If you are a new daycare provider, it may be stressful getting everything ready before you get your first clients. From setting up your space to getting materials needed, every single bit of your business needs to be in tip-top shape before moving on. But when you do get your first parent and child, there are quite a few questions that you should ask before taking care of their child. Though trust me, it’s not too much to remember!
Generally, the most important questions daycare providers should ask are:
- Does your child have any food allergies or dietary restrictions?
- Does your child have any medical problems or health conditions?
- Who are the primary and secondary emergency contacts?
- Has your child been inoculated?
Also these important questions, there are many just as important questions that you should ask every parent.
More Important Questions to Ask Parents
While you may believe that you know all there is to know when taking in new clients, there are so many more questions that you should undoubtedly ask. From my own experience, there are definitely numerous questions that I consider to be required, and they are:
Does your child have any mental health conditions?
While the parent may choose not to answer this question, this is extremely important information to have for your staff. Their child may encounter things such as panic attacks, anxiety attacks, and other types of problems involving their mental health. By knowing what exactly is affecting them, your staff members can easily handle the problem in the best way possible. Not only will this get you a better standing with your potential clients, but it will undoubtedly help in the future if you have any kids that are a handful!
Are there any religious needs for your child?
Sometimes, there might be religious requirements for your potential client. This can range from dietary restrictions such as no pork or no meat and can really affect what you can provide certain days if they need meals. This will not only be an important question to show how much you care for every child that comes in the door, but it also helps your standing with their parents as it proves that you truly look at every single detail before taking in your child.
Additionally, it’s a great question just in case they have any specific need for their religion such as prayer time for older kids or, if your daycare is more religious than others, to ensure that your potential client is right for your daycare.
Who will be picking up your child?
This is absolutely one of the most important questions on this list. To avoid potential mishaps and other problems, asking the client which individuals are authorized to pick up their child is key. If you don’t ask this question, you can leave yourself open to numerous liabilities. It’s best to ensure that you have a check-in and check-out counter, too. Without a doubt, this may be one of my personal top questions to ask parents.
On what schedule will your child be at our daycare?
This question is extremely helpful for your staff and your business. By knowing which days are busier than others, it can help you know when you need more staff or who might be more effective for certain days. Some staff may be more effective with fewer children, while others may thrive in a busy environment. The only way to know for sure is to have a master schedule with every single child’s schedule.
Another point of questioning could be holidays that your child will not be scheduled for daycare. It may also be important to make your parent aware of any cancellation policies at this point, such as a 24-hour cancellation policy so you can inform your staff in adequate amounts of time.
Has your child been in daycare before?
This is extremely important to ask. It can help your staff to adjust their expectations for the new kids as some of them may be worried about leaving their parents for the first time or not knowing how to act in a daycare setting. Some children may adjust easily, while others may have a very difficult time.
Has your child been in juvey or other similar circumstances?
This may not be a problem for younger kids, but for older kids, this is an important question to ask. This may not be so much as a problem for their child, but for other clients, this could be a point of concern. Keep in mind that the parent may not have to answer this, but it is good to know no matter what, especially if problems arise from this child.
This may also help your staff prepare for any behavioral problems and adjust the way they take care of their child accordingly.
Are there any family problems that the daycare needs to know?
Sometimes, children may act out for seemingly no reason at your daycare. It is important to know any familial problems as they may play a role in why the child is acting poorly or distant in daycare. Tell your staff to keep an eye on these children as they may need additional help either from your staff or maybe even an in-house counselor if your daycare provides this.
Check out our questions every daycare should know the answer to HERE!
Questions that You May Be Asked in an Interview
There are several questions that you may also be asked during this interview. It’s important to have the answers prepared before you’re caught in a position that may be awkward. After all, it’s important to show your potential client that you know what you’re talking about. This could be a way for their friends or other family members to come to you for daycare!
What licenses or education do you have?
This is probably the most obvious question you will be asked. If you are an approved daycare, this should be no problem to answer. But it may be useful to show what kinds of certifications your staff has, and if applicable, what you are approved for and to do. If you don’t have a license, first of all, you’re probably not operating legally under your state, but if you’re not sure of the education you have or more certifications that you should get before, now would be the best time to make sure everything is up to date.
Do you perform background checks on your staff?
This is also a question that you will undoubtedly be asked. If you’re running your business properly, you’ll want to avoid hiring staff members that have a history of abuse or being involved in dangerous activities, as their children could potentially be harmed. You should be already doing this, but it’s a question that you should be prepared to answer immediately and without hesitation. You don’t have to run background checks on your staff, but you definitely should.
How do you keep your daycare safe?
This is another question that will surely be asked. Intruders could target your daycare for any number of reasons, so security is an important thing to keep in mind. This could range from fences to make sure children don’t run off, locks on doors for your daycare, alarm systems, and maybe even child locks for certain cabinets or drawers.
This may also be a time to take a look at your daycare and assess what may need to be updated to keep your daycare as safe as possible. After all, you’re taking care of their children. Make sure that they’re kept as safe as possible!
Do you or any of your staff know CPR?
CPR is so important to know. If a child collapses, it could mean the difference between life or death. By knowing CPR, not only do you increase the chances that your potential client hires your daycare services, but it also could save a life.
Where should I conduct interviews or other conferences?
Having a reserved room specifically for interviews and parent conferences is ideal. It should be professional but also friendly if their child has to join then. Keep the space simple. Make sure you have natural light, too, as this can make the space much more friendly.
What other things should I do in interviews or conferences?
When you’re conducting conferences or interviews, you may want to prepare yourself like you would any other- reviewing the questions you’re going to ask and prepare yourself accordingly. If you have a profile of the child you may admit making sure you review it, as this may provide vital information.
What if I don’t want to accept a client after asking them questions?
The most important thing to keep in mind is to know that you don’t have to accept any clients if you’re not able to take care of them. You are within your power to deny any applicants because of the interview. When rejecting, make sure you are friendly but professional.
Please note: This blog post is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please consult a legal expert to address your specific needs.
To learn more on how to start your own daycare checkout my startup course and documents here.