laughing child outside

girl posing with baby

Questions To Ask References for a Family Home Daycare

References can be a helpful tool in helping you make your final decision about a childcare provider. Most parents are more than happy to share information with other parents, and nothing is more convincing than hearing how other parents rate their care. Ask each daycare you're considering for a list of past and present references. When you call, ask specific questions; instead of asking whether they like the daycare, ask what exactly they like about it and what they don't. Also, ask open-ended questions so the parent can share his/her thoughts in an unrestricted way. When you call the references, ask the following questions, and don't be shy; be proud of being a careful parent who is doing a great job selecting the best child care program for your child!

Enrollment/Fees

  • How old is your child?
  • How old was your child when you enrolled him/her in the home daycare?
  • How long has your child been enrolled in the home Daycare?
  • If their child is no longer in the provider's care, ask why?
  • How long have you known the provider?
  • Are changes in the fees communicated to you well in advance?
  • Have you had any problems with the way the provider charges or collects fees?

General Questions

  • Have you/your child experienced an emergency situation at the daycare? How was it handled?
  • Do you feel that the provider stays calm (or would stay calm) in an emergency?
  • How much notice do you receive when the provider has a scheduled vacation or holiday?
  • How does the provider discipline your child?
  • Have you ever disagreed with the way your child was disciplined?
  • How much turnover of families have you seen since you have been there?
  • How is the provider's home kept on a daily basis? Clean/dirty? Organized/messy?
  • Are your child's basic needs met every day? Diapering? Feeding? Rest time? Kept clean?

Communication

  • Is it easy to talk to the childcare provider?
  • Do you feel comfortable expressing your thoughts to the provider?
  • Does the provider keep you well informed about your child's development?
  • How does the provider communicate with you? On a daily/weekly basis?
  • How does the childcare provider deal with problems or concerns? In a Professional manner?
  • Do you feel welcome to stop in at any time?
  • Does the provider respect your values and culture?
  • Does the provider partner with you and your efforts to raise a healthy and happy child?

Provider Profile

  • How is the provider's attitude on a daily basis? Consistently happy? Enthusiastic?
  • Is the provider dependable and reliable on a daily basis?
  • How well does the childcare provider handle stressful situations?
  • How well does the childcare provider relate to the children?
  • How does the childcare provider treat your child?
  • Is the provider accommodating and flexible to your child's individual needs?
  • Does the provider make you and your child feel comfortable in his/her home? How?

Child's Perceptions

  • Does your child enjoy his/her time spent at the home daycare? Does he/she have fun?
  • Is your child happy when you pick him/her up?
  • What does your child like best about the home daycare?
  • How does your child feel about the childcare provider?
  • If healthy meals/snacks are provided, does your child like the various foods given to him/her?
  • If a preschool curriculum is provided, how well does your child learn? How much?

Parent's Perceptions

  • What is your perception of the provider's personality? Kind? Honest? Professional?
  • What do you like best/least about the childcare provider?
  • What are your favorite aspects of the home daycare?
  • If you could change anything about the home daycare what would it be?
  • Do you feel that your child gets individual attention from the provider?
  • Do you feel that your child has benefited from his/her experiences with the provider? How?
  • Would you recommend this childcare provider to a friend? Without reservation?
  • Would you choose this childcare provider again?
  • Do you wholeheartedly trust the childcare provider?