How to conduct a childcare interview
When my son was an infant I provided child care out of my home. From the beginning, I sought out to make it a business. I was a registered home provider who utilized the food program to offer healthy meals, provided various play experiences, and had a contract with parents.
Because families would be entering my home on a daily basis, I knew that interviewing potential families was going to be the key to success. The interview can be beneficial for the child care provider, the child, and the family. Determining the right fit ensures longevity for everyone involved.
When looking for child care, parents and caregivers should ask to schedule an interview and a visit. Come prepared to the interview ready to ask questions, take a tour and gain an understanding for the provider’s policies. Common questions you can ask are:
• Do you have a current state license? Do you have other accreditations? If so, what are they? Ask to see a copy.
• Do you have a contract with policies? Ask to receive a copy.
• What are your hours? What’s your holiday schedule? On what other days are you closed? • • How flexible are you with pickup and drop-off times?
• Do you have a typical schedule for the day?
• How many children are in your care for both full-time or part-time care?
• What are your fees and when are they paid? This includes the late-pickup fee and vacation.
• What supplies do I (as the caregiver) need to bring?
• How do you communicate with parents? Will you give me a daily report or is there another process for informing parents of what children did during the day?
• Why do you work with children? What do you like most about caring for them? What do you like least about it?
• Are meals provided? If so, do they align with food program standards?
• How do you discipline children? How do you comfort children?
• Do you have emergency training? In CPR? In First aid? Ask to see training certificates.
• What health and safety measures or hygiene practices do you have in place?
• What is your disaster plan? Do you have procedures for handling fires, earthquakes, intruders, and other emergencies?
• Where do the children sleep? Do you have a nap schedule? Do you place babies on their back to sleep and follow other safe sleeping practices to reduce the risk of SIDS?
Ask for a list of past and present references — and call them. Ask specific questions on what exactly they do and don’t like about it. If their child is no longer there, ask why.
For every interview I conducted with families that were unfavorable, there were about five favorable interviews. It fostered a great relationship between the child, the parent, and myself. If you are in need of childcare, Child Care Resource and Referral has created a guide to “Choosing Quality Child Care” which can be found at: https://iowaccrr.org/resources/files/BGP/78%20ParentGuide.pdf
Carrie Kube is a Director for the Iowa River Valley
Early Childhood Area Board.