How to Choose a Daycare

One of the most frequently asked questions we get is about how to choose a daycare. Keep reading for the top 6 questions to ask when searching for the best daycare option for your family!

Leaving your little one for ANY amount of time with someone else can be difficult. One of the most frequently asked questions that Moms on Call receives is in regards to choosing a daycare, and what questions to ask. As moms and pediatric nurses, we have compiled our list of questions to make this BIG decision a little simpler!

The best way to narrow down your top daycare choices are with these top 6 questions!

  1. Are they state certified?
    • With this, they should meet all regulations. We also recommend asking some additional, more specific questions like the following.
    • Do they ensure that all employees are up to date on CPR and choking training?
    • What are the current policies and procedures for all emergencies?
      • Emergencies may include bad weather, something happening in the community, intruder, fire, etc.
    • What is the teacher to child ratio in your child’s classroom?
      • This is typically regulated by the state. More hands in the classroom is always a plus, especially at the younger age when they are getting into everything!
  2. What are their medical policies?
    • Do they require vaccination records?
    • What are their policies for sick kids?
      • You will want to know what the policy is to know what to expect if your child or others in the class have any symptoms of an illness. Typically they will require children to be symptom-free (vomiting, diarrhea, fever, cough, etc.) for 24-48 hours.
    • What is the school’s medication administration policy?
      • Will they give your child prescription medications upon request?
    • Will they apply sunscreen, bug spray, etc?
    • How does the school handle food allergies?
  3. What is their teacher turnover rate?
    • You want to be sure the adults caring for your child are happy in their work environment.
    • Knowing how long teachers stay can be a big indicator of this!
    • Getting a feel for how long currently enrolled families have been at the school is also a good indicator.
  4. What are the school and classroom schedules?
    • What are the school’s hours?
    • When will the school be closed for holidays, teacher workdays, etc?
    • What are the temperature policies for outside play (e.g. when is it too cold or too hot)?
    • Do children need to be there by a certain time for a key activity (breakfast, circle time, etc)?
    • When is lunchtime? When is naptime? These will be the times that your child becomes accustomed to doing things, so you may want to adjust your schedule at home on the weekends to coincide for consistency.
  5. What is the transportation policy?
    • How are drop-off and pick-up conducted?
      • Will daycare staff take your child from the car to the classroom and vice versa? Or will you park and bring your child into the school?
    • If the school will be transporting your child for field trips, after school care, etc., what does that look like?
    • If a family member or other caregiver will be picking your child up, what information do you need to provide to the school?
  6. How will you receive updates about your child?
    • Does the school use an app or other mechanism to provide you with updates throughout the day?
    • Will you receive a daily recap at the end of each day?
    • Does the school utilize cameras in the classroom and provide parents with access to view throughout the day?
      • Being able to view your child at any point during the day can definitely be an enticing option for parents to help ease any nervousness related to leaving their baby with another caregiver. If this is an option at your daycare, we recommend limiting your time spent watching the webcam, as we can easily find ourselves wanting to control the environment. (What is my child doing? Is my child sharing? How many bites of lunch did my child eat?) Here are some tips for how you can limit your time spent watching, but still feel assured that your child is being well taken care of and involved in their day!
        • Limit viewing to 30 seconds every hour.
        • Ask yourself:
          • Are they safe? YEP!
          • Are things going good?
        • Remind yourself that this is a great setting for my little one to learn and grow! This is the beginning of our children’s social development and it is so important.

Looking for more? Join us and listen to The Moms on Call Podcast! In Episode 12, Daycare Do’s, we talk all things daycare! Including simple steps to keeping the schedule (and your sanity) intact when starting!