Whether you are returning to work or going back to school choosing a qualified home childcare provider is one of the most difficult decisions you will make as a parent.
I have 20 years teaching experience in licensed childcare settings, a private school and in the home childcare community. Some of these questions I have been asked by parents and some are questions that I think every parent should be asking.
The suggestions below are good questions to ask in addition to the general questions (ie is the yard fenced, where do the children nap and play and so on) Some of the questions might seem a bit excessive but I have seen more than a few people who should have not been responsible for young children in one way or another.
1) How long have they been providing childcare?
2) What is their experience with young children? There CAN be a huge difference between someone who likes kids and someone who has gone to school for 2 years to study early childhood education.
3) Do they have any pets? If so how and when are the pets involved? Can they provide you with up to date rabies vaccination records?
4) Do they have home childcare insurance? God forbid if there is an accident, is your child covered? It can be very tricky to find home daycare insurance BUT it can be done. This insurance will usually follow the children at the caregivers home, personal vehicle, bus, walking trips and so on. My experience in Ontario is that if the home childcare has a pool large enough that it has a filter and doesn’t get dumped out every night they either do not have insurance or their insurance will be void if the insurance company finds out.
5) Do the children travel in the childcare providers vehicle? If so does he/she have a clean driving abstract? Does the childcare provider provide up to date car seats and knows how to use them correctly. 75% of car seats are installed incorrectly!
6) Can the childcare provider provide a clean up to date (within 6 months) criminal record check? Also who else lives in the home and is involved with the children?
7) Does the childcare provider have references you may contact of past and current clients
8) Does the childcare provider provide food or is the parent responsible for sending food? If so what kind of food is served? Can they cater to children with food allergies/sensitivities?
9) If the children are allowed to watch TV exactly what programs are they watching and how long each day?
10) Does the childcare provider give receipts for your income taxes?
11) How are the children disciplined? What is the home childcare’s policy on children who are aggressive?
12) How many children does the caregiver have each day? Check your area for the max number of children and their ages.
13) Does the childcare provider have any extra qualifications? Infant and child CPR, food handler safety course, workshops relating to children are all very useful in a home daycare environment and can help parents decided between one childcare provider or another.
Hope this helps parents find a safe environment for their child to learn and grow while away from home.