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After giving birth to my daughter I began my search for a child care provider. This proved to be an extremely difficult task. One that had me second guessing my judgement, and choice to return to work. Throughout my search for a reliable care giver, I found that there are numerous points to consider. Many parents know the typical questions that should be asked, but I have put together a list of some questions that should always be asked as well.

Regarding Fees and Basic Info:
*Do I pay when my child is absent?
*What is your policy on illness and caring for children? (Provider's family illnesses and daycare children's.)

Personal Info.
*What is your background/education in child care? Are you licensed?
*Do you have CPR certification? Would you be willing to take a class in CPR? (Always be willing to pay for the class, and ask to see certificate!)
*Have you ever dealt with an emergency? What did you do? How did you handle the other children?
*References!!!(Past and present... I recommend contacting all parents that she/he currently provides for, as well as 4 of her/his past employers.
*If pets are in the home, get records that shots are up to date.

*How are meals handled? Where do they eat? Are you always present during meals? What are reasons you might leave children unattended during meals?
*Do you have a routine for kids? What is your normal day like?
*How often do you change diapers?
*How often are T.V. and video games used?
*Do you read to the kids regularly?
*Do you ask kids to help with clean up?

*Nap time- is there a required rest period? Where do kids nap?
*Potty training-When does sitter feel it should start?
*How do you discipline kids?
*What would you do if a child became verbally or physically abusive to you? To the other children?

*How many kids have left in the past year? Why?
*Will you be taking kids in a car for any reason? (If so, you should always be notified when they leave and return.)
*How often are toys/bedding disinfected? (should be every day!!)

Never underestimate your intuition. As you are speaking with the provider, pay careful attention to the following:
*Open communication? Are they just telling you what you want to hear?
*How other kids interact?
*How provider and your child act towards each other?
*Home safety? Sockets covered, gates up, appropriate toys, etc.

In addition, you should always be given a tour of the home. If they don't offer, ask to see all of the rooms that a child could possibly enter. A provider of mine had loose electrical wires in an upstairs room. She assured me kids were never up there, but there was no gate to the stairs, and the door had no outside lock. Make sure provider knows that no one is allowed to pick up your child without your verbal AND written authorization. Make sure your child will never be left in someone else's care without your permission. Always get a short report on the activities/happenings of the day, when picking up your child. And pay careful attention to your children, and any behavior changes. Last, but not least, ALWAYS have a written contract covering all aspects and requirements of care.