2nd Trimester
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Daycare Tour - What should I ask?

Today, I am touring a daycare this afternoon. I know of some questions I need to get answers for (like ratio of adults to babies, schedule, etc.). But I know I am missing a ton of questions. What would you/have you asked a daycare? At the latest, my LO will have to go to daycare at 3 or 4 months old.

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Re: Daycare Tour - What should I ask?

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    Ask them about their daily routine.  What time is lunch, nap, and other activities.  With my DD#1, it was important because I wanted to keep her on routine on the weekends, so I followed the schedule the day care would follow.

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    What's their policy for sick kids?
    Do you still get charged full price if you go on vacation for a week?
    Do they provide diapers/wipes/formula/food?

    If it's a smaller center or an in-home, ask what happens if the provider is sick or goes on vacation.

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    LCB34LCB34 member

    Vacation schedule
    Soothing techniques used for infants(CIO or comfort care)
    Are all teachers CPR trained
    Education of teachers
    Curriculum used for older children (2+)
    Typical schedule for babies (are they on their own schedule or do they try to get everyone to nap together, eat together, etc)
    Ratios
    How do they move up to different class (is it strictly age based or is development taken into consideration)
    If you go on vacay are you still required to pay for the days you are gone
    Do they track feedings and poops/pees for the little ones

    That's all I can think of right now.  I have done several tours and a lot of your questions will just pop into your head as you see their classrooms and such.

    ETA: One more - make sure you know their sick policy.  At what point fever wises does baby have to be picked up and how many days must they stay out or be fever free before returning to work.

     

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    What is their routine like for each room. Look beyond just the infant room as they will move up and grow up before you know it.

    What is their ratio and do the teachers stay in the same room or move around

    What is their staff turnover rate

    What was their last few inspection reports/violations (you can probably look this up online)

    What discipline strategies do they use

    What educational background do their staff have

    What do they provide vs what do you send in

    Fee structure: when are payments due, what if you pick kids up late (ie mine charges $1 per MINUTE), what if you are sick or on vacation, etc.

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    First, you didn't schedule this tour did you? My first rule is to never schedule a tour. If they want you to come at a specific time then it's a good sign they're hiding something. When I'm ready to tour daycares I will just walk in and ask to see the rooms. Because most daycares will try and schedule your tour during nap time when the kids are asleep so you can't see how they behave/interact and how the teachers are treating them. (I used to work at two different daycares) I would also ask to observe the classroom for an hour or so. Again, if they have nothing to hide this should not be a problem.

    Ask them about their curriculum and what all they do with infants throughout the day. Ask them how often they change diapers and about their procedure (their is a very strict procedure that they should follow to a T, you can probably find it online). There are a couple more things I can't think of right now, but I'll let you know when they come to mind.

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    LCB34LCB34 member
    imageCaymandreams:

    First, you didn't schedule this tour did you? My first rule is to never schedule a tour. If they want you to come at a specific time then it's a good sign they're hiding something. When I'm ready to tour daycares I will just walk in and ask to see the rooms. Because most daycares will try and schedule your tour during nap time when the kids are asleep so you can't see how they behave/interact and how the teachers are treating them. (I used to work at two different daycares) I would also ask to observe the classroom for an hour or so. Again, if they have nothing to hide this should not be a problem.

    I disagree.  Several daycares here require that your first tour be scheduled to make sure you have some on to sit down and conduct the interview.  However, after your interview and initial tour, you can pop in anytime for a surprise tour.

    I have done this with three centers and what I saw during the scheduled tour was exactly what I saw when I popped in.  So scheduled does NOT always equal hiding something.

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    imageLCB34:

    Vacation schedule
    Soothing techniques used for infants(CIO or comfort care)
    Are all teachers CPR trained
    Education of teachers
    Curriculum used for older children (2+)
    Typical schedule for babies (are they on their own schedule or do they try to get everyone to nap together, eat together, etc)
    Ratios
    How do they move up to different class (is it strictly age based or is development taken into consideration)
    If you go on vacay are you still required to pay for the days you are gone
    Do they track feedings and poops/pees for the little ones

    That's all I can think of right now.  I have done several tours and a lot of your questions will just pop into your head as you see their classrooms and such.

    ETA: One more - make sure you know their sick policy.  At what point fever wises does baby have to be picked up and how many days must they stay out or be fever free before returning to work.

     

    Great list LCB! I've never really thought of some of these because I've not been on the other side yet (like the vacation and sick time)

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    imageCaymandreams:

    First, you didn't schedule this tour did you? My first rule is to never schedule a tour. If they want you to come at a specific time then it's a good sign they're hiding something. When I'm ready to tour daycares I will just walk in and ask to see the rooms. Because most daycares will try and schedule your tour during nap time when the kids are asleep so you can't see how they behave/interact and how the teachers are treating them. (I used to work at two different daycares) I would also ask to observe the classroom for an hour or so. Again, if they have nothing to hide this should not be a problem.


