QUESTIONS TO ASK
Choosing child care that is right for your child is very important and can have long lasting results. Many studies show that birth to age five is the most critical stage in a child's growth and learning. As much as 90 percent of the human brain develops in these early years.
Health & Safety
Q: Does the place look clean? Is hand washing done after using the bathroom, changing diapers and before eating? Are diaper-changing tables cleaned and disinfected with a bleach solution or approved cleaner after each use?
A: Clean environments reduce illness and the spread of germs.
Q: Does the place look safe? What is the plan in case of emergency or disaster?
A: Safe programs reduce the risk of injury. Programs with an emergency or disaster plan that is reviewed on a regular basis can reduce the risk of injury during a crisis.
Q: Does the caregiver attend to children's needs and give them lots of attention and encouragement? Do you see her talking to children at their eye level and listening closely to each child?
A: Children need to form a bond with their caregiver and feel safe and loved.
Q: Do you and your child feel welcomed and respected if you are from a different culture and speak a different language?
A: Children that feel respected of their culture and language have less separation anxiety issues and bond quicker with their caregiver.
Q: Is this child care program (center or home) licensed and inspected by your state?
A: A license does not ensure quality, but it does set minimum standards. For more information on the regulations in Oklahoma, click here.
Q: Is everyone trained in first-aid and infant/child CPR?
A: Anyone caring for a child should have this type of training before being left alone with children.
Q: Are children watched at all times, even when sleeping?
A: Having your child monitored while sleeping is important to reduce accidents, especially for infants because they are at higher risk of Sudden Infant Dealth Syndrome (SIDS).
Q: Are just a few children being cared for by one caregiver?
A: You want your child to get plenty of attention. Fewer children for each caregiver means a better situation for your child. And the younger your child, the more important this is.
Q: If there is more than one caregiver in the setting, is the total number of children in the group still fairly small?
A: A small group is usually safer and calmer.
Q: Is there a daily schedule with planned activities for children to do as well as lots of time for free play? Do caregivers read to children?
A: Good child care programs offer active play and learning activities to help children enter school with the skills they need to succeed.
Policies for Parents
Q: Does the caregiver welcome drop-in visits and parent ideas and involvement?
A: Good child care programs involve parents and work as a team with the family to meet the needs to children.
Q: Are there regular times or ways, in which staff and parents can communicate?
A: Communication between the caregiver and parent is the key to success for the child.
Q: How will you be informed about your child’s day?
A: This is another way caregivers can communicate with parents about the experiences and routine of their child.
Q: Will your child be happy there?
A: You know your child best.
Q: I have more questions and want to talk to a child care expert that is not a provider, who do I call?
A: Contact a specialist at 1-800-438-0008.
Q: Does the person who will be caring for your child have the required special training? Do they attend classes and workshops to improve their skills?
A: Caregivers with degrees or special training in working with children will be better able to help your child learn.
Q: How long has the caregiver been in the same program or providing child care in the home?
A: Caregivers who come and go make it hard on your child. It’s best if children can stay with the same caregiver for at least a year.
Q: Have all adults been trained on preventing child abuse, spotting potential signs of abuse, and on rules of reporting suspected abuse?
A: There is less chance of something going terribly wrong if all the adults in your child’s life work together to guard against abuse.
Q: Is there a quality rating system for child care providers in our state? If so, does your program participate?
A: Programs who participate in a quality rating system have met voluntary standards for child care that are higher than basic licensing requirements.
Q: Is the child care program accredited by a national organization?
A: Accredited child care programs are more likely to offer a higher quality of care.