Monday, January 26, 2009

More blog participation

Calling all Internets and helpful resources:

If you were interviewing a home daycare - What are the questions you would ask? What would you be concerned with about the house?
What would be your pro/cons/concerns for daycare facilities vs licensed home daycares?

I have the basic questions but do not want to overlook something because this is new terrain for us. I know many of you have already done this. That's why blogging is a huge resource .... Please help


Mountain Girl said...

I ran a home daycare and I'd encourage you to visit when there are children and when there are not children. I would ask what they "do" during the day - are babies always placed in some sort of apparatus all day long. I would make sure the home is babyproofed and even ask the provider what all they have done. (There are regulations that have to be met in order to be licensed.)

Do you feel a good vibe with the provider?

I personally believe that a licensed home daycare is going to provide more attention to an infant - although daycare centers must follow certain ratios for infants, that doesn't mean that your baby will be cuddled, played with independently, etc. as much as at a home daycare, but I think that is something you feel when you are interviewing/visiting.

Leah said...

No advice, sorry. Just wanted to let you know I was thinking about you and hope you find somewhere GREAT for him!

Kim said...

I would ask if they are CPR trained certified, how many children they care for, if they would notify you if they took in more children, if they ever leave the home and leave someone else to care for the children or if they have any other 'helpers', if their home is known to have mold/lead/asbestos, if they mind if you 'drop in' at your leisure, if you can call a current client as a reference, etc.

Nicky said...

As you know, I'm going through this right now as well, though we may have finally found an excellent one. Yay! I was initially pretty set on using a daycare center, because I thought they'd be more professional, safe, experienced, accountable, trustworthy, etc. But every one I visited seemed to suck at infant care. No playing, no personal attention, no time just spent smiling at the baby, no fun interaction at all. We found out the hard way.

Questions we asked home daycares:

How long have you been doing this? How long have each of the kids been in your care? What experience do you have outside of running a home daycare? CPR certified? Licensed? What do you do with the kids on a typical day? How old are your own kids? What happens when you're sick? How much vacation do you take during the year? Where do infants nap? How much time are you willing to devote to soothing an infant for a nap? How many kids you would take care of at once? How many infants would you take care of at once?

We were looking for someone with prior experience (eg, preschool teacher, nanny) who had been running their own daycare for more than a year, with kids who had been there long-term. Only one infant at a time, max 5 kids total (preferably 4, or more if there is more than one caretaker). Look for evidence of arts and crafts, outdoor playtime, and free play toys (as opposed to a television and a big video collection). Ask for phone numbers of all the current parents, as well as one that no longer uses the daycare.

After that... it's all about how comfortable you feel with the provider. At the end of the day, once the place seems safe and reliable, you gotta go with your gut.

FattyPants said...

I looked into some when my oldest was little. I did go during the day once for a little drop in to see what the kids were doing, I asked about licensing and cpr certification. Also you should ask about meals, will she prepare or do you bring your own. You should go over how she disciplines inapropriate behavior too. What else am I forgeting...OH, yes always run a background check. You can do it online really easily.

Kathy V said...

I think all of the suggestions so far are good. I would alos like to consider where the children play. Is it just downstairs or is it all over the house? Also what other people will the child possibly come in contact with. (ie family members of the Daycare director). How many children is a big one and their ages. Also is there additional help? it can be challenging trying to prepare lunch for four children and watch all children without help. While it is a business, it is also a home so she might duck away to do miscellaneous household tasks. Also sick days and vacation. How many, how often, and how much notice will they give you? If I think of anything else I will come back.

lub said...

Ask if they are accredited. If they are not, ask what cleanliness standards they use. Ask if MT will bring his own toys and play with only those or if the children share. If they share what is the process to clean and how frequently do they clean those toys? Will they wash/ boil your bottles for you or do you bring them home each day.

T goes to an at home daycare and I love it. My only concern is how frequently she has gotten sick since she started there. Much of it is unavoidable and hopefully she will be better for it in the long run but I sometimes wonder if she wen to a day care center if she would get less germs. Probably not but its a thought. Home care is generally much cheaper as well. Good luck.

mo*reezy said...

