When my husband and I figured out we were expecting, I immediately put on my project management hat and created a timeline of tasks to complete before the due date. One of my highest priorities was to find a child care provider for when I went back to work. I knew going back to work was going to be hard enough that I didn’t need to be worrying about who was watching over our little love. And so began the hunt for the perfect baby whisperer.
My first step was to go to the Colorado Child Care Facility Search website. This website lists all of the licensed day care facilities, both childcare centers and in-home care givers, in Colorado. We knew we wanted a licensed provider because that assured us there were regular inspections of the facility, background checks for all the childcare providers associated with the business, and would alert us to any violations or red flags. It would also let us know how many children and what ages the facility was allowed to care for. The site allows you to search for specific providers, by area, by type of facility, and child care by age range. It’s not the prettiest or slickest website, but it is easy enough to navigate that you can definitely find potential child care providers on it. It helps narrow your search if you know whether you would like to take your child to a child care center or an in-home daycare. There are advantages and disadvantages to each, but we decided an in-home daycare best suited our needs.
From the website we were able to compile a list of potential providers in the part of town that worked best for us. The first question we asked the potential providers was whether they had any opening for an infant. That single question eliminated a lot of people from our list. Turns out finding an infant child care provider who had room for a new baby was really difficult since babies require more attention and there are very strict limits on the number of infants facilities can accommodate.
If they did have an opening for a baby, I did a mini interview over the phone with them. Even a handful of questions gave me a good idea of whether it was worth pursuing a home visit or not. If the phone interview went well, I scheduled a home visit with them. I’ve included many of the questions we asked between the mini phone interview and the home visit below.
The home visit is what really decided it for my husband and me. We were able to look around and see how inviting the atmosphere was, what kind of baby proofing was done, whether blind cords were tied up, if there were any hazards in the children’s areas, check out the outdoor space to see if it was safe and secure, and just get a better feel fro who would be spending so much time with our daughter. Mamas – trust your gut instinct! Chances are, you will know early into the home visit if you would trust this person with your child or not.
Even though we felt really good about our in-person interview and home visit, we still called some of the other parents of the children who were cared for in the home. We asked them questions about how the daycare worked out for them, whether there was anything they’d change, what their kids thought about going to daycare, and other questions. It turns out I didn’t really need a set of questions when I called the other parents because they were more than willing to share their experiences.
Once we had chosen a childcare provider, I visited with my baby when the children were there to get a feel for the other kids and how the provider handled them. I got to see a bit about how their day went and the kids all got so excited about the prospect of having a baby join them in the fun. Seeing how much the kids loved their care provider also brought additional reassurance that the place we had chosen would be a good fit.
Our daughter has been going to daycare for six months now and we couldn’t be more pleased with how things worked out. It was a stressful process to find the right fit, but it was well worth the effort. I miss our little peanut every day, but it helps me tremendously to know how well she is looked after.
Here are many of the questions we asked during the phone and in-person interviews; I’ve also included a FREE printable that includes these questions for your convenience and ease.
- Do you have availability for an infant beginning around ____?
- How many children are you allowed to have? What ages?
- How many children do you currently take care of?
- Do you keep your place full, or do you leave some room to grow?
- How long have you been in business?
- Do you have pets? Are they allowed in the areas where the children are?
- Do you ever drive the children anywhere? Where? How often?
- Are there any field trips?
- How often do the kids go outside?
- Do they go for walks? To parks?
- What is your outside space like? Do you have shade?
- Do you let babies “cry it out” or do you rock them to sleep?
- Do you schedule feed or feed on demand?
- How do you correct/punish the children?
- Do you have children of your own? What ages?
- How do you balance your own children’s activities with your business?
- How often do you sweep/mop the hard floors?
- How often do you vacuuminterview-questions baby whisperer?
- What supplies do I need to provide?
- What do you provide?
- Do we pack snacks/lunch for the child or do you provide food?
- What is the earliest children can be dropped off?
- What is the latest they can be picked up?
- What holidays are you closed on?
- How do you work your sick/vacation time?
- What is your policy for caring for sick kids?
- How much do you charge?
- Do we pay you for days that our child is not in daycare? (For example, the child is normally in daycare Monday through Friday, but misses a Friday to go on a family vacation.)
- How do you accept payment?
I hope sharing our experience gives you a little help on your own journey for finding your baby whisperer. And don’t forget to download your free printable so that you can take these questions with you!