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Top 20 Questions to Ask at Your Daycare Tour
March 3, 2023

Top 20 Questions to Ask at Your Daycare Tour

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Top 20 Questions to Ask at Your Daycare Tour.
Top 20 Questions to Ask at Your Daycare Tour

As you prepare to start your little one in daycare, one of the most important parts of the process is touring daycare centers in person. You may have done a ton of research online already, or maybe you’ve heard a lot from other parents about their daycare recommendations, but no matter how you’ve approached the daycare search up to this point, getting an in-person tour is the only way to get a true sense of a daycare center’s vibe.

To make sure you get the most out of your visit, bring this list of 20 questions to each of your daycare tours. And consider your ideal answers to these questions ahead of time to ensure you’re as prepared as possible. It’s a great sign when a daycare gives you a formal policy that already answers most of these questions!

Every family has different needs, so what’s most important to you will vary depending on you and your child. If a daycare fails to line up with your expectations for your most important questions, it probably isn’t the right place for you.

The Daily Routine

  • What’s your general philosophy on childcare?
  • How many children currently attend the daycare, and how many children are you licensed for? What is your child-to-caregiver ratio? (Note: an ideal ratio for infant daycare is two to three children for every one adult; for toddlers, it shouldn’t be more than six children for every one adult)
  • Do you provide meals and snacks? If so, what do you serve, and can you provide a printed menu? How do you accommodate food allergies? If food must be provided by parents, do you have nutritional guidelines or foods that aren’t allowed? If babies are taking bottles, how do you handle frozen or pumped breast milk or formula preparation?
  • What is the daily schedule or routine, and is it flexible to accommodate the specific needs of the children? What kinds of activities do you provide? How often do the children play outside?
  • How do you handle discipline or behavioral problems? For instance, how do you handle biting, hitting or bullying situations?
  • Do you require families to provide diapers? (If your family uses cloth diapers: Are you comfortable changing cloth diapers?)
  • What is your potty training procedure?

Policies

  • Can parents drop by whenever they’d like or swing by to breastfeed? What are your visitation policies in general? Who else is allowed to visit during care?
  • What is your policy on late pick-up and absences?
  • What’s your sick-child policy? What are your policies regarding immunizations?
  • Do you transport children in a vehicle? Where would you go? (Ask to see the vehicle or bus, verify auto insurance and inspect the seating arrangements.)
  • What are the tuition and fees, and what is the payment schedule? Is there a waitlist? Are there any types of discounts available (paying in advance, second sibling discount, etc.)?

Safety and Communication

  • How do you keep parents up to date on their kid’s daily activities or behavior? Do you offer a daily report? Do you send photos and videos througout the day? Do you offer periodic check-ins regarding a child’s development or progress?
  • What security measures do you take for your facility?
  • How, and how often, do you sanitize the toys and materials used by the children?
  • Are you licensed? Are you accredited? By whom? (Be sure to get a copy of the license number for future reference.)
  • Do you have references I can contact?

Daycare Staff

  • What degrees, certifications or training does your staff have? Do you conduct background checks on all your employees?
  • How long has the current staff been here? Do you experience high employee turnover?
  • Do you have a nurse on staff for medical care? Is your facility licensed to administer medicine and/or emergency allergy treatments?

Once you’ve seen a daycare center for yourself and gotten all your questions answered (or at least as many as possible), it’s a good idea to conduct a little further research on the daycare’s license and inspections. The daycare director should have given you their license number, which you can look up using your state’s database to view all inspections and any violations for free. You can also search the National Database of Child Care Licensing Regulations to find your state’s specific requirements for daycare centers.

As you visit each daycare, don’t feel discouraged if you don’t find the perfect one right away. And if you do find the perfect daycare right at the beginning, it may not hurt to keep visiting a few more just to do a quick comparison before making your final choice. And, as always, trust yourself. “While not terribly scientific, I think there’s something to be said for following your gut,” says Jeffrey Thomas, President of EZChildtrak, a cloud-based software for daycare management. “If you get an especially positive vibe from a daycare when visiting, move that facility to your short list! And vice versa. Even if a daycare seems fine, if you get a weird feeling about it, don’t feel bad about crossing it off the list.”

And don’t feel bad about asking any follow up questions as they come up. Open, honest and reliable communication is another sign of a great daycare, so it doesn’t hurt to ask a lot of questions.


Amylia Ryan

Associate Editor

Amylia Ryan is the Associate Editor at Babylist, specializing on the topics of health, wellness, lifestyle products and more. Combining nearly a decade of experience in writing and editing with a deep passion for helping people, her number one goal in her work is to ensure new parents feel supported and understood. She herself is a parent to two young children, who are more than willing to help product test endless toys, books, clothes, toiletries and more.

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