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Here are some questions you may wish to ask – or observe for yourself – when interviewing a potential professional babysitter or commercial daycare centre. These questions may help you to determine the location’s suitability for your child.

  • Do staff have Early Childhood Education certificate?
  • Will they encourage parents to visit at any time?
  • Do they appear to be warm and friendly?
  • Do they have a sense of humour?
  • Do they seem to be someone with whom you can develop a relaxed, sharing relationship?
  • Do they appear to be someone your child will enjoy being around?
  • Do they seem to feel good about herself/himself and the job?
  • Do they have child-rearing attitudes and methods that are similar to your own?
  • Do they understand what children can and want to do at different stages of growth?
  • Do they have the right materials and equipment on hand to help them learn and grow mentally and physically?
  • Will they patiently help children solve their problems?
  • Do they provide activities that encourage children to think things through?
  • Do they encourage good health habits such as washing hands before eating and after using the toilet?
  • Will they talk to the children and encourage them to express themselves through words?
  • Will they encourage children to express themselves in creative ways?
  • Do they seem to have enough time to look after each of the children in her/his care?
  • Will they help the children to know, accept and feel good about themselves?
  • Do they have previous experience or training in working with children?
  • Will they provide a routine and rules that the children can understand and follow?
  • Do they have an entrance physical examination and yearly TB test?
  • Are they certified in first aid and CPR?
  • Do they have a first-aid kit, a fire extinguisher, smoke detectors, covered (child-proof) radiators and heaters?
  • Does the child care facility have an up-to-date license, if required?
  • Do they have a clean and comfortable look?
  • Do they have enough space indoors and out so all children can move freely and safely?
  • Do they have enough furniture, playthings and other equipment for all the children in care?
  • Do they have equipment that is safe and in good repair?
  • Do they have equipment and materials suitable for the ages of the children in care?
  • Do they have safety caps on electrical outlets?
  • Do they have a safe place to store dangerous items such as medicines, cleaners, poisons, matches, sharp instruments,  etc.?
  • Do they have an alternate exit in case of fire?
  • Do they have a safety plan to follow in emergencies?
  • Do they have an outdoor play area that is safe, fenced (or secure) and free of litter?
  • Do they have groups of manageable size?
  • Do they have a scholarship program, subsidies or sliding fee scale?
  • Do they have enough heat, light and ventilation?
  • Do they have any pets? If so, are they properly trained or penned, and have they had all their appropriate shots?
  • Do they have safe transportation for field trip with seat belts and car seats used?
  • Do they have a nap or resting area, depending on ages and needs or the children?
  • Do they have cots for children through age five?
  • Do they have nutritious meals and snacks that meet your preferences about the types of food you want your child to  eat?
  • Do they have enough adults to give attention to all of the children in care?
  • Are the children able to play quietly and actively indoors and out?
  • Are the children able to play alone at times and with friends at other times?
  • Are the children able to follow a schedule that meets their need for routine, but is flexible enough to meet the different
  • needs of each child?
  • Are the children able to use materials and equipment that help them learn new physical skills, develop muscular
  • control and get exercise?
  • Are the children able to learn to get along, to share and to respect themselves?
  • Are the children able to learn about their own and others cultures through art, music, books, songs, games and other  activities?
  • Are the children able to visit nearby places of interest, such as the park, library, fire station or museum?
  • Are the children able to play with many different toys and equipment that enable them to use their imaginations? (For
  • example: books, musical instruments)
  • Are the children able to choose their own activities for at least part of the day?

Does the person who will be caring for your child:

  • Treat your child as capable and fun to be around?
  • Have a willingness to adapt toys and activities to the needs of your child?
  • Seem to have extra effort and patience to give to your child?
  • Have a willingness to work with you and any other agencies or medical personnel involved in the care of your child?
  • Have facilities to accommodate your child?

The following questions are unique to infant care:

  • Is there a diaper changing area with a washable surface, and is it sanitized regularly?
  • Are hands washed before and after feeding and diapering?
  • Are bottles, nipples and toys kept clean?
  • Are food and formula served at the right temperature?
  • Are unused formula and food refrigerated and labeled or discarded when no longer fresh?
  • Are babies changed promptly when diapers are wet or soiled?
  • Are babies cleaned thoroughly during diaper changes?
  • Is a separate crib, portrait or playpen provided for each infant?