Choosing a Child Care Provider
Questions to ask the provider
- How many children do you take care of?
- What are their ages?
- How many come full-time?
- How many come part-time?
- What would a typical day be like for my child?
Find out about naps, meals, activities, outside playtime, television, and field trips.
- Who else is in your home during the day?
Older children? Other relatives? Assistants or helpers?
- What can you tell me about your previous experience and educational background? Do you have experience or training...
- with children my child's age?
- in child safety?
- in first aid and rescue breathing?
- in child development?
- Why did you become a child care provider?
- How do you handle a child who is sad about being away from home?
- A child who breaks a rule?
- A child who is upset?
- How will we talk about my child?
- Daily conversations or notes at drop-off and pick-up times?
- What if we need a longer discussion?
- What are your fees and what do they include?
Find out whether there are extra charges for diapers, food, or field trips; whether parents pay for care when a child is sick or on vacation.
- What hours are you open?
- What if I am late because of traffic, or have to work overtime?
- Can parents drop in any time?
- What happens when my child is sick?
- Can children come if they have a cold?
- A fever?
- Will you let me know if other children are sick?
- What days to you plan to be closed?
- Do you have backup for those days, or for those times when you are sick?
- Can you give me the names of two or three parents to call for references?
Things to look for when you visit
- Does the provider pay individual attention to each child?
- Does she play and talk with the children?
- Does she let them sit in her lap, and give them hugs when they need comfort?
- Does the place seem safe?
- Look for:
- smoke alarms on every floor
- two exits in case of fire
- outlets and wires protected from toddlers
- secured cabinets
- fenced yard
- toys and play equipment appropriate for your child's age
- strict pratice of washing hands after diapering and before preparing food
- no weapons where children could get at them
- Is there enough room inside for the children to play comfortably?
- Does the outdoor space have enough room for the children to run and play?
- Is there a variety of toys and activities your child would enjoy?
- Are the toys right for your child's age?
- Will your child have a chance to make things, color, build with blocks, put on costumes, listen to stories, dig in sand, play with water or make music?
Questions to ask yourself
- Are you comfortable with the provider?
- Would you trust her to take care of your child?
- Do the rules seem reasonable and clear?
- Do you agree with how she disciplines the children?
- Are you happy with the types of activities she plans?
- Will she listen to and understand your concerns?
- Do her references check out?
- Are you comfortable with the other children?
- Will this be a good group for your child?
- Does the place seem right for your child?
- Will your child be comfortable and happy there?
Tulare County Office of Education
Early Childhood Education Program
7000 Doe Avenue, Suite C
Visalia, CA 93291
Connie Smith, Administrator
fax: (559) 651-3802