Tag Archives: home daycare

13 important questions to ask a potential home childcare provider

My kids at the zoo with my home daycare

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?

My son at our home childcare field trip to the pumpkin patch

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?

My son checking out the tadpoles at a local park with my daycare kids.

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.

A fun childcare trip to a local farm.
A fun childcare trip to a local farm.

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.


This single mom’s crappy yet funny situation

In the spring of 2013 I was a single parent of 2 special needs children. I ran a home day-care and home schooled my 7 year old autistic son. I was also desperately trying to train an neurotic, hyper, anxious 7 month old collie/lab puppy. This dog makes Marley (from the movie Marley and me) look like an angel.

He looks so innocent, doesn’t he?

By 7 months old he knew how to open doors and cupboards. Being a lab he was a compulsive eater and ate everything, non food items included. It was so bad I had installed french doors with a pad lock on my kitchen to keep him out of there.

One Wednesday morning the children (5 day-care and my 2) and myself left to do the school run. One of my kids left the kitchen door open and the puppy broke into the kitchen, into the cupboard and pulled out a brand new organic (couldn’t have been the cheap stuff) big container of powdered infant formula for one of the day-care kids. He pulled the plastic lid off, chewed his way through the metal seal, dove in and started eating.

When I came home I found him on the couch with his puppy head buried into the can of powered formula and powder all over the couch. Since he was drooling so much (must be good stuff) it looked like he was foaming at the mouth! I was so mad I pried the can out of his grasp and put him in the back yard so I could clean up the powered formula and dog slobbered mess on the couch and floor.

The day continued as usual, the puppy ran around, played with the kids, tried to eat shoes, chewed on the wall, chased the cat and barked at his own shadow.

After work, my kids and I went to swimming lessons then off to the grocery store. We returned home at about 8 o clock to a puppy who was convinced we were never coming back and destruction every where. Why was this dog not in a cage? That’s a whole other blog.

I put the puppy outside and we brought the groceries in the house. Being a single working parent I am always running so I went running down the 2 stairs to my sunk-in living room, slipped and fell very hard on my arm. I heard a horrible snapping/popping sound when I hit the floor and immediately felt nauseous.

My kids heard the commotion and came running in to find me calmly lying on the floor, on my back holding my wrist. They both started to cry, me on the other hand from having a life that was always full of excitement was cool as a cucumber. I looked at my daughter and said “please put the groceries away so the puppy doesn’t eat them” and looked at my son and said “please bring me my cell phone so I can call your grandparents to come get you both, I have broken my arm”

While lying on the floor and waiting for my parents to arrive the shock from the fall  started to wear off. That’s when I realized that I was wet. Oh no, did I pee my pants? I had heard of people going into shock and peeing their pants, I’m going to just die if that’s why I am wet. Then I realize no, I’m cold wet I must have slipped on something on the floor. Gross, its probably puppy pee, that dog was impossible to house train. I lifted my head and looked at my white socks that were now brown. Then I realized what happened. Puppy diarrhea, I slipped on puppy diarrhea and broke my arm?!?!? Ignoring the pain of my arm I jumped up and screamed “Get these clothes off of me!” This was a neat freak, germ-a-phob’s worst nightmare! I marched up stairs to get changed and that’s when I saw the real mess I’ll spare the details but it was me, a broken arm, and lots of cleaning.

By the time the grandparents arrived I had gotten most of the mess cleaned up and changed my clothes. I left the puppy and my 11 year old dog who was giving me a look that said “I never liked that puppy anyways” at my house. The grandparents took my 2 very upset kids to their place for the night, while I got dropped off at emergency.

The 5 hours I waited to see the doctor I kept patients and staff entertained with funny stories.  I have always been able to take the worst situation and turn it funny. However when you slip on puppy diarrhea and break your arm it requires zero effort to make people laugh with that.

The doctor finally looked at my x-rays and told me I did a good number on my arm. I broke my wrist in 2 places (the joint and the other bone), so badly the bones were twisted and over lapped. I needed a “reduction” which is a fancy way of saying the doctor is going to pull, twist and pop your bones back together. In the emergency room this requires the patient being put under because it is very painful and  gross.

The nurse arrived to put my IV in and as always they could not find a good vein. She tried for about an hour poking me over and over. I have had many operations in my life but IV is the one thing that I cannot stand. After about 10 minutes of being a pin cushion my patience and sense of humor was gone. She gave up after an hour and said she needed to find someone else to put the IV in. Is that even allowed? Are medical professionals allowed to throw their hands up and say I give up while a patient is waiting patiently to have their wrist snapped back together?

A few hours later 2 more nurses arrived and took me to the operating room where they both tried to get the IV in for over an hour! They still hadn’t given me any pain medication at this time. What is NOT helpful to someone who is in pain, tired and gets totally grossed out with IV’s is attacking them over and over with the needle saying “see I can get it in and feel the vein wall but nothing!”

After a very long time of being poked they got the IV in and put me out. Here’s a news flash, when a doctor has to use all his strength to yank, pop, pull and twist a wrist that has been broken in 2 places back together it hurts. I woke up in an arm cast in a lot of pain and very angry. They gave me straight morphine and it didn’t even touch the pain, and I’m a person who doesn’t even take an advil unless absolutely necessary.

The reason for my broken wrist. 6am, 2 hours till work

I got out of the hospital at 5am in pain, in a cast and had 7 kids (my 2 and 5 day-care kids) to care for, cook for and clean up after starting at 8am. The joys of being self employed. Obviously taking pain medication while caring for 7 kids is a no no so I put my head down and went to work.

What happened to the puppy? I still have him. He has eaten much worse since then and had a  few near death experiences because of it. This gives me more to write about. My wrist has never healed properly, I did find some natural medication that helped speed healing  and reduce the pain but those are story’s for another time.