Print this handy checklist so you're ready for your daycare tours. Click here to download.
1. Is it unlicensed? ("private") or licensed? Is there any official oversight?
2. Cost: What is the monthly or daily fee? (Some daycares don't make their fees easily available on their websites, and you'll only find out by going on the tour and asking in person.)
3. How many staff members does the daycare have, and what's the staff-to-kid ratio in each room?
4. What's the staff turnover rate? (Be nosey: This is best answered by parents, not staff.
5. Are there any all-daycare vacation weeks or holiday closings?
6. What's the drop-off and pick-up window, and is there a formal late policy? Some daycares charge per minute late.
7. Are healthy lunches and snacks provided? Is it a delivery service? How often does the menu change? What if kids are still hungry after finishing lunch? Will they give a hangry child a snack at 5:30 p.m.?
8. What are the expectations around toilet training and diapers?
9. Does it accept subsidies?
10. Do the kids take two naps a day or one? (This is mostly relevant for infant and toddler rooms. Babies tend to drop the second nap before they turn two.) Are kids allowed to sleep when they’re tired or is there a set naptime for everyone? Is there a nap room with cribs, or do they put out cots or mats?
11. How do they handle squabbles, such as two toddlers fighting over a toy? (Redirection or discipline? Do they use time outs?)
12. When do most kids move up from the toddler room to the preschool room, thus freeing up spots for new babies or toddlers? Typically there’s a lot of turnover in August and September, when the oldest kids leave daycare to start junior kindergarten.
13. Is there an outdoor space? Do they go on outings to the park or splash pad?
14. What is the illness policy? Will staff give OTC medicines like Tylenol and Advil? Can they administer antibiotics if your child is healthy but still on a 10-day course of prescription meds?
15. Do any of the families at the daycare opt out of vaccinating their kids? (If your baby is younger than 12 months, this may be of special concern.)
Download or print this checklist to get the most out of your daycare tour.