I flew solo for my first daycare tour. My husband couldn’t get away from work and I figured I could get a grasp of whether or not the place looked like Mrs. Hannigan’s house from Annie without his input.
I met the director and she gave me the tour. It was a small facility so said tour took about 5 minutes. I smiled as I peered in classrooms and my eyes scanned the pamphlet she handed me as I walked in the door.
“So, do you have any questions?” She asked as I sat down to write a deposit check to
buy reserve a spot on their waiting list.
Um. Um. Questions? Was I supposed to have those?
It’s hard enough navigating pregnancy at work when you’re a first time mom. Add in the daunting task of finding the right child care and you can easily drive yourself crazy. You simply don’t know what you don’t know.
In my frazzled state I just asked something about breast milk and she said “yes” to whatever my question was and I called that good and handed over the
donation deposit check.
I’m nothing if not thorough. Or not.
Here’s what I should have asked:
1. Baby Food – One day, your baby will need to start gumming some pea puree as a side item to that breast milk or formula. Does the school provide this? Will you bring your own? Do they thicken it with rice cereal? Are you allowed to bring in homemade food? What kind of containers can they store food in? (I liked these containers and using washi tape as labels for taking homemade baby food to daycare).
2. Tornado Safety Plan – Do they do regular tornado drills? Where do they go in the event of severe weather? What is protocol for picking up children if they are seeking shelter from a storm?
3. Winter Weather Closings – Does the daycare follow a certain public schools system closure schedule or do they make the call on their own for closings? If they do follow the schools, do they close for just the first day and then make a judgment call from there? What about if school is on break – how do they make the decision & how is this information relayed to parents?
4. Teacher Turnover – I never asked about this but we have been SO fortunate in this area. My daughter adores her teachers and they in turn adore her. And, for the most part, there has been VERY little turnover in her classroom. I underestimated how important this would be. Ask what the teacher turnover rates are.
5. Extras – I know there are several Metro daycares that offer great “perks” to parents and students, such as:
- Parents Group (Like daycare PTA – aka a great way to find your Village and get to know the parents of the kids your kid is around all day)
- Optional Dance Classes
- Optional Music Classes
- Baby Sign Language
- District-certified Pre-K on site
- Busing to/from area schools
- Photos/Video/Live Streaming for parents to check in throughout the day
I know this is just the tip of the iceburg, but these are things that I wish I had thought to ask about in advance or have found myself asking over our first year of daycare life.
What do you wish you had known about your childcare provider? What were some of your ‘must ask’ items when looking for childcare?