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Once your child begins to attend daycare or preschool, a good portion of their time each day will be spent with their care team. It’s important for you to understand everything you can about their teaching philosophy and approach and every aspect of your child’s day. Use the following guide to interview your child’s care team.

Essential Questions to Ask Your Child’s Care Team

You can never ask too many questions when it comes to vetting out a potential care facility for your small child. The best scenario for your child is that you and their care team will work well together on their behalf. Get to know your child’s care team with the following questions:

1) Are you licensed/accredited?

Licensing regulations are set by each individual state. This means if a facility is licensed, it undergoes regular state-mandated inspections. It gives you the confidence that the facility is staying above the state’s minimum standards. Accreditation standards, on the other hand, are national standards set higher than licensing regulations. State law does not require accreditation. Facilities who are committed to the highest standards can become accredited voluntarily. Types of accreditation include family childcare, after school care, and education for young children.

2) Are you CPR and First Aid certified?

If a care facility is licensed, CPR and First Aid certification is required. It’s still a good idea to double check for yourself. Make sure they’re well-stocked with first aid kits and supplies. The staff should be sufficiently trained in Heimlich maneuver, basic wound care, burn care, allergies, asthma, and how to handle a child with a broken bone before the ambulance arrives.

3) What is your teacher to child ratio?

Look up the teacher to child daycare ratio requirements for the state of Texas to make sure the facility is in compliance. This number varies depending on the ages of the children in attendance. You want to make sure your child’s teacher will be able to devote adequate time and attention to him or her. The ratio for infants should be 1 to 3 or fewer, as infants require constant attention. Inquire if the full staff will be present all day or if fewer teachers will be helping at the end of the day.

4) What safety and security measures will you take to protect my child?

Ask if the doors remain locked all day and under what conditions they will be unlocked. Find out about safety measures taken during outside recess and exploration time. What is the protocol if someone other than you attempts to pick up your child? Make sure they have emergency procedures for fire, tornadoes, hurricanes, etc. posted throughout the facility.

5) What is your approach to discipline?

How will their care team handle unacceptable behavior from your child and others? Have a conversation with your caregiver about what forms of discipline are unacceptable for you and your child. Do they use physical punishment such as spanking or withholding snacks? Are they proponents of timeouts? Request to be given written documentation of the facility’s discipline policy. Before you go, think about specific scenarios and ask them how each one would be handled.

6) How are meals and snacks handled?

Will food be provided by the facility, or are you expected to supply your own food and snacks for your child? If the facility provides food, find out if it is homemade or processed. Ask about what kinds of snacks they provide. What is their system for tracking what foods and drinks your child will have throughout each day. Ask about how they handle child food allergies and how they protect children from accidental exposure.

7) How are the days structured?

Find out about what your child’s typical day will be like. Understand his or her daily schedule so you can replicate it as much as possible at home. Kids need consistency at this age. Find out how much outside time your kid will have each day. When would the children not be allowed to go outside? Ask about the ratio of time spent on structured education vs. free play time. Find out if they facilitate field trips, what type and how often, and what is their trip preparation protocol.

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Putting your child in the care of others is never an easy thing, especially when it encompasses a large amount of their daily time. It’s important to ask every question and understand the ins and outs of how they care for children. Don’t be afraid to ask any and every question. Get to know them and let them get to know you. This is the ideal scenario for your child. Get started with these 7 questions to ask your child’s care team.

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