What Questions Should I Ask In-home Daycare Provider in Interview?

Updated on June 12, 2007
D.R. asks from Haslet, TX
4 answers

I'm a teacher and have stayed home this last school year w/ my now 14 month old daughter. Unfortunately, I'm going to have to return to work in the fall. I have found a couple of potential in-home day cares that I'm considering. I'm going to interview one of them next weekend and would like your opinions on what questions I should ask?
I know she's registered, about to be licensed. I've looked up her state inspections and reports and she is good. The only violation was 3 paper work things and she resolved it w/in 3 days.
I am extremely worried about leaving her w/ someone, so I want to be EXTREMELY thorough when I'm interviewing.
Thanks in advance,

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answers from Dallas on

Make a list of what is important to you and bring it with you. Just go down the list.

Ask where she will be having nap time how long they go down, what food will she be fed, what is the daily routine/schedule. Will she be running errands with kids in her car? If she does, will she let you know beforehand that she will be leaving? Who is her replacement sitter if she is sick? What type of entertainment will they have, tv and movies all day or does she have activities planned? Does she have pets that make you feel uncomfortables? Does she have a seperate room for the children, or is the room they are primarliy in childproofed well and clean?

Does she allow the older children to play outside, for how long? Does she have a pool or play pool that they can play in? See how many children she watches. What kind of punishment does she do, time out, spanking... Does she have a reward chart (for older kids). Does she have older children at home that help, and do you feel comfortable with them as well?

Definately sign a contract. Many in home care providers require sick pay and holiday pay, and are strict about the child's health (b/c they don't want the other children to get sick as well) so see what her requirements are.



answers from Dallas on

Hi D.,
I'm a registered daycare too and I agree with the advice you have gotten. Its important that they are registered first but I wouldn't put too much on the home inspections unless it is something big. If there isn't any concern by the state, you only get inspected every year at the least, I once went 21/2 years. Things change, and its mostly paperwork stuff that isn't current. The big thing I would say is go with your gut feeling and get references. Get the names and numbers of kids in care currently and even those not in care. You really want someone who doesn't see this as only a paycheck and will become a part of your family. I have kept in touch with kids and their families that I watched the first year I started. They really do become lifelong family friends that you keep in touch with. Registered homes are required to have a contract so you may ask the person to email you a copy so you can have a look beforehand too once you have looked it over. If you would like to see a copy of mine, I can email it to you. Everybodys policies are different but it may give a starting point to see what kind of questions you want to ask. my contact info is on my website at www.kidsinbloom.blogspot.com if you want to take a look or reach me. 1 and 2 yr olds are the best age, its a great age to do it. She will love it! Good luck, A.
Oh, and a lot of providers will just watch teachers kids so if you can find one that does you may be able to work out something with them regarding school holidays or summer months. I fill spots for my teachers kids with older ones so that they won't have to pay in the summer. If I can't fill them they would have to pay to hold the spot. Something to think about...



answers from Dallas on

I would definitely call references. That is going to give you a better idea of her level of care better than the licensing information.

I've been where you are and had a whole packet I brought with me to interviews. I finally thought I found the perfect person through all the time and effort I put into my "research." Turns out, I pulled my son out of there in less than 3 months. I felt like a terrible mom!

Anyone can answer questions perfectly and tell you exactly what you want to hear. Anyone can look like and awesome provider on a Saturday with no kids around.

After having been through this, and now having my own day care, I would strongly recommend following your instincts.

Instead of counting outlet covers, talk with the provider about other things. Get to know her and how she reacts to things. Look for nonverbal things like if she gets rattled easily or defensive at all. It's the little things that make a good provider -- someone you feel comfortable enough with to come to with a concern one day (trust me, you'll have one at some point!) and who seems open to new thoughts and new ideas.

Make sure she has a solid contract and an open-door policy. Stand firm on things you are not comfortable with, whether it's no television or no transportation. Do you want your daughter safe and happy? Or do you want her safe, happy, and learning? She is getting to an age where a good curriculum will really benefit her.

You have time to find a good provider. If you are going with in-home care, it's good to have questions to ask. But be sure to make small talk, too. Get to know her. She has a LOT OF FREEDOM with your child during the day . :)

If you want something to compare it to, there are lots of us on here with home daycares. :) My website is http://www.littlelambshomedaycare.com

Good luck!!! :)



answers from Dallas on

Get references and call them!! Also, be sure that she does have paperwork that you both sign. And certainly everything else that was previously posted. The best judge is how you feel about her in person. Do your personalities match. Do you think you could see yourself being friends with her. You want to maintain a business relationship, but if you could be friends with her, then it means that you feel similarly about certain issues. Does her home look clean. Now, as a childcare provider myself, the house is not always picked up, but it is clean if that makes sense. And, how does she treat your daughter when you first go? And a good judge is what kind of questions does she ask you. If she knows what she is doing, than she will have just as many questions for you to make sure it is a good fit for both of you! Good luck, I am sure this is a very difficult decision, but in my opinion you are doing the best thing by going with a good in home provider! Take care ~A.~

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