Childcare providers have the important role of caring for your children in a warm, nurturing, and safe environment. You would not want to just hand your child over to anyone. That is why it is essential for parents to ask their potential childcare provider important questions. There are many questions that parents should ask their childcare provider and I have included five important questions (that are often overlooked) that parents should ask the provider.
1. What will my child’s day consist of? Parents need to make sure that their children will be placed in a stimulating environment where they can learn a great deal and explore their environment. It is important that children get considerable exercise whether it is outdoor or indoor. Some states require all children to have outside play if weather permits. If your childcare provider cannot prepare you with a well thought out schedule that includes activities, lunch, snack, exercise, and nap (for younger children) then that provider might not be the one for you.
2. How often will my child be fed? Infants need to consume milk every..hours. Older kids need at least two snacks a day in addition to their breakfast and lunch. Parents need to check with providers to make sure their children will be fed accordingly.
3. How do you discipline the children? What is the provider’s policy on discipline? Does the provider leave the child crying unattended for hours; does the provider confront the child with a kind but firm voice? Each childcare provider approaches discipline differently and it is best for parents to understand their methods of discipline.
4. What is the parent visitation policy? Parents should find out what the visitor policy is. Are parents allowed to drop by anytime to see how their child is doing? Is visiting restricted? Is visiting allowed only on certain days? If your child is not attending public school then parents should be able to come and visit without hassle. If private childcare providers are against parents dropping in anytime then you may want to think twice about accepting this provider.
5. What is the late policy? Are there any extended hours of care offered? This is important for parents to ask as they might run late one day. Some providers charge for every couple of minutes that a parent is late and some will offer extended hours for a fee. Others do not offer any such care and may have to resort to calling the police department if a family member does not show up to pick the child up.
6. What is your security and pick up policy? Parents should know how the children are secured and watched over. Can the children easily escape their quarters? Can strangers easily access the vicinity? Are the children safe? Can the provider identify and ensure that their children will be released to the proper persons assigned to pick up their children?
7. What is your allergy policy? Parents should understand how the provider will handle children with allergies. Meals and snacks might have to be prepared specially for children with allergies. It is important that the provider can sufficiently care for children with allergies.
8. Can the provider handle children with special needs? Parents should understand the provider’s philosophy on handling children with special needs. They should find out if the center or provider is equipped to handle children with special needs. Does the provider have significant experience to deal with special needs children? How will the children be transported from place to place? Will there be significant time to ensure that the children receive their meals? Will the children receive the proper help when they need to use the bathroom? Will they be grouped with other children of the same condition?