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How do parents interview for daycare?

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      Give the parents a tour of all areas of the house used for day care, including outside playground, sleeping, eating and play areas. Tell them about the services you provide and all day care policies. Invite them to look around all day care areas and to ask any questions. all of your attention to the conversation.

      What was the individual like who previously held this position? Are you looking to hire someone with the skills and experience to do the job out of the gate, or are you open to hiring and training the right candidate for this position? What is the work schedule like? Is it flexible, set-in-stone, or are there options?

      One of the most common reasons people give for why they want to become an early childcare assistant is that they want to make a positive and lasting impact through their work. Early childcare assistants get to play a pivotal role during some of children's most impressionable years.

      When selecting a daycare, it is imperative to tour any on your list of potentials – both in-home daycares and group facilities. You may choose to call around first and schedule your tours ahead of time or, if you have a group daycare facility on your list, stop by one morning or afternoon if you're in the neighbourhood – this can allow you to observe the environment in a more organic setting while getting your questions answered. 

      As you begin your daycare tours, keep in mind the distance of each from your home and workplace. Is it conveniently on your route from one to the other, or do you have to go a little out of your way? While logistics can certainly be an important factor in deciding on your newborn's care, we've included a sample list of daycare interview questions for parents just like you – which may help you prioritize what are or aren't deal-breakers so that you can find the perfect situation for your little one!

      When it comes to selecting a home daycare provider for their children, parents generally interview potential providers to ensure mutual compatibility between their child care needs and the resources provided by the daycare. Similarly, daycare providers often conduct parent interviews with prospective families to better understand their background and needs, ensure the family understands all policies, procedures and fees and get a feel for their reliability. After all, home daycare is a business operation. As the owner/operator, it is your responsibility to make sure measures are in place to enforce attendance and to ensure you are fairly compensated for the services you provide.

      Safety is, of course, the main concern of every parent, so start with those ultra-important questions first and then continue the conversation from there:

      • Has each teacher or caretaker been given a comprehensive background check? (tip: be sure to brush up on federal, state, and local laws when it comes to criminal background checks for childcare providers)
      • What certifications, credentials, and education (if any) do your teachers and caretakers have?
      • How many kids are enrolled in this daycare, and how many children are assigned per teacher or caretaker?
      • How many infants are enrolled in this daycare, and how many are assigned per teacher or caretaker?
      • Does the infant program follow any particular curriculum or educational standards?
      • Does the state license your daycare? 
      • Have your employees been trained and certified in newborn and infant care, such as pediatric first aid and CPR, safe sleep practices and prevention of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), use of medication, and prevention of shaken baby syndrome, abusive head trauma, and child maltreatment?
      • Are infants supervised at all times, including when napping? Does your daycare follow safe sleep guidelines?
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      Once all safety-related questions have been discussed, have a list ready of other important considerations that you may wish to ask about. Remember that breast milk feeding routine that you've officially perfected? There's no need to stop now – and certainly not because you'll be returning to work! Be sure to ask nutritional and logistical questions like:

      • I am still feeding my baby with breast milk. If I provide pumped milk each day, can my baby's caretaker feed it to them?
      • How will my pumped breast milk be stored before, between, and after feedings? Does your daycare follow the CDC's guidelines for storing and serving breast milk?
      • Should I provide a copy of current breast milk storage guidelines (you can also download a Spanish version here!) to ensure proper storage and feeding of my pumped milk?
      • How often will my baby be fed and offered my pumped milk?
      • What supplies will I need to provide each day for my baby? What supplies are included at your daycare? (tip: let your daycare take as much of the weight off your shoulders – literally – as possible by providing some essentials like diapers, wipes, and toys!)
      • What days and hours is your daycare open? Are those hours at all flexible?
      • Which days and hours will your child need care? You wouldn't want to enrol a child that needs care outside your hours of operation!
      • Will your child be enrolled at our centre during the entire year? Many families use alternative forms of child care or take their children on vacation during some parts of the year. Knowing all this in advance will help you plan activities at your centre.
      • What are your expectations from our child care centre? This answer will give you a good sense of parents' values and priorities. Are they focused on safety, education, discipline, fun or social experiences? You can use this to highlight the aspects of your centre that matter the most to them.
      • How long will you need child care for? Care needs vary between families, so don't be surprised if parents are looking for care for anywhere from a few weeks up to several years. 
      • Has your child attended a child care centre in the past? How well a child adjusts to daycare can depend on whether they've had social experiences before. Plus, this will give you an idea of the parents' history with other centres and if they generally have good relationships with their child care providers.
      • What did you like or dislike about a previous child care experience? Parents' expectations may be formed by their — or their child's — experiences with daycare. Understanding where they're coming from will help you prepare to meet those expectations and stay on the same page. 
      • How would you describe your parenting style? Every parent approaches things a little differently. Some are more permissive, others more structured. This will give you a good sense of what to expect when you send home communications. 
      • Do you have any concerns or questions for me? Parents usually won't hesitate to ask, but actively opening the floor to the discussion is an important sign that you welcome feedback and are confident you'll live up to their standards.

