Make sure you ask these questions when you tour child care programs

Before you enroll in a program, touring the location is essential. And whether it's a virtual tour or in-person, it can be one of the most fun parts of the child care journey.


Touring is more than just a time to assess the physical space—it's also an opportunity to meet the staff, see how they engage with the children and ask important questions that will help you make an informed care decision. If that sounds like a lot to remember, don't worry! Read on to find out how to get the most out of your tour, what questions to ask, and things to look out for.




Certifications & Licensing

  • Ask about their license status. Are they accredited or part of the Early Achievers program? Not mandatory, but this means they meet a higher standard for child care other than licensing requirements.

  • What degrees or certifications does staff have? This should include CPR.

  • What yearly training is provided/required for staff? Ask to see certifications.

  • Are providers required to get training on their own or is this covered by the school?

  • For part-time programs: Do they conduct background checks on all of their employees? If so, where can this information be found?



Environment/Cleanliness

  • Does the space look organized, safe, and clean?

  • For infant programs, is there a designated place for breast milk to be kept?

  • Is there a designated diaper-changing station?

  • How many children attend the daycare?

  • How and how often do they sanitize the toys and materials used by the children?

  • How much active, outdoor playtime do the children have each day?



Staff

  • How is back-up care managed if the provider is ill or on vacation?

  • Is the staff alert during your tour?

  • What is their child-to-caregiver ratio?

  • What does teacher turnover look like? Inquire about the average tenure of teachers.



Safety

  • Does the provider transport children in a vehicle? Where do they go? Ask to see the vehicle or bus, and inspect the seating arrangements.

  • What are the daily COVID health and safety measures?

  • What is the protocol for a potential COVID exposure? What is required for your child to return? This may include a mandatory quarantine, negative test results, or a combination of both so be sure to ask.


Child/Family Interactions

  • How does the provider keep parents up-to-date on children's daily activities and behavior? Do they provide a daily report? Is there an app for parents?

  • Does the provider provide meals? If so, ask for a sample meal plan. If no meals are provided, where are children’s meals stored?

  • Does the provider potty-train?

  • How does the staff handle discipline or behavioral problems? For instance, how do they handle biting, hitting, or bullying situations?

  • Family-specific questions: If you use cloth diapers, be sure to ask about that, or if you have an unusual schedule that requires some flexibility, bring that up as well.

  • Does the provider require/request parent involvement?

  • Can parents drop by whenever they’d like or swing by to breastfeed?


 

These guidelines and questions will help you identify key things to look for and inquire further about on your tour. We recommend printing this list out and taking it with you.

Choosing a program is a very personal decision and ultimately, it may come down to whether or not an environment just feels right for your child and your family. Ask yourself: Will your child be happy there? Remember that you know your child best and what works for one child might not be the best fit for yours.


Looking for child care? Skip the search and let LegUp match you to care based on your family's needs, alert you when open seats become available, and more—so you can get back to everything else. Get started with The Child Care Concierge quiz here.