The Top Child Care Questions You Might Not Know to Ask

Are you ready to return to work? Do you need child care for your toddler? While you want to know what the staff to child ratio is, what type of curriculum the school uses, and how the teachers will help your child's development, other (less obvious) questions can help you to pick a program. Take a look at the questions to ask before you choose a daycare center.

What Time Does the Daycare Close?

You need a program that offers care hours during your work or school day. If you can't drop your child off with enough time to get to work, you need to explore other daycare options. The same goes for pick-up time. Add post-work day travel time to your pick-up schedule to assess your overall scheduling needs.

What Is Their Sick Child Policy?

Children get sick. But that doesn't mean your toddler should get sick every time they go to daycare. A comprehensive and well-enforced sick child policy can reduce the spread of illness. Ask the center's staff what their policies are. A quality daycare should have specific guidelines for keeping children home and a plan to contact parents in the event of mid-day illness.

Does the Daycare Also Offer a Preschool Program?

Do you want your child to stay at the same early learning center from their toddler time through preschool? Some child care centers also offer pre-K programs. Ask the center's staff about pre-K options and what the program includes.

Make sure existing students have priority entry into the pre-K class, discuss details such as learning/curriculum, and ask about the timeframe. If your child has a late spring or summer birthday, they may need to wait an extra year before starting kindergarten. Talk to the center's staff about the option to spend an additional year in the program.

Do They Provide Meals and Snacks?

Your toddler will need to eat during their daycare day. This means you need to know whether the school provides meals and snacks or you're expected to pack a lunch. If the daycare prepares and serves meals/snacks, ask what the menu typically includes.

Children with food allergies and picky eaters may need menu adjustments. If your child can't or won't eat the food the center offers, make sure you can send in meals and snacks.

Daycares that require parents to pack lunches or snacks for their children may have dietary rules—especially if some students have food allergies. Ask the center's staff what you are allowed to pack. Some centers may have a nut-free or similar policy.