      Financial-Related Interview Questions

      • What is your daily and weekly rate? 
        • Are there any additional one-time or annual fees to consider?
      • Does your daycare accept vouchers, participate in child care assistance programs, or offer discounted options? 
        • (tip: you may wish to explore childcare.gov to see if your family is eligible for financial assistance programs that may help you obtain quality daycare for your baby)
      • What payment methods does your daycare accept?

      Questions about the Needs of the Child

      • Tell me about your child's personality. 
        • What are they like? When kids are young, parents are the ones who know them best. Asking for the parents' perspective on their personality is an important first step in getting to know the kids in your care and will help you prepare for their joining your centre. Showing interest in the child as a person will also reassure parents that their child will be treated as an individual.
      • Tell me about your child's interests. 
        • What gets them excited? Introducing a child to a new environment can sometimes be tough, so you can make it easier on yourself by knowing the child's likes and dislikes. Letting the child talk to the class about a favourite subject, play a favourite game, or connect with another child who likes the same things will help with a smooth transition. Plus, targeting your learning to kids' interests will help ensure each child gets the most out of their education.
      • Tell me about your child's dietary preferences. 
        • What is their favourite food? Kids can be picky eaters, so be prepared for each child's preferences will avoid headaches and reduce stress at mealtimes.
      • Does your child have any allergies? 
        • Allergen-proofing your centre can be challenging, so make sure you understand what types of exposure can cause a reaction and what precautions you'll need to take to prevent one — as well as what steps you should take if a reaction does occur.
      • Tell me about your child's learning needs. 
        • What areas can we help with? The ability to tailor your child care curriculum to different learning styles is a definite selling point for your centre. Knowing a child's strengths and weaknesses is the beginning of an education plan that helps them reach their full potential. 
      • Tell me about your child's medical needs. 
        • Are there any health issues we should know about? Most young kids won't have any medical needs, but you'll need to be prepared just in case. Hearing all the details will help you make a careful decision about whether your centre can effectively serve the child's medical needs, and if so, what you'll need to do to keep them safe and provide equal opportunities.
      • Tell me about your child's immunization history. 
        • Have they had their vaccines? For everyone's safety, this is an important subject to clarify well ahead of time. Plus, many states require kids in child care to have up-to-date vaccinations.
      • Tell me about your child's sleep patterns. 
        • Do they have a regular nap time? If so, it'll be easier to help them adjust to your centre's nap schedule.
      • Does your child normally sleep through the night? 
        • Kids who have sleep issues often have behavioural problems, so understanding the child's sleep habits will help you be prepared to deal with the crankiness that may result from an under-rested child.
      • Tell me about your child's behaviour. 
        • Are there any issues we should be aware of? It's a delicate subject, but you don't want to be blindsided by problems later down the line. Most parents are honest about their child's behaviour because they want the best for their child. Having a frank, non-judgmental discussion with parents about behaviour sets you up to maintain a harmonious environment where every child can grow.
      • How do you like to handle discipline at home? 

      Knowing how parents treat discipline can hint at how the child will react to rules and discipline while in daycare. A child who knows that behaviour has consequences may have an easier time getting used to socializing in child care.

