Questions To Ask A Potential Child Care Provider & Tips for the Interview

One of the biggest stresses for me when I found out I was pregnant was figuring out who would take care of my child when I went back to work. I had several options to consider. I could send him to daycare, I could hire a nanny, or I could try to find a home care provider. Ultimately we decided to go the home care route, but no matter which way you decide to go you should be sure to ask many questions to anyone who may take care of your child. I asked around and got lots of insight on great questions to ask a potential child care provider plus tips to nail the interview.

I also created an easy questionnaire with over 35 questions that you can bring with you to the interview and take notes on! Sign up for my email list to receive this printable.

Child care can be a huge stress. Here are questions to ask a potential child care provider and tips to nail an interview -- plus a free interview printable.

Tips for the interview:

  • If you are visiting a daycare don’t schedule your visit so you can get a sense of how the center is run when they aren’t expecting people. If you are visiting a home care provider ask for a range of times that you can come. Try to avoid nap time (usually between 12-2pm)
  • If you are touring a daycare find out the position of the person giving you the tour (and anyone you talk to along the way). If you are talking to a floater they may be unfamiliar with the routine of the room.Ā  If you are visiting a home care provider make sure you are talking to the primary care giver and find out if there are others in the home that may provide help or just be around generally (ie; the woman we went rented a room to a couple — they were not involved with the kids, but it is good to know who is going to be around your little ones.)
  • Be familiar with the childcare laws in your state BEFORE visiting any child care provider. You can also take some notes and ask state specific questions during your interview and tour to make sure they are compliant.
  • Find out about the schedule.
    • Home care: How many days/hours per week do they expect? How many days or weeks off do they get? What happens if they are sick — when and how are you notified? Are they flexible (ie; if you need to add hours or days?)
    • Daycare: Do you pay per day or per week? Do you get family vacation weeks? How many days a year is the center closed? How are parents notified of an emergency or unexpected closure?
  • Check references. I can’t stress this enough. I suggest calling 3-5 people and asking them a lot of these questions. Ask them about their overall experience and whether they would send another child to the same place. A list of reference questions is included in the free printable.
    • Ask around your mom tribe. Someone you know well will (hopefully) give you the honest truth!
  • Find out what you can do to make the transition easier. Ask if there are things that you can do in advance to make the transition to a childcare provider easier. If your baby currently only takes naps in your arms it might be an easier transition for everyone if they can sleep in a crib.
  • Plan for the future. Presumably your baby will continue with the same childcare provide from infant to toddler. Ask questions about infants but also about their experience with toddlers (and tour the toddler room if a daycare).
  • Really look at the space (inside and out) — is there enough for the kids to run around, play, and learn comfortably and safely?
  • Keep in mind your parenting style and find a good match with the daycare/home care.
    • If you don’t like your child to have screen time try to avoid a place that has the kids in front of the TV all day.
    • If you prefer redirection over timeout find a daycare/home care that follows a redirection policy.

Child care can be a huge stress. Here are questions to ask a potential child care provider and tips to nail an interview -- plus a free interview printable.

Questions to ask a child care provider:

  1. Ask scenario or “what would you do” questions. Download the printable for specific examples.
  2. How often do you do crib checks?
  3. What is the daily schedule like?
  4. How many children and what are their ages (home care)?
  5. What do you do if my child is sick? (ie; fever, throwing up, runny nose)

Questions contributed by Forever Young Moms

1. What is the child to teacher ratio?
2. Can I visit anytime?
3. What activities do you do with the kids?
4. What type of safety measures do you have in place?
5. What qualifications do you have for your teachers (Degree, CPR certified, etc.)?
6. What is your staff turnover rate?
7. Do you offer vacation/sick days?
8. What do you provide for my child (food, snacks, diapers, wipes, etc.)?
9. Do you require all children to be vaccinated?
10. Describe your policies on education, discipline, potty training, etc.

