Knowing the right questions to ask on a daycare tour can help you find the center that’s right for your family. Here’s a list of the top questions you should be asking!

What is the Daily Schedule Like?

Every daycare center is different, and that includes how they schedule their days. Some may offer highly structured schedules while others will operate on an all-day free play model with meal breaks. No matter what your personal preference is, you’re going to want to get a sense of exactly what your child’s day is going to look like. Be sure to ask this question during your daycare tour, and if the answer is a structured day, ask them how they structure it.

What’s the Caretaker-to-Child Ratio?

A truly crucial question to ask is the caretaker-to-child ratio each classroom has. If they have defined and low ratios, you know you’re in the right place. Low caretaker-to-child ratios have a proven impact on outcomes and help ensure safety, individualized attention to each child, and quality care. If the daycare has a higher ratio, the caretaker may be overwhelmed and not able to give each child the attention and care they deserve.

How Have You Vetted Staff?

The staff will be with your child all day, multiple days a week, so it’s a good idea to ask how the center has vetted its staff. You also want experienced individuals when it comes to taking care of your child, so don’t be afraid to ask other questions about staff as well. How long have they been taking care of children? Do they have degrees in childcare? Are they certified and background-checked? These questions will help you feel assured knowing the staff can provide high-quality childcare services.

What is Your Approach to Discipline?

This is another crucial question to ask, as this can tell a lot about a provider’s general philosophy by how they choose to discipline the kids in their care. You’ll want to know how the center handles consequences for your child’s age as well as other ages if you plan on keeping them in daycare as they grow.

To explore this subject further, don’t be afraid to ask more pointed questions. Do they sit down with the kids to help them identify and work through their feelings? Are time-outs used, and if so, what does that look like? Are there other consequences for bad behavior? Every parent handles discipline differently, but it’s important to know the general attitude of the daycare and if their discipline techniques align with your own.

What Do You Do if a Child is Sick or Injured?

Major injuries should always be called about, but what about if they scrape their knee? Does the daycare center call about that when it happens?

To know what you want the answer to be to this question, you’ll need to reflect on your own comfort zone. Do you want to be notified of every boo-boo, or will that cause you needless stress? Communication about minor injuries can and should be discussed between parents and provider. And don’t forget to ask about their sick policy. Knowing the details in advance can help you prepare for a situation that requires early pick-up or a missed day.

Do Children Get Outside Playtime?

There has been plenty of research proving that children greatly benefit from outdoor play. So, on your daycare tour, ask the center how much time your kids will get to explore and play. Also, ask what the plan is when it’s very hot outside and how they will get outside time then.

On your daycare tour, you may notice the center doesn’t have outdoor play space or a playground. Ask this question anyway and find out whether or not the kids have opportunities to visit local parks and playgrounds on a regular basis.

Are Meals and Snacks Provided?

This can be an important question for many parents to know the answer to. Do you have to pack a lunch for your kid? If not, that’s a little extra time added to your schedule in the morning! However, if food is offered by the daycare, you still will want to ask questions and get the lowdown on what they’re serving.

If they don’t provide meals and snacks, you’ll want to ask if there are any guidelines on the types of food you can provide your child. For example, can you pack a peanut butter sandwich if there are no kids with allergies in the class, or is the whole center peanut-free? You’ll also want to ask if there are any guidelines on what types of containers you can send in (such as glass).

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These are just a few questions to help you narrow down your search for the perfect daycare. As you think of more questions, don’t ever be afraid to ask them! After all, you’re going to be trusting a center to take care of your child on a daily basis, so ask as many questions as you need to in order to feel comfortable.

On the hunt for a quality daycare for your child? We’d love to be considered for you and your child. At our daycare and preschool, we focus on the needs of very young children and will help your child grow with guidance and encouragement from our teachers. We strive to make a positive difference in the life of every child by partnering with parents to provide an environment that is safe, nurturing, educational, and individualized. Let us help your child learn, play, and grow.