      Understanding Family Schedules & Child Care Logistics

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      • Are the child's parents together? 
        • If not, how does the custody agreement work? Although it may seem sensitive, this question is crucial for arranging seamless, secure pickups and dropoffs. It can also help determine account set-up (many separated/divorced parents prefer their account for tuition payments – more on that here). 
      • What do you do for a living? 
        • This gives you an important look into parents' context and schedule.
      • What are your work schedules like? 
        • Are they stable and predictable or variable? A regular schedule may be easier to accommodate, but work schedules are increasingly complex and irregular in today's world. Be prepared for parents who can't be available at the same time every day.
      • Who else should be allowed to pick up your child from our centre? 
        • To ensure the child's safety, you must always know in advance if someone else is expected to pick up the child, especially if they may do so regularly. You'll avoid hassle and extra phone calls by asking ahead of time.
      • What communication channels do you prefer? 
        • Some parents are difficult to reach by phone but answer emails instantly. Others hate the waiting game of sending emails back and forth. A parent engagement app is a great way to send parents updates in real-time.
      • What is the best way to reach you in an emergency? 
        • An emergency contact channel where the parent can always be reached immediately — and a backup contact in case they can't — is important to keep on file for every child. 

      How to Conduct a Parent Interview for Your Home Day Care

      Schedule the interview

      Schedule the interview outside of your regular operating hours to ensure you are free of potential distractions and focus on your discussion with the potential clients. Also, many home daycares are operated by one individual, and it can be quite difficult to interview while caring for a group of young children single-handedly.

      Prepare an information 

      Prepare an information packet for the parents to review during your interview. This typically includes a parent handbook, a parent and child information sheet, contract agreement and a business card. In addition, manuals usually have information such as rates, hours of operation and policies. You may also consider creating a short biography of yourself, specifically highlighting relevant education, training and work experience.

      Write down the questions.

      Write down the questions you plan to ask during the parent interview to avoid leaving any important information. For example, you may ask them what has prompted them to look for child care for their daughter, if their son has ever attended daycare before, or if their child has special needs. This background information can help you assess how quickly and easily the child may adjust to a new daycare. In addition, in cases of learning or physical disabilities, you can determine whether or not you are equipped to make any necessary accommodations.

      Review the information 

      Review the information packet with parents in detail, making sure they fully understand all of the information it contains. For example, you may want to clarify when and how payments should be made, the range of hours you are available, what happens if a child is sick or any pre-planned holidays or vacations that would prevent you from being able to provide daycare services.

      Ask the parents 

      Ask the parents if they have any questions for you, and if so, proceed to answer them to the best of your knowledge. Then, conclude your interview by confirming whether or not the parents are interested in hiring you as their home daycare provider and explain to them the steps that are needed to initiate the process, such as completing your forms, signing your contract and how much notice is required before the start date.

      Thank the parents

      For their time and invite them to visit during regular business hours. Finding the right sitter can be nerve-racking, and many parents are eager to see how well the potential daycare provider interacts with their child and the other kids under her care.

      We know, mama – choosing the perfect childcare provider can be almost as difficult as entrusting your baby to someone else's care! Carefully considering the pros and cons of each daycare that you speak with and asking all the right questions can help you find not just the best childcare for your family – but also one of your biggest allies as a new parent. You've got this!

      Every child and every family is different, and each child deserves an individualized experience that accounts for their unique needs and personal background. Keeping track of a child's preferences, schedule, learning progress, immunizations, and family contacts shouldn't involve endless paperwork. 

      While centre-based care is typically provided only to children from a few weeks to five years old, family day care provides care for children up to 12 years old. Ultimately, deciding on the type of care you want for your child will depend on your needs and your preferences.

      Family day care is where a child is educated in a small group in a family style atmosphere at an educator's home, seeing the same educator or educators each day. ... The educator's children must be counted in those seven children if they are under 13 years and not being cared for by another adult at the premises.

      Overall, the average child care cost for one child in 2020 was $612/week for a nanny (up from $565/week in 2019), $340/week for a child care or day care center (up from $182/week) and $300/week for a family care center (up from $177/week).

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