Finding a day care center can be stressful. Every day, parents go to work and leave their child with a child care center. There are lots of programs and with so many of them out there, how do you pick? Most referrals for day care come by word of mouth, the only problem with word of mouth referrals is that each person feels differently about certain child care tactics. It’s probably one of the most important decisions you will make, making the wrong choice for your child could amount to inconvenience or life-threatening disaster. To be sure that you are getting exactly what you and your family need out of child care, you should compile a list of questions to ask the provider. You can use the following questions as talking points to give you an idea where to start.
These questions will be grouped into three; Parental Responsibilities, Child Care Philosophy Questions, and Money Related Questions
Knowing what is expected of you as a parent is a great place to start asking questions.
1) What will the child have to bring with them each day? This allows you to know;
– If your child has to bring meals from home
– If you as a parent has to provide snacks
– If there’s a designated drop off sign in area
– the type of clothing your child should have with them?
– the types of forms you have to fill out
These are all your responsibilities as a parent, and these questions will provide you the answers you need.
Child Care Philosophy Questions
Asking the day care provider if the center has a mission statement in place will be a great jumping off point to understanding what the day care center is geared toward. There are quite a few questions that can be answered by addressing the day cares philosophy.
– How good behavior is rewarded. Since your child is still little, try to know how punishment is doled out?
– If there is any structured teaching throughout the day, and how long play time is.
4) Ask questions about the staff.
– Are there any certified teachers on staff?
– What are the credentials of the staff members?
No one wants to think about limiting the amount of money they will pay to find excellent care for their children, but it is a reality. Each of us can only budget for so much to get the child care that we need. Understanding the fee schedule is important so that a realistic budget can be set.
5) Ask how payment is made?
– Check? Cash? Are debit cards accepted?
6) When is payment due?
– Is there a fee assessed for late payments? If there is a fee assessed for being late with a payment when does that assessment begin?
– Ask the daycare provider if there is a “late charge.” Many care facilities charge additional fees for every fifteen or so minutes that a child is picked up past the agreed upon time. These “late charges” can really add up at the end of the month, knowing whether these charges are a possibility is important. Find out about vacation times for your child. Is this period at no charge?
7) Ask if you’re still charged if your child does not come to daycare due to illness or for whatever reason? Most of the time the answer to this question will be yes, you will be charged whether your child is there or not because the provider keeps their slot open for them. Many care facilities do offer a two-week fee free vacation period though, and some are much more liberal than others when it comes to this. These are all valid questions that will give you the information that you need to make payments on time.
Asking the right questions will help you to choose the right child care situation for you and your family. The questions above will assist you to narrow down what you are looking for. Once you know this, you can use that information to continue your search for a day-care center that can cater to either all or most of your specific requirements. It really is about personal preferences, and if you can find one that matches your criteria, it can provide you with a great piece of mind while you are at work, knowing that your child is in good hands, getting the best care and education at an affordable price.