Whatever they say, assume that's how they'll handle your child as well. So, for instance, if you're opposed to spanking and this mom does it, I'd move on)
--Do you have any pets?
--Who lives here? (Seems like a silly question, but if it's this mom, dad, kids, and a creepy uncle, I'd want to know....)
--Do you have visitors over often?
--Do you run a lot of errands? Would you take my child with? (If this invoked a yes answer, I wouldn't automatically disqualify them but I would make SURE they knew it wasn't ok to take my child anywhere - my sitter has taken DD for a walk down to the Elementary school to pick up her daughter, that's ok by me. But to the grocery store? Nope. Do that in your own time.)

Whoever you choose should have a clear understanding of your definition of sick too, because you don't want to be dropping your kid off in an infirmary. Be sure to discuss pay as well, and agree on something up front so there's no hard feelings or misunderstandings. As far as talking to references, I'd ask them most importantly if they felt comfortable with her and if they'd use her services again. Don't be afraid to ask a million questions to make SURE they are someone you can trust implicitly. Because even if it's for an hour, this person is caring for YOUR child. I still use our sitter occasionally and am thankful to have found such a great and like-minded person to trust my children with.
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Last edited by UnderTheStars; 05-14-2010 at 08:30 AM.
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Old 05-14-2010, 09:04 AM   #5
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Re: What questions to ask a childcare provider?

Quote:
Originally Posted by doodah View Post
As for basic questions, find out a daily schedule for the day, discipline policy, illness policy. Where do the kids nap? Who is allowed in the home? Does she ever take them outside the home? Any pets or smokers in the home? How often does she clean the toys and equipment? Does everything look in good repair and tidy? Does she have a plan in case of emergency? Does she ask a lot of questions to get to know you and your son? As for location, drive thru the neighborhood. I would not take my child to a place where the neighborhood is run down, where people or teens are just hanging out, where there is a lot of activity around the place or a home on a busy street. When you call for references, ask how they are related to the provider. She should not be giving references of relatives, etc. who of course would praise her. It should ideally be at least one past daycare parent and one current parent. Besides that, drop in unannounced when your son first starts. Make sure he is clean and happy upon pickup. Ask him what he did that day. Call a few times and see if you can hear kids crying in the background, etc. (That doesn't necessarily mean anything is wrong but if there is chaos every time you come by or call, that is an issue)
This is very helpful, thank you!!
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