     

    I disagree with this as a parent....I would be pissed if random people were showing up at my kid's daycare with no warning at all....what if they were tight on staff that day for example?  I agree that they should have nothing to hide, but making an appointment is a common courtesy IMO.

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    imagemadhatter2003:
    imageCaymandreams:

    First, you didn't schedule this tour did you? My first rule is to never schedule a tour. If they want you to come at a specific time then it's a good sign they're hiding something. When I'm ready to tour daycares I will just walk in and ask to see the rooms. Because most daycares will try and schedule your tour during nap time when the kids are asleep so you can't see how they behave/interact and how the teachers are treating them. (I used to work at two different daycares) I would also ask to observe the classroom for an hour or so. Again, if they have nothing to hide this should not be a problem.


     

    I disagree with this as a parent....I would be pissed if random people were showing up at my kid's daycare with no warning at all....what if they were tight on staff that day for example?  I agree that they should have nothing to hide, but making an appointment is a common courtesy IMO.

    This exactly. I would never just show up to a day care and expect that they have time and staff available to take a tour. And if my kid where at the day care I would be concerned about random people walking through as they please. That's not right.

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    Education/training of the instructors, what types of education your LO will be exposed to, such as practicing motor skills, sign language, etc.

    Also, it might be wise to ask if there are going to be any children with special health needs, these greatly reduce the amount of one on one action with the other children. We had a child missing most of their colon and needed changed every 15 minutes and it was a lengthy procedure with a few types of creams, special rinse and such, we had a 1-4 ratio (as allowed by MO law) and when that child was there one teacher spent most of the time changing them, and the other teacher wrangled the other 7 kids.  

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    imageLCB34:
    imageCaymandreams:

    First, you didn't schedule this tour did you? My first rule is to never schedule a tour. If they want you to come at a specific time then it's a good sign they're hiding something. When I'm ready to tour daycares I will just walk in and ask to see the rooms. Because most daycares will try and schedule your tour during nap time when the kids are asleep so you can't see how they behave/interact and how the teachers are treating them. (I used to work at two different daycares) I would also ask to observe the classroom for an hour or so. Again, if they have nothing to hide this should not be a problem.

    I disagree.  Several daycares here require that your first tour be scheduled to make sure you have some on to sit down and conduct the interview.  However, after your interview and initial tour, you can pop in anytime for a surprise tour.

    I have done this with three centers and what I saw during the scheduled tour was exactly what I saw when I popped in.  So scheduled does NOT always equal hiding something.

    Yea, I forgot about the interview. But honestly, if I just popped in and didn't like what I saw then I wouldn't be interested in wasting my time on an interview. I'm glad that your daycare tours were "accurate" both times, but I have seen it happen too many times where they will try and schedule you during nap time when the kids are calm. Now if I called and scheduled a tour that did not occur during nap time then I would be ok with that.

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    Lisa602Lisa602 member

    Wow, thank you! I am making a big list of these questions. I mean they are going to be taking care of my little baby. Thank you!

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    image~Flossie~:
    imagemadhatter2003:
    imageCaymandreams:

    First, you didn't schedule this tour did you? My first rule is to never schedule a tour. If they want you to come at a specific time then it's a good sign they're hiding something. When I'm ready to tour daycares I will just walk in and ask to see the rooms. Because most daycares will try and schedule your tour during nap time when the kids are asleep so you can't see how they behave/interact and how the teachers are treating them. (I used to work at two different daycares) I would also ask to observe the classroom for an hour or so. Again, if they have nothing to hide this should not be a problem.


     

    I disagree with this as a parent....I would be pissed if random people were showing up at my kid's daycare with no warning at all....what if they were tight on staff that day for example?  I agree that they should have nothing to hide, but making an appointment is a common courtesy IMO.

    This exactly. I would never just show up to a day care and expect that they have time and staff available to take a tour. And if my kid where at the day care I would be concerned about random people walking through as they please. That's not right.

    Agreed.  If a day care is at all responsible they won't let you in if you just show up for a tour.  Would you want any random stranger coming in to a day care?  Most centers have a buzzer system for a reason.  Anyway, as far as questions:

    1. Vacation/Sick policy. ie. do you have to pay for weeks you are on vacation or days they are closed.

    2.  Do they watch TV

    3. What kinds of activities do they do during the day (more for when they're older).

    4. Do the infants get outdoor time?

    5. Do I keep clothes there or bring extras in a bag each day.

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    Thank you so much for this everyone!  Very helpful.  This daycare thing is so overwhelming!
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