Let’s face it—as a parent who works, you have a lot on your hands. Not everybody has the ability to stay home all of the time to watch the little ones, and in this day and age it can be unpractical. This is where daycares come in; to help both couples and single parents who must find someone reliable and trustworthy to watch their child during the work day. This is a huge decision to make, especially with so many different daycares around to choose from, and the choices can become overwhelming.

Many parents struggle with leaving their children with others whom they may not be familiar with, and it is understandable. After all, every family has different needs, concerns and thoughts about what is most important for their daycare of choice. Maybe your child has allergies or special dietary needs, or perhaps even certain behaviors around other children that you are a bit worried about. To make the jb easier, we have compiled a list of some important questions to ask your daycare before enrolling your infant, toddler or young child.

It is important that the daycare you choose answers these questions in the way that makes you feel most secure. Do keep in mind that many daycare centers also have a policy written out that can be given to you. These should answer most of these questions already, without having to put more stress on an already daunting task.

What Activities do you do with the Children here?

One of the most obvious questions to ask a daycare where your child will be spending a lot of their time is what they will be doing during their day there. Is there a designated play time, or a time spent outside? What is the daily schedule, or are things more relaxed? Is there a focus on arts and crafts, and are the children encouraged to interact with each other through group activities such as sports? There are many daycares with different and innovative approaches these days, and it is vital to make sure that they match up with your expectations and values. You may also want to inquire about the play area and cleanliness, such as if daily sanitization occurs of toys and playground equipment.

How does your Facility Deal with Children who Misbehave?

It is bound to happen- whether it be your own child or another. This is a huge concern for parents looking for a daycare as we sometimes hear stories of these types of situations not being handled appropriately. Be sure to ask all the important questions; what happens if children get physical with each other, throw tantrums, or participate in bullying? It is also very important to get to know the staff on site to see how comfortable you are with them watching your child daily. Their overall demeanor and willingness to help will be a great indication of how they handle these types of difficult situations.

What Food and Snacks are Commonly Served?

This is especially important for children who may have allergies, dietary restrictions, or are limited in their intake of sugary snacks. Sometimes, the parents are required to provide the food, and these will not be provided by the daycare at all. You may also have the option of providing your own despite what the daycare normally provides. If it is an infant that the facility will be watching after, you will also want to inquire about their storage procedures for your formula or breast milk. One of the worst things that can happen is an allergic reaction, so do also ask how the staff is equipped to handle emergencies should they arise, and should accidents happen. Children can be unpredictable and put things in their mouths!

What are the Fees Associated with your Daycare?

This may seem like an obvious one, but you do not want to get duped with hidden fees! Be sure to bring up any additional charges beyond tuition and get these in writing as well so that there are no crazy surprises. Cost is, of course, going to play a role in the daycare that you choose and is a very important point to bring up! You will also want to weigh out the pros and cons of the daycare to determine if the facilities and services provided are worth the cost, especially compared to other daycares that you visit.

What is the Policy for Sick Children?

This is a very vital question to ask your daycare when it comes to the safety of your child. Are sick children still permitted to attend? This can pose a huge risk to other children who are at there, especially in a confined area such as a daycare. Be sure to ask about the policy for immunizations for the children as well. Some daycares have a nurse on site, which will be a huge selling point for the concerned parent or family.

Are Children Transported, and Where do you go?

Parents will certainly want to ask this one. It is important to know if the facility brings children anywhere for facilitated field trips, and where those trips will potentially be to. It is also a good idea to know if shuttle service is provided, and to take a look at the vehicles for yourself if your child will be utilizing them. Do not be afraid to ask for inspection papers as it is better to be overly cautious than to not do enough to protect your child. The daycare should have these on file, and if they do not it is a definite red flag.

What Kind of Certifications do your Staff Members have?

This is likely one of the most important questions to ask a daycare. Degrees, and at the very least certifications, will make parents feel that their child is being taken care of by the utmost of professional staff. There is definitely no shame in asking what the qualifications are. Ask questions about their training, how long the average staff member has been employed, and whether or not background checks are run. Turnover is a point that can be brought up as well as this speaks volumes about the environment.

Of course, the list we have provided is only scratching the surface—there are many questions to be asked that will be specific to each parent or family. It is a great idea to sit down and write out what your most important qualities in a daycare are before you begin your search to avoid forgetting any points that you would like to bring up. Your child is special, and the daycare where they stay should be too! When coming up with questions to ask a daycare, no question is too big or too small.