There is one question I realized I am never asked as a daycare provider during interviews and admittedly, I fail to ask this question of potential families as well:
“Why did your last daycare child leave?” (for providers, asking the similar question: “why did you leave your previous daycare?”).
I get asked numerous questions during daycare interviews: if our house is up to code, schedules, what food I feed the kids, sick policies, discipline policies, pay schedule, but never have I been asked ‘why did your last daycare child leave?’
This question can give answers to many questions and can raise the red flags if there’s any to be raised. Mostly it can give insight as to whether or not the daycare is a good fit for your child and your family. This question is also a great gateway to other questions you may not have thought to ask and additional conversations.
If you are a parent looking for a daycare provider and ask this question, don’t expect an incredibly detailed answer. Daycare providers shouldn’t be giving out too personal or private information. It should be concerning if the provider gives out specific details (names, ages, medical information, etc.), instead of explaining in generalizations. Likewise, if you are a daycare provider and ask this question, this can provide valuable information providers should be concerned about: issues at home that the previous provider was having issues with, issues with paying on time, behavior issues, etc.
This question has been moved to the top of my list when interviewing new families. I’ve overlooked the importance of this question the past four years, but my daycare provider friends and I agree that this question holds significant value in asking for both families looking for care and the provider(s) taking a new child.
Also a few other things to take into consideration while interviewing in-home daycare for your child(ren):
- Don’t expect a clean house in the middle of the day. I usually have dishes overflowing in the sink because I haven’t had time to unload the dishwasher and toys will be covering the floor from the kids playing. What you shouldn’t see: dirty diapers laying around, used tissues or napkins not in the trash, dirty toys, or anything else that could spread germs.
- Ask about safety procedures and what baby proofing has been done to the house. Are doors kept locked or open? Windows? Cabinets? Outlets? Where are knives kept? Are baby gates used? After three years of doing daycare, I was asked if we kept any guns in the home. I had never once thought of this question and was really impressed by it. This should be one of the top safety questions to ask a provider.
- Ask for an example of food served (meals and snacks). Fruit snacks are not an appropriate snack for daycare’s to give kids every day.
- How nap times work, where your child would be sleeping, and check the condition of what he/she would be sleeping in/on (pack n’ play, crib, cot, nap map, couch, etc.). Also check how old/new all equipment is, how often it’s replaced, if sheets and pillow cases are used.
- Open door policy. Be weary of the provider that wants notice whenever you’ll be showing up at their house.
- Ask about any emergency situations: what happens if a child is hurt, chokes, etc.? Ask if anything has happened before (again, they shouldn’t go into great detail). This can give insight how closely the kids are being watched and monitored.
- If there are any pets in the home, ask about any past situations involving the pet(s). All pets at an in home daycare should be up to date on their shots and be seen by a vet regularly.
Choosing a daycare provider for your child(ren) is never easy. These questions are things that should be gone over with anyone who would be caring for your children, but often times, are forgotten to be asked.