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Do you wonder what to do or say when meeting new daycare parents? Check out these 10 tips for interviewing new daycare clients. Get more tips for running a home daycare here.
First impressions can last a lifetime. After seeing the outside of your home, the daycare interview is the next first impression parents have of the care you provide for kids.
Personally, I do a series of interviews in order to make sure each family is the perfect fit for me and I am perfect for them. I have been in business for over 20 years and during that time, this process has served me well.
Child care interview questions
I ask each family to let me come to their home and over the years many people have declined my services because of this request. I find it weeds out potential problems for the future.
If they are not interested in investing some time in the process, I’m not interested in providing care for them. I’m not coming to judge or see what they have, I don’t care. I’m coming to get to know their child.
Take the childcare interview seriously and be professional. Take some time to prepare for meeting your potential clients. Get your paperwork in order. Tidy up if you need to. I don’t tidy up too much because I don’t want my parents to be disappointed later when they see how it really is around here. Being yourself is one of the most important daycare interview tips I can give you!
The first interview is over the phone. We discuss the rest of the process. I ask questions about the child such as age, siblings, needs, expectations, and tell them rates, location, hours, and my expectations. During this conversation, we schedule a time for them to come here.
I request they come here during hours the children are here and I ask them not to come during nap or meals. That leaves from 9-11 in the morning or after snack to closing in the evening. Parents need to see the environment and what I have to offer during the initial daycare interview.
I want them to see how children interact with each other and how I interact with the children. The kids need to see that it’s fun here and we have toys and we play and learn but we also listen and be nice. My childcare is very structured because I think kids need structure and I KNOW I need it.
Daycare interview questions
During this daycare interview, I give the parents a paperwork packet that includes my contract, policies, DHS information form, food program enrollment form, daycare menu, flyers I’m required to give them, and a permission slip for basic first aid such as band-aids, Neosporin, lotion, mosquito repellant, or whatever I want to have written permission to use on the children.
I let them know I will ask first before I use those things, but I do have written permission to do so when they say it’s okay.
Have parents complete all paperwork before the next meeting. They take this packet with them and fill it out at home. During this meeting, we set up a time for me to visit them at home and I ask them to have the paperwork as well as a copy of the child’s shot records ready for me to pick up.
I tell them they can bring me a big bag of diapers and wipes instead of bringing a bag each day, and I need a change of clothes to keep here as well. We talk about napping routines, our schedule, and any food allergies or special information I need to know.
When I meet them at their home, it helps me to gain an understanding of their lifestyle and parenting style. It also helps me to connect with the child by meeting their pets or seeing their favorite toy. In addition, it is very helpful for separation anxiety because it shows the child their parents trust me to come into their home and play with them.
Another one of the important daycare interview tips is to connect with the child. I try to read them a book or play in their room with their toys with them for just a bit and then spend some time talking to the parents about any questions or needs they may have.
Then we decide whether or not we think it will be a good fit and plan a