What to ask when interviewing daycare centers for infants?

posted 3 years ago in Babies
Post # 3
Member
416 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

commenting to follow – I’m curious about this too!

Post # 4
Member
373 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

Commenting to follow

Post # 5
Member
20 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: April 2012

You can find lists of these by googling, but here are some of the questions that were helpful for me.

Also, I know you may not have this option, but I toured my day care when I was pregnant, and again after I had my baby.  Before I had my baby I had no idea what to look for, and what to ask.  Once I got to know my baby and know his habits and preferences, I was able to ask more informed questions to make me feel comfortable with my choice.

Another note, in addition to asking the right questions, it’s really important to just feel comfortable with the center.  Let your gut help guide you, and you’ll definitely make the right decision for your family!

– The most obvious is class size, and the number of teachers.  Also, what age ranges would be in the class?

– If you’re planning on breastfeeding, ask what their procedures are for handling breastmilk.  Can they take frozen milk, etc.

– Ask what types of activities that they’ll do during the day.  It’s also important that your baby gets held at times other than when he/she’s eating or crying.

– Make sure their hours of operations works for you.  What are fees for late pick up (these can add up really fast!)

– Ask how long the infant teachers have been working at that center, or in child care in general.  I felt comfortable with teachers who have had at least a few years experience with infants.

good luck!

ETA:  Make sure you tour during hours of operations, and check out what the babies are during while you’re there.  Also, if you don’t know the exact questions to ask, then just try to make conversation with as many teachers there as you can.  This will help you with you “gut feeling” about the place.

 

Post # 6
Member
240 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

@johanna42:  +1  

 

I went when I was about 5 months pregnant and I made sure to ask the general questions but then I went again when my LO was 2 months and asked specific questions regarding my baby’s habits. I do feel like your instincts kick in a bit when you’re visiting. I got a really good feeling about the place we picked, but there were some that left a bad taste in my mouth. 

Post # 8
Member
4413 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

I would also make sure to look around at all the toys, and ask how often they are cleaned. Ask which toys are the children’s favorites, and what activities they usually do during the day. Since these are open-ended questions, you’ll invite them to talk openly and give you a better picture of how things tend to go during the day.

Ask how many of the children are full time and how many are part time — this will give you a better idea of how chaotic things are on a regular basis. 

Also, check the refrigerator where they keep the breast milk — there should be a log where they check the temperatures several times a day. Make sure that log is properly filled out. After all, if they aren’t taking proper precautions with the breast milk that’s brought in, then they’re probably cutting corners elsewhere as well!

But, as others have said, it’s mostly a matter of how you feel and what kind of vibe you get. When I first took DD in to practice at the daycare she now attends full time, the teacher was talking about how the kids love this cube thing that lights up and how the younger one loves the bouncy seat and the older ones like to bring the younger one toys to play with, etc etc and as she was talking, it was really obvious to me that she loves these kids. Like, she’s telling stories about their antics as if they were her own children! So I knew it was going to be a good place for DD, and she’s been very happy there.

Post # 9
Member
11772 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: May 2013

@hotpinkbride:  I used to work in an infant room! So I can help.

Ask about the room condition when you intend to pick up and drop off. A majority of infant rooms combine with older kids near the beginning and end of the day. This can mean the peaceful, 3-child classroom you tour at 12pm is a 13-child infested Hellscape at 8am and 5pm (the busiest drop-off times)

Ask about the teachers and their backgrounds. (How long, what did they do before childcare, if they have a degree or certification it it)

Show up for a surprise visit during the middle of the day when no one is expecting you. How chaotic is it? That’s how it usually looks!

Can they take frozen milk? Do they warm bottles in water or in bottle warmers? In Massachusetts, most centers do NOT have bottle warmers. Heads up!

What is the ratio? In MA it’s 3:1 for infants, 4:1 for a mixed group. Or 2:7. But let me tell you, 2:7 is pretty crazy.

ARE THERE BIG TOYS (swings, exersaucers, bouncy seats, etc.). I worked at a “least restrictive enviornment” center. No swings, no exersaucers, no nothing! So if your baby is non-mobile, they literally laid on a boppy or did tummy time all day. So if you can find a center with big toys, that is a HUGE plus!

Post # 11
Member
4296 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

Commenting to follow 🙂

Post # 12
Member
58 posts
Worker bee

ask what they do to help encourage with education.  I worked at a daycare for a little over a year, which to parents looked great, but working there, i know it was not.  

 

my daycare had a curriculum for all aged kids, infant to school aged; the curriculum was for physcal developments as well as education.

 

Make sure you get a good feel for the day care, ask for their policys.

Post # 13
Member
6048 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: March 2012

I would ask about overall security measures.  When I pick up my niece I have to have two codes, bring pic ID and my sil has to have called them to let them know I would be coming to take her, even tho I’m on the list for pic ups.  Then they had an administrator walk me directly to her room.  No stops, no going into other rooms and no lingering.  Overall the place looked great and the added security made ME feel better, it was tougher to get her from Daycare then it was from school (where I just had to sign a log, no id and as long as my niece ran to me I had no problems) 

 

Post # 15
Member
649 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

I just did my tour this week! I didn’t have a lot of questions (wish I saw this thread first!), but I did ask about cloth diapers and security cameras in the classroom, and about toys getting cleaned.

Some PPs suggested getting a feel for the vibe and using your gut feeling. I thought I’d be able to do this more, but when I did my tour, I was like, “Meh,” like I didn’t have a reaction one way or the other. Yeah, it was clean and safe and yay, they will cloth diaper, but I don’t know… I expected to FEEL something. Maybe I’d feel differently if my child was already here to interact with the staff and the environment or something.

Post # 16
Member
649 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

Also! I didn’t ask this, but they told me about their emergency protocols and how they practice fire/emergency drills. I hadn’t ever thought about that before (what would 3 staff do with 12 babies?! apparently, roll them out in 2 cribs with wheels) but it’s something I might ask if/when I tour other centers.

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