The two main questions to ask a potential child care provider are how long the provider has been in business and whether the business or individual is licensed by the state. Unlicensed providers and those who do not have an established record of success should be avoided. If possible, parents should choose a provider who is accredited by the National Association for Family Child Care.
The child-to-staff ratio is another important consideration when choosing a day care provider. The National Association for the Education of Young Children recommends a ratio of one caregiver for every three to four infants and no more than eight infants in a group. The ratios for older children are one caregiver for every four to six children between the ages of 2 and 3 and one caregiver for every eight to 10 children aged 4 to 5.
Another important question to bring up when interviewing a child care provider is how much the service will cost. Parents need to ask about daily fees and how they are billed. For example, does the provider expect payment after every visit, weekly or once a month? Parents should ask about added fees for late pick-up and whether or not the provider charges for days when the child is ill. If the child is an infant, it is important to ask if diapers and wipes are provided or if the parent must bring them to the facility each day.
Asking questions about child-rearing philosophy helps to ensure children are treated the way the parent prefers. Parents should ask providers how they discipline children in their care, how they comfort a distraught child and what potty-training methods they employ. Additionally, Parents should make sure that they are welcome to stop by for a visit and inspect the facility to determine if there are sufficient toys and other activities to keep the children happy and engaged throughout the day.