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9 Important Questions You’ll Want to Ask When Choosing A Daycare

by victoriavadenking
Published: Last Updated on 3 mins read

Have you found yourself laying awake at night, stressing about choosing a daycare facility that you love and trust? Are you experiencing guilt regarding sending your child outside of the home while you return to work? 

If you answered YES to either of these questions, you are in the RIGHT place!

Today, we will discuss the intimidating reality that is sending your little one to daycare for the first time. We will also discuss the most effective way to calm your nerves, and the nine questions you NEED to ask when deciding which daycare you’ll choose to enroll your child!

choosing a daycare

This post is all about choosing a daycare for your child.

If you are anticipating going back to work or needing some time to yourself, you have probably considered all things possible when it comes to choosing a daycare. It can be stressful and overwhelming, to say the least!

If you have experienced this, know that you are not alone. Although it will be hard to be separate from your child for what could be the first time, daycare has been thought to have the following benefits for children:

  • Improved conflict resolution skills
  • Increased capacity for social awareness and understanding of social norms/cues
  • Improved social and emotional development
  • Improved communication skills

The Most Effective Way to Calm Care-Related Nerves

The most effective way to calm any nerves regarding child care is to ensure that you are confident and comfortable with the daycare that you are sending your child to. 

If you fully trust the caregivers that are responsible for your little one, you will spend less time in fear, and more time feeling excitement the moment you are reunited with your child again!

While you probably have your “daycare checklist” of things you desire, there are some things that are simply non-negotiable. Having open communication with your potential care providers is the only way to ensure that your values and morals align with one another.

choosing a daycare

9 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Daycare

How can you ensure that you will feel confident and comfortable with the daycare you end up sending your child to? The key is to be prepared and courageous enough to ask detailed questions to your child’s potential care provider.

As a parent, it can be nerve-wracking to ask what feels like a multitude of questions. However, the only way for you to achieve peace of mind is to ensure you know the caregiver inside and out. 

We have compiled a list of the 9 questions that you NEED answers to before you commit to a daycare center for your child. This is not only for the peace of mind but for the physical and emotional safety of your child. Let’s get into it!

1. What does your daily schedule look like?

There is a wide range of daycares available. Some daycares are home-centered, meaning the child integrates into a laidback, home environment. Other daycares are educationally-focused, meaning daycare participants will be taught according to a curriculum.

There is no “right” or “wrong” format for daycare. As the parent, you know what format will benefit your child.

By asking what is included in the center’s daily schedule, you can get a pretty good idea of what types of mental stimulation will be happening for your child throughout the day.

choosing a daycare

2. Is there a way to keep updated about my child’s progress throughout the day?

Some care centers have video and audio drop-in capabilities, meaning parents can view or hear their child as they wish to. This typically works through an app.

Forewarning: you may spend all day watching your child in class because he or she is so darned cute. (Been there, done that!)

But, in terms of daily academic and behavior updates, there is an app for that as well which is handy.

In our previous daycare facilities, it was almost like a daily diary to know exactly what happened throughout the day which eliminated the questions you might not have time to ask during pick up.

Our oldest is in elementary school now, but I still have the apps from our daycares solely because they hold such cherished memories (and records) from her time there that I haven’t had it in me to delete.

3. What does discipline look like here?

While your daycare provider might not handle situations identically to how you would as a parent, it is crucial to ensure that discipline is managed in a way that aligns with your values.

This may be an awkward question to ask, but you just have to blatantly ask it. And be direct.

Discipline is nothing to be joked about or taken lightly, and you want to make sure when choosing a daycare that your child’s safety will not be compromised when he or she is being reprimanded.

4. When a child is upset, how are they comforted?

It is always nice to know that when your child experiences big emotions, they will be validated and shown love.

By asking your potential care provider how they comfort an upset child, you can learn about how emotions are honored and respected in the facility.

This is a great segway from discipline because when children experience tough emotions (especially for the first time), they often don’t get it right the first several times.

Great teachers know how to redirect instead of reprimand so your child gets to fully experience said emotion and learn how to cope with it.

If the class instruction is anything different, your daycare provider should be able to explicitly detail the protocol without hesitation.

And it needs to be the same for every single student.

choosing a daycare

5. Is outside time a priority?

There is no right or wrong answer here, other than one that is specific to you and the wishes you have for your child.

As studies continue to support the benefits of children spending time outdoors, care centers are increasingly making outside time a priority.

This may be nitpicky, but I am very particular about outside time. But, pay attention to the outdoor equipment when choosing a daycare.

I have no shame turning away from a daycare that has patchy and uncared for grass, and caution tape on the equipment.

Each of our daycares in the past had artificial turf and a rubber playground— it’s easier for falling because of the subtle “bounce” and it’s significantly less dirty than grass and mud.

Maybe because I’m accident prone, I appreciate when daycares pay extra for longer-lasting playground equipment because it eases my peace of mind knowing my child will have reduced bruises when falling on rubber versus tar and cement.

That being said, I also appreciate daycare facilities that also know when to utilize indoor play (even if it’s sunny outside) by carefully watching the rise in hotter temperatures throughout the day.

6. Do children have access to screens and technology?

What types of screens are accessible to children?

How much time per day do children have access to screens? What types of restrictions are implemented on all devices? 

While some screen time is fine, technology is a portal to the outside world where certain beliefs, ideas, or opinions can be exposed to a child in a way that you might not be comfortable with.

To ensure the technological safety of your child, communicate openly with your daycare about your boundaries regarding screen time. 

7. What are your policies on canceled days/sick days?

Be clear with your daycare about what happens if your child is sick.

How long do they need to be clear of a fever before returning?

Do missed days result in banked hours?

By ensuring you have an understanding of the facility policies, you can avoid future confusion or disagreement.

choosing a daycare

8. What is the child-to-staff ratio?

In some areas, licensed daycares have a mandatory minimum child-to-staff ratio.

Even if that is not the case, it is important to think about what YOU consider a safe child-to-staff ratio.

We have experienced a full classroom and a classroom that operated with only four students and one instructor.

We haven’t had any issues with either as long as there are at least two instructors with more than four students.

Individual attention without stress is so important at such a young age, and it should not be sacrificed because there are too many students to one teacher.

9. Are snacks and meals provided? If so, what is served?

Whether or not your child has dietary restrictions, you need to feel confident that your child is receiving the nourishment that they require to feel their best while at daycare!

This is probably the most important question when choosing a daycare as it relates to cost.

Not all daycares provide food, but they may still charge the same amount as a competitor daycare.

We ended up switching our oldest from an amazing daycare facility within walking distance solely because their increase in price did not come with added snacks and meals. Instead, they completely got rid of the food portion!

I had no problem packing her lunch and snacks each day, but after doing so for six months to be told I would have to pay more also…definitely not worth it.

choosing a daycare

This post was all about choosing a daycare for your child.

All in all, sending your child to daycare for the first time is a new, intimidating experience for both parent and child.

However, having a clear understanding of your daycare facility will help you to feel confident in your decision to send your child to daycare.

Even though it is tough, choosing a daycare is so necessary if you’re working outside the home.

It has the potential to be beneficial for both parent and child.

Don’t worry mama, you’ve got this!

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