Years ago I made the tough decision to be a working mom. It wasn’t an easy decision and with all aspects of parenting there are pros and cons. One con is finding a child care provider that will care for your children as you would. It’s a big responsibility that shouldn’t be bestowed upon just anyone. When Loca #1 was just over a year old, a coworker recommended a child care provider. The Boof and I reached out to her and instantly knew she would be the one to care for our children. For the past three and a half years she has done an impeccable job watching over Loca #1 and #2. Sadly, July is the last month she will be in business. As she moves on to nursing school, we too, must move on. The thought of leaving my daughter with some stranger is very scary. We’ve been looking into various child care centers and home day care centers. We’ve spoke to a few and I’ve narrowed my essential questions list down to four. Here are four questions to ask a potential child care provider. The following is a preliminary list meant to narrow down your list of potential child care providers. They will ultimately tell you if the provider is suitable to further interview and visit.
1. What certifications or early childhood education do you have?
Many people can open a day care within their home and pass licensing, but what do they do afterwards? Do they just watch children for the sake of income? Or do they strive to maintain a current knowledge of safety procedures and child care philosophies? Someone that continues their education demonstrates an interest in child care beyond the supplemental income, and that speaks volumes.
2. How do you handle temper tantrums?
Hearing someone say how they would handle a temper tantrum sheds a little light on whether their philosophy lines up with my personal parenting style. Being on the same page with a child care provider is important to avoiding confusion for the child. Sure, a provider wouldn’t necessarily act as a parent would; however, knowing the rules and parameters the child must adhere to is essential.
3. What is your vacation and holiday policy?
Every day care provider is different; however, I’ve learned that the providers worth spending time investigating, have a contract lined up and policies in place. Aside from feeling comfortable with the provider’s ability to care for my child, I also am concerned for the monetary aspect. Knowing our financial obligation ahead of time, allows us to plan and budget. I’m all about budgeting and knowing where my money is going. Also knowing the provider’s holiday schedule gives us the ability to line up backup day care, if needed.
4. What does your meal plan consist of?
It seems that more and more people are becoming concerned with the quality of food they are ingesting. As a parent, I feel a great sense of responsibility to ensure my children are being provided with the nutrition they need. Of course, it is a concern that my children will continue to receive the proper nutrition outside of my care. Finding out up front if a provider opts for sugary cereal over something more nutritious will help me opt for the provider that supplies a better menu.
These four questions are not the end of the road. You should ask numerous questions. As many as you need to feel comfortable; however, these questions are essential and a great jumping off point. Starting with these questions will help you to move on to another provider should you not like the answer you receive. Best of luck! It’s not an easy task.