Finding the perfect daycare for your infant is one of the most important things any new parent needs to accomplish. Not only does the infant care have to be the best, but all aspects of the school have to make you feel comfortable. When you drop off your baby each morning, you want to leave feeling confident and relaxed that your baby will be receiving the love, nurture and care he needs.

When checking out a daycare, the following questions should help make your decision easier.

Daycare Interview Checklist

When you call for an appointment, does the director speak to you?
Does the director keep you waiting more than a few minutes when you arrive?
Does the director give you all the time you need to talk about the program, and answer all your questions?
Does she show you the school’s Mission Statement?
Does she give you a booklet containing information about the school?
Will she supply you with references?
At first glance, does the daycare look clean?
Does it smell clean?
Is the daycare licensed by the state?
Is the license posted? If no, why not?
Can anyone walk into the daycare anytime?
Does the daycare do a background check before hiring a teacher?
Do the teachers have extensive experience?

The Infant Room

Is the infant room clean?
Are the electric outlets covered?
Do the cabinets have childproof locks on them?
Do you see any cleaning spray bottles sitting on the counters?
Do you see anything that would be dangerous lying around in baby’s reach?
Are the counters clean and uncluttered?
Are the diaper changing tables clean?
Are there gloves available for diaper changing?
Is there a crib for each baby?
Are the cribs in good condition? (Test to see that they are not wobbly or have any loose screws).
Are there enough high chairs or a feeding table for mealtimes?
Are there enough swings, exersaucers, bouncy seats, teething toys, strollers, etc. available for the babies?
Is the above equipment in good condition?
Are the toys and equipment age-appropriate?
Are the toys and equipment cleaned with bleach water each day?
Is there a bin to put dirty toys that are used during the day? (For dropped toys or toys that other babies chew on).
Is there happy music playing or lullabies if it is naptime?
Is there a fire exit door with a sign posted above it?
Does the room look like a place that your baby could have fun, explore and blossom?
Do you have an overall good feeling about the room?


Is there one childcare provider for every four babies ?
Do the same caregivers take care of the babies each day?
Do different teachers come in for the late shift (3-6pm)?
Do they have CPR and first aid certification?
Are the caregivers friendly and eager to tell you about themselves and the program?
Do the caregivers act in a professional manner?
Do the caregivers look clean and neat, and are they dressed appropriately?
Are the caregivers warm and responsive to your baby when you visit?
Do they know what to do if a baby is choking?
Do they tell you about the daily activities?
Do they take the babies outside, play music, do tummy time, etc.?
Do they have specialists that come in for music, movement and other activities?
Do they send home daily reports?
Do they want to know your baby’s schedule at home?
Do they want to know how you soothe your baby when he is irritable or crying?
Is there an illness policy?
Are there conferences or just daily check-ins?

Some other questions to consider:

  • Are you allowed to talk directly with the teacher by phone or just the director if you need to call?
  • What are their rules for visiting your baby at school?
  • What is the policy for drop-off and pick-up?
  • If someone else needs to pick up your baby, do they need a special card, password, driver’s license, etc.?
  • Do they use the same substitutes all the time (so they know the babies and their schedules)?

If you think you like the daycare, drop in unannounced. Call with any questions before you make a decision. If you get the cold shoulder or you feel like they are too busy and you are unimportant, find another daycare. Once your child is enrolled, if you are told you can’t visit anytime, find another daycare. If the facility looks, smells or feels dirty, find another daycare. If the caregivers are dressed inappropriately, find another daycare. If the staff seems unhappy and not having fun, find another daycare.

If you feel great about the daycare, then sign the papers. But if something feels amiss, even if you can’t figure out what it is, go with your gut feeling as it is usually right! Above all, you want to be able to enjoy watching your baby blossom in their new environment and feel good that you made the right decision.

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