Interviewing a Child Care Provider — 8 Questions to Ask to Keep Your Child Safe

toddler doing an art project with a teacher in a mask

You want to find the best child care option for your child while ensuring health and safety. Choosing a provider is a major decision under normal circumstances; finding child care during a pandemic means there are a whole host of additional things to consider and evaluate. Whether you’re interviewing a private nanny, occasional sitter, or child care center, ask these eight questions.

  1. What COVID-19 protocols do you have in place?

    If you’re looking at a child care center, be sure to ask questions that will make you feel more comfortable, such as:

    • Do you perform daily health screens — including temperature checks — on parents, children, and staff?
    • Are teachers and staff required to wear masks?
    • Are group sizes reduced and kept consistent?
    • Does the center have specific cleaning, sanitizing, and hand-washing practices throughout the day and after the center closes each night?

    And if you’re considering a private provider, gauge their stance on all of the above, too.

     

  2. Do you have current first aid and CPR training certifications? 

    When it comes to finding child care that you trust, you’ll want to double check that the provider holds first aid and CPR certifications, and that they’re renewed on a regular basis. Just in case the unthinkable happens, you want your child to be in good, capable hands.

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  4. How do you handle cleaning and sanitizing? 

    Today, these two practices are critical. Nannies and sitters don’t typically handle housekeeping duties, but they should be willing to clean up anything that happens under their watch (think: spilled liquids, any bodily fluids, or any meal-related mess). Plus, you’ll probably want them to disinfect surfaces that they come into contact with while they’re in your home. At a child care center, you’ll want to make sure strict cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting policies are followed for toys, cots, bedding, surfaces, diapering areas and bathrooms, and other things that everyone touches, like doorknobs and light switches. Ask about any additional protocols they’ve implemented in response to the pandemic, and make sure the provider you choose will help teach your child good hygiene practices in an effective and age-appropriate way.

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  6. What are your outdoor policies? 

    When it’s time to go outside, make sure the provider has weather-appropriate policies — your child should have sunscreen on, be dressed for the weather in appropriate clothing and footwear, and have access to shade and drinking water. Plus, you’ll want to make sure physical distancing guidelines are followed — if you’re looking at a center, do they restrict access to outdoor spaces to one group at a time?

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  8. What do you do when a child misbehaves? 

    Find out how the provider handles discipline. All children make mistakes, and you want to ensure the provider uses positive techniques — such as redirection, guidance, conflict resolution, and constructive discussions — that will help prevent problematic behavior in the future.

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  10. How do you address children’s unique needs? 

    Does your child have a severe food allergy? Allergic to bee stings? Your provider should be trained on how to use an EpiPen and other necessary medication, should feel comfortable acting in case of an emergency, and have a solid escalation plan, if necessary.

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  12. Have you ever had to deal with a child care emergency? What did you do? 

    The answer to this question will give you a feel for how the provider might act under pressure in a potentially scary situation. Listen for things like, “called 911,” “called poison control,” “called parents,” “performed the Heimlich maneuver,” and more.

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  14. What is the policy for sick or mildly ill children? 
  15. If your child spikes a fever or gets the stomach bug under the provider’s care, you want to make sure that he or she will be kept comfortable and tended to until you can come home or pick up. Ensure that the provider is willing to administer medication when necessary. What is the child care center’s exclusion policy, for both children and staff, should someone test positive for COVID-19?

    Finding a child care provider who will keep your child healthy and safe is critical for your little one’s wellbeing, and your peace of mind. Ask these eight questions during the interview process to make sure you find a provider you can trust.

Watch: Enhanced Health & Safety Protocols at Bright Horizons

Learn about the enhanced measures we’ve put in places at our centers across the country. And for a full checklist of questions to ask as you evaluate child care, download our health and safety child care checklist for parents.