Tips for Picking a Home Daycare - Questions to Ask at a Home Daycare Visit
When debating childcare, one option you may consider is home daycare. Home daycare is the third most popular childcare option, after center care and relative care. Home daycare has many advantages, including more flexibility for your child’s schedule; a warm, friendly environment; one consistent care provider; and often lower cost. However, the quality of home daycare can vary widely, and home daycare regulations differ among states. There are many factors to consider when choosing home daycare, and you'll need to decide if you want one that has a home daycare license. You should always interview the provider and tour their home before making any decisions.
Questions you should ask a potential home daycare provider include:
- How long have you been in business?
- Do you have a state license?
- How many children do you have at once?
- Do you have any assistants?
- What is your sick child policy?
- What are your hours? Do you charge a late pick-up fee?
- What is your holiday schedule?
- Do you charge for days the child does not attend?
- Do you offer any sick or vacation days?
- Do you provide lunches or snacks? What is a typical lunch (and/or snack)?
- Do you provide a daily report or another method for communicating with parents?
- How do you discipline children?
- Do you have emergency training?
- Is your house child-proofed?
- Do you have a safe outdoor area to play?
- What is a sample schedule for a day?
- Do you let children watch television?
- Where do children sleep? Do you have a nap schedule?
- Do you have references I can call?
- Will anyone else be in contact with my child(ren)?
Aside from asking the home care provider questions, be sure to clearly observe the environment. Is it safe? Childproofed? Are there any obvious hazards? Is it clean and pleasant looking? If there are animals, do they seem friendly? How does the provider interact with children? Are there age-appropriate toys?
Many people recommend only choosing one that is regulated by the state, but I don’t always think that a license always determines quality. I’ve found a fabulous home daycare for my daughter, but I had to do plenty of searching. The first home I went into had about two dozen liquor bottles in the kitchen in reach of older children. I found that fairly alarming and inappropriate and kept up my search. You’ll know when you find a place you feel comfortable leaving your child.