Questions from contributed by Lipstick & a Little Lady

1. How do you monitor if they are eating lunches?
  • Do you encourage them to really eat/try something new or if they say no do you just let it go? Sometimes my daughter says she’s not hungry, is busy playing, doesn’t want to try something new but we are very pro “try everything” and so I want her to be pushed to eat a taste, and try it out.
2. When they play outside, what does the weather need to be like in order to stay in doors?
  • Just recently had this problem where the kids pretty much go out 24/7 in the snow, if it’s still falling, in 20 degree weather, etc. and I wasn’t too happy about that.
3. What is the nap schedule like, do you wake them up, if they refuse to nap…how do you handle that?
4. How do you discipline towards kids acting out, mistreating others, etc.?
5. Do you help if they are still learning to wipe on the potty, or do you check if they are responsible for getting dressed, etc.?
  • Example: my daughter constantly has had her shoes on backwards when I pick her up and I had to ask her teachers if they pay attention/check because she just turned 4 and I’d rather not have her walking around like that all day

I also polled moms on Instagram to find out what they think and of course they had amazing advice. You can check that out here:

šŸ’• I love connecting with other moms on Instagram! šŸ’• It’s a great place to find your tribe and share the ups and downs of motherhood. I’m teaming up with some inspiring ladies every Tuesday to help you connect with other mamas, and inspire, uplift, and support one another. It’s super easy to participate! 1ļøāƒ£ Follow me and all of the other ladies in this Chat Loop 2ļøāƒ£ Comment below with your answer to my question. 3ļøāƒ£ Click on the photo to head to the next mama in the Chat Loop (@theashleylanglois). Once you have gotten back to my page (or the page of the person you started with) you’re done! 4ļøāƒ£ If you would like to cohost the Chat Loop, @emilymkrause will be choosing someone for the next round. Be sure to follow all the steps and send her a DM to be considered! šŸ’• Ok, let’s chat! QUESTION: I am working on a post about interviewing childcare providers. What are your best interview questions or tips? I will include the link to this in my post too ā¤ MY ANSWER: I like scenario questions! I think that is the best way to figure out how they handle different situations. YOUR TURN!

A post shared by Melissa | Boy Mom | Blogger (@melissa_castan) on

Moms on Instagram always have amazing advice. To check out some of the other topics they have weighed in on click here.

What questions do you ask a potential child care provider?

If you liked this post check out E-book: The First Three Months and Book Review: Pure Nurture.

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About Melissa

Hi, Iā€™m Melissa! I am a mama to my baby Aiden Milo (born November 2015), and a police wife to my husband Dan. I started this blog because, after having Aiden, I quickly learned that exhaustion and baby brain causes you to forget some of the er-lovely (sometimes horrible and sometimes wonderful) details related to the first several months of raising a baby. Considering we may have more kids in the future, I want to document everything we do, so we remember what worked the first time around, and hopefully help other first time mamas along the way!
  • Renee Sutton

    What a great list of questions! I am so grateful I have never had to send my child to any care provider other than family <3 If I did though, I would most definitely want this list in hand!!!

    • Melissa

      Yes, family is great! That’s wonderful that your family was able to help with child care. I bet they have a great bond šŸ™‚

  • Taylor Dietrich

    This is such a great post and I so needed this. Our little one is coming soon and I have been stressing about child care. Thank you for this guide!

    • Melissa

      Hi Taylor. Congratulations on the little one! I hope this helps <3 You can do this!

  • This is a great list of questions and I love that you made it printable! I can personally attest to how important reference checks are as I almost hired someone who had been drinking alcohol on the job in her last nanny position…but the reference check saved me. I’m sure this list will help a lot of people.

    • Melissa

      Oh my goodness! I am glad you checked references and caught that one. I agree references are SO important and asking really specific questions!

  • Sharon

    Great list of questions. Thanks for this guide.

    • Melissa

      Hi Sharon, I am glad you found this useful!

  • Erica Sugarmootz

    These tips are really helpful, thanks for sharing.

  • Ophira Bhastekar

    These are very helpful tips! I will keep them handy during my daycare search.

  • Finding childcare can be so scary and intimidating for parents! These are all awesome tips which will help any parent get a greats sense of potential childcare providers.

  • Karen Lizarraras

    This list of questions seems awesome! I will be looking for a place soon.