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Choosing a Child Care Provider

Questions to ask the provider
  • How many children do you take care of?
    • What are their ages?
    • How many come full-time?
    • How many come part-time?
  • What would a typical day be like for my child?
    Find out about naps, meals, activities, outside playtime, television, and field trips.
  • Who else is in your home during the day?
    Older children? Other relatives? Assistants or helpers?
  • What can you tell me about your previous experience and educational background? Do you have experience or training...
    • with children my child's age?
    • in child safety?
    • in first aid and rescue breathing?
    • in child development?
  • Why did you become a child care provider?
  • How do you handle a child who is sad about being away from home?
    • A child who breaks a rule?
    • A child who is upset?
  • How will we talk about my child?
    • Daily conversations or notes at drop-off and pick-up times?
    • What if we need a longer discussion?
  • What are your fees and what do they include?
    Find out whether there are extra charges for diapers, food, or field trips; whether parents pay for care when a child is sick or on vacation.
  • What hours are you open?
    • What if I am late because of traffic, or have to work overtime?
    • Can parents drop in any time?
  • What happens when my child is sick?
    • Can children come if they have a cold?
    • A fever?
    • Diarrhea?
    • Will you let me know if other children are sick?
  • What days to you plan to be closed?
    • Do you have backup for those days, or for those times when you are sick?
  • Can you give me the names of two or three parents to call for references?

Things to look for when you visit
  • Does the provider pay individual attention to each child?
  • Does she play and talk with the children?
  • Does she let them sit in her lap, and give them hugs when they need comfort?
  • Does the place seem safe?

  • Look for:
    • smoke alarms on every floor
    • two exits in case of fire
    • outlets and wires protected from toddlers
    • secured cabinets
    • fenced yard
    • toys and play equipment appropriate for your child's age
    • strict pratice of washing hands after diapering and before preparing food
    • no weapons where children could get at them

  • Is there enough room inside for the children to play comfortably?
  • Does the outdoor space have enough room for the children to run and play?
  • Is there a variety of toys and activities your child would enjoy?
  • Are the toys right for your child's age?
  • Will your child have a chance to make things, color, build with blocks, put on costumes, listen to stories, dig in sand, play with water or make music?

Questions to ask yourself
  • Are you comfortable with the provider?
  • Would you trust her to take care of your child?
  • Do the rules seem reasonable and clear?
  • Do you agree with how she disciplines the children?
  • Are you happy with the types of activities she plans?
  • Will she listen to and understand your concerns?
  • Do her references check out?
  • Are you comfortable with the other children?
  • Will this be a good group for your child?
  • Does the place seem right for your child?
  • Will your child be comfortable and happy there?

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Tulare County Office of Education
Early Childhood Education Program
7000 Doe Avenue, Suite C, Visalia, CA 93291

Julie Berk, Administrator
(559) 651-3022 • fax: (559) 651-3802

Jim Vidak, County Superintendent of Schools
Tulare County Office of Education
All mail to: P.O. Box 5091, Visalia, CA 93278-5091
Physical address: 6200 S. Mooney Blvd., Visalia, CA 93277
phone: (559) 733-6300 • fax: (559) 627-5219

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