Interview Questions for Daycare

Updated on June 05, 2009
M.H. asks from Euless, TX
6 answers

I'm going to interview daycare centers tomorrow for my baby girl (who has yet to be born, but will be starting daycare at 12 wks).
Due to some of the recent news out, I was wondering if this would be a "standard" question, or how these situations are handled.
"Are daycare workers ever left alone one-on-one with a child"
Is there a place I can find some of the standard questions to ask?? I'm a little overwhelmed when it comes down to what to expect!

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So What Happened?

Thank you all SO MUCH!! This is a HUGE help! I'm going this afternoon, so, hopefully we'll find a good place!
Thank you again for your help and advice!

More Answers



answers from Dallas on

Hi There,
Here you go...(sorry so long) I used this when my oldest started 4 years ago and updated it with my second. #1 rule... don't be intimidated if they act funny when you are asking them these questions. Bottom line is that most people spend more time and energy looking for a car then childcare and these people are going to be with your baby more hours a day then you so ask away :-)

* Do you keep the age groups separate? Playrooms, Playgrounds?
* What is the teacher/child ratio?
* What do they do if the teacher calls in sick -- who fills in? Is there a standard sub?
* What changes occur during the summer i.e. attendance, ratio, staffing changes, special activities?
* Do you offer part time care? After hours care? What is the fee?
* What type of security you they have in place?
* How clean is it, is there a cleaning crew or are the teachers responsible?
* Is there a budget for weekly activities of are the parents expected to supply the rooms with supplies?
* What is your policy on disinfecting toys?
* How involved are the parents in supporting the center… are there fundraisers? Are they for charity or the center?
* Are there parent meetings for decision making? How often?
* What are the avenues of communication from the Director/administrative staff… website with lesson plans, menu, etc.? Newsletter?
* What does the menu consist of… healthy food… is it the same food every week or a 4 week rotation?
* Do you offer extra activities such as Stretch –N- Grow, Flips Bus, Karate, Music Together or computer enrichment? Is there an additional fee?
* Can I see a sample of your lesson Plan/Daily activities plan? (This is important even with infants)
* Are the teachers thoroughly screened for background and health issues?
* What training are the teachers expected to have… degree, CPR, First Aide?
* When is tuition due… Weekly, Monthly, what day of the week?
* Will the center debit a bank account/debit card/credit card for tuition?
* Is the tuition less if the center is closed for a facility event like training?
* What does the Holiday schedule look like?
* Is there an annual tuition increase (Montessori has a set yearly increase FYI)
* What is the inclement weather policy? What is the fire / Tornado plan with the kids?
* What is the sick child policy? Is there a 24 hour rule?
* How does the teaching staff communicate to the parents about potty/diaper changes, eating progress, naps… daily take-home sheet/something in the classroom?

I would also look at the DFPS website to see if your center has any recent violations, here is the website. Good Luck and congratulations on your new baby!!!


2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Try Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. They regulate the daycares and home daycares. You can get reviews on the places and see how they were rated and what they needed to improve on.

Check into Campfire. They can actually do the research for you, for a price. I checked in with them and they told me the basics and what I could do online and do for free by myself. They were a huge help and I decide against paying extra money for them to do the research.

I would get personal and ask questions about how they feel about discipline when the child gets older. I would ask about how they feel when a child is sick and what is there policy on that. Definitely ask about when you are late, is there late fees? There may be times, when you need care in the evenings or on the weekends, are they open then?

How long do they keep babies in swings or bouncy seats, massaging seats,etc. It is not good if kids are left in these things for hours. It will affect their development. It is important to know. Ask if your child has a disability or issues, how will they handle this type of situation? Will there be one main worker that will be with your child or is it different people each day watching your child? I would look over the daycare for cleanliness, toys if they are kept clean and working. I would ask if they watch TV a lot or not at all,etc... You might want to ask about crafts or any type of educational type activities. How long are the kids outside playing? You might want to check the outdoor equipment and if it is safe for your child.

I would definitely go back to the daycare when children are there. This way you can see what really goes on. In an interview with no kids there, you don't always see the real picture.

You might want to ask safety questions like where do you go in an emergency? Do they have a van or some other transportation for field trips? What are safety precautions with this, do you need to leave your car seat or do they car seats available?

How long have they been in business? What training and experience do they have with children? Do they have children of their own? What ages? I would ask about the qualifications of the other employees as well. I would ask for recommendations as well, from parents if they will give that info out to you.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Hi, I would ask:
Is there a secured website where I can see the interactions of her classroom while I am at work?
How do you feel about new mommies calling during the day to check on things?
How are your bottles heated?
What is the medicine policy?
What is the feeding policy? My son HAD to be fed every 3 hours due to some complications. Their policy was every 3 hours means no more than 4 hours. Which meant by the end of the day, he was short a feeding.
That is all I can think of now.
Most places should have the same teacher to child ratio and not heat bottles in a microwave.
I was neurotic the first few weeks of day care and really liked the webcam, the glass walls of the classrooms so everything in every room could be observed, and the ability to call the nursery and just see how my son was doing.
I guess more important than anything, trust your gut.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

The suggestions by others are all great questions to ask. The only other one I can think of (after 2 kids in daycare from 8 weeks old on) is to make sure they have an open door policy. That's to say - you or your husband or anyone else you designate can come by at any time to see or check up on your child, pick them up at any time, etc. With any daycare there shouldn't be any time you can't go by. Congrats on your upcoming baby !


answers from Dallas on

Hi M.,

I was an Asst Dir at a very large daycare in Keller. The ladies that have answered you have given you very good questions to ask as well as info to the licensing site.

In answer to your ? though yes there are able to be left alone. Even if the teacher is a male. Though chances are you will not find a male teacher in an infant room but you never know with potty breaks etc.

If are looking at daycares near Keller and the surrounding areas I do know some info on quite a few and if you would like some recommendations please feel free to email me privately.




answers from Dallas on

I know you've already been to the daycares at this point, but I just wanted to add something. I worked in daycare for a total of 4 years, 3 years at the same place (I left to stay at home with my son last year). I absolutely loved my job!! And so did the other teachers I worked with. I know the news stories are horrible, and the things that have happened are unthinkable. However, those situations are so rare compared to the many wonderful daycares out there! Yes, there are those rare people who should never work at a daycare, but 99.9% of daycare workers are wonderful people! Believe me, no daycare teacher is in it for the money! I could have gone somewhere else and made more money, but I truly loved my job! What I usually tell people is to trust your gut. No one can take care of a child like his/her own parents, but most daycares try their best to make a loving, caring, safe environment for your child. I know it's hard to leave your child in someone else's care, especially when you don't know the person at first. But I can assure you that the majority of daycares and teachers are there b/c they want to help make your child into the best person they can be! They are there to help nurture and to help your child grow and learn new things!

BTW...the daycare I worked at required background checks for anyone that would be in the same room as the kids. It's a daycare for low income families, and we had volunteers that came in each week to read and play with the kids, and they also had to have a background check done before being allowed to be in a classroom. I believe it was a state mandated rule to have background checks done, so you'll want to ask about that.

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