From day one, parents are no strangers to making decisions. Car seats, strollers, and cribs are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to decisions that parents have to make. As babies grow, the decisions don’t stop, and one of the biggest decisions that parents face is choosing a daycare for their little one.
Choosing a daycare is nothing short of overwhelming. Depending on where you live, a simple Google search of “daycares near me” might produce pages of results. How are parents supposed to pick the right daycare for their family?
The beautiful thing about parenting is that there isn’t just one way to do it. Every family is unique, and that’s a good thing! The daycare that your sibling or best friend chose for their child might be different than the one you choose for yours, and that is OK. As the parent, you know your child better than anyone else, and you alone can make the best decision for your family.
That being said, you still might be wondering how to narrow down your options and actually decide on a daycare. If that’s where you are, we’re here for you! We’ve put together a list of questions that we think every parent should ask before deciding on a daycare for their child. The first set of questions is for you—things to consider that will help you narrow down your list. The second set of questions is for daycare providers—to help you find a daycare that supports your goals and desires.
No one can answer these questions except you, so we’ve left them open-ended. Take some time to go over these questions on your own or with your partner. They might help you determine the things that are important to you in a daycare.
- What is my budget?
- How many days will my child be in daycare?
- How important is flexibility to me?
- What is the ideal geographical area?
- How soon do I need to start?
- What do I want my child to get out of daycare?
- What places do people I trust recommend?
Questions to Ask Daycare Providers
Once you’ve thought through the questions above, hopefully you can narrow down your list a little bit. You might also narrow down your list by calling several daycare providers and seeing which ones have availability. When you tour the daycares on your list, here are some questions you can ask them about their services.
- What is your caregiver-to-student ratio?
- How many children are in a class?
- How long have your employees been here?
- What are your credentials? (License number, etc.)
- How long have you been around?
- What is your philosophy on childcare?
- What does a typical day look like for children here?
- What is your tuition/fee structure?
- Do you offer any discounts or scholarships?
- What kind of toys do you have for play?
- How often do children play outside?
- What does screen time look like? Is it allowed, is there any, etc.
- How do you handle a child who isn’t following the rules?
- How do you handle a child who won’t stop crying?
- What activities and/or special days do you plan?
- Do you follow any educational curriculum?
- Do you provide snacks and meals? If so, what kinds of food do you serve?
- Can I send food with my child? If so, are there any rules on what I can send?
- Do you send daily updates and pictures to parents?
- What security measures do you have in place?
- Are your employees all trained in First Aid?
- What is your nap policy?
- What is your sick policy?
- What is your immunization policy?
- What is your pickup policy? Who is allowed to pick my child up?
- What happens if I bring my child early or pick them up late?
- Will I be charged if I take vacation?
- Do you supply diapers, wipes, etc.?
Depending on your family and your child, you might have more specific questions in addition to the ones listed above. You might ask about allergies, cloth diapering policies, drop-in policies, or anything else you can think of asking. When it comes to daycare, there is no such thing as too many questions, so find a provider that takes the time to answer all of your questions and address any concerns you may have. After all, this is your child you are talking about. Our guess is that there is nothing you want more than to be confident in the daycare you choose for them.
If you sense that a provider is getting irritated by any of your questions or concerns, it might be time to start interviewing the next one!
Want to Learn More About PHMA?
If you are looking for a daycare in the San Jose area, we invite you to schedule a tour of Piedmont Hills Montessori Academy! We are more than happy to answer any questions you may have so that you can see if PHMA is the right place for your child. Schedule a tour today!