Henry was in a home daycare from 3mos - 2yrs. I appreciated how much the provider really loved the kids. She was very organized and neat, and had a good daily schedule. Henry was held and hugged a lot. Ask what she does with older kids who are naturally curious about littler ones - one of the others at our place started biting the smaller ones, and she ended up kicking him out. Ask potential places what they'd do in a situation like that. Our provider ONLY took cash, because she'd had some people write her bad checks - ask how they take payment.
Go with an open mind- your gut will give you a good sense of what you should do.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure I'll be less help than most because we had daycare pretty much before B was a twinkle in our eyes - thanks to the fact that our daycare lady is a family friend (of j's family). However, I didn't know her at all before we met, so she had to win me over and I still had a ton of questions.

1) Depending on MT's feeding when he starts, will she take pumped breastmilk or formula only?

2) How many kids are there? If there's 8 kids under the age of 18 months, that would be a red flag that it would be a zoo, daily.

3) Is it just one person providing care, or are there other helpers?

4) What type of schedule does she keep? How often do they nap? What does she do when they cry (like do they cry for a while, or does she pick them up immediately)?

5) What does she provide? Our lady provides formula, diapers, and makes her own baby food once they're of age. We just have to take an extra set of clothes every day.

6) What does she do when they're sick? Do you have to come pick him up right away? Our lady only has 4 babies between 6 weeks and 18 months total, so she's able to separate the sick one, give them some Tylenol if they're feverish and it's ok with the doctor, and try to get him to sleep it off. She's adament that she won't make us drop everything and rush to get him unless he's physically very ill (like vomiting, etc.) and of course we can pick him up if we want to anyway. But it's nice to know we don't have to drop everything and run when his temp hits like 99.8.

7) What is her cancellation policy? If you decide to go elsewhere or stay home, how much notice does she need?

8) What does your gut tell you? (This is the most important one, with the ability to override all other questions. :o)

Just because she may be licensed doesn't mean she's necessarily good - get references from parents who have kids with her now, as well as those who have had their kids there in the past.

It's ultimately up to what your guts say. :) Good luck!

Kate said...

I think for either one I woudl make sure that I was getting detailed diaper and eating reports every day, that they make you fill out forms when the baby needs meds or takes a tumble, cleanliness, childproofing, nap areas (are they safe?), do they have a written schedule that they can give you (i.e. reading time, playtime, etc..), the ratio of caregivers to babies, and security . They should have all of those things, in my opinion, whether they are in a home or a facility.

Good luck!!!

AJ's mommy said...

I think all the suggestions are wonderful. Good idea to visit, find out where the children will play/sleep, CPR, tidyness of the house, etc. My provider passed all of those so that is why i love her so much!

Jen said...

It looks like you have some really good questions to ask. One of the problems I've heard about home vs. center is what happens when the adult is sick? Do they cancel the day and how much notice is given. Also, some centers charge you for a week even if you attend p/t. I wish you lots of luck with this. I'd also make sure you listen to your gut. Your instincts will help you out on this one. Having the right day care situation will make going to work easier.

Dreamer4agift said...

I've agreed with the suggestions made so far...

As someone who worked in a daycare for 10+yrs, I would say that in either situation, ask things such as:

teacher vs. child ratio, meal and nap times, daily schedule, learning opportunities, cpr/first aid and licenses/accreditation, activities (indoor, outdoor, supervised or not, etc), vacation and sick days, if there is an emergency (medical, fire, environmental, etc.)--what are her procedures, how she handles unwanted behavior, cleanliness and how she sanitizes toys/equipment/dishes/anything that the child will come in contact with, safety of the house, who else will be having any sort of interaction with the children (especially those that would be there on a reg. basis).

also, I would ask to talk to other clients, visit when children are there and not there...and for long enough to watch her in action and interacting with the children. And visit on more than one occasion and at diff. times of the day.

Go with your gut. If anything feels off, then don't do it.

Jen said...

I haven't done home daycare, but I was a facility daycare teacher. The most important thing (from my "insider" perspective) is the caregiver/teacher. My daycare that I taught at was generally awful, but my classroom was awesome. Just look for someone who seems to care about what they are doing and that you have a good feeling about.

Road Blocks and Roller Coasters said...

I would just make sure that the building/house is built fairly recent to avoid lead issues. That's the one thing that always sticks in my mind for some reason. Good Luck!

Morrisa said...

Well, I didn't really interview our daycare provider since she is family so I can't really help you there. I just wanted to let you know I am still reading.

Amanda said...

I have no advice. But I'm sending good thoughts!

Mountain Girl said...

Another thing to do is see how the provider interacts with your own baby! Granted when you interview a provider, you need them to answer your questions, etc. But, if the provider gives NO or little attention to MT, then that can be a big indicator of their interest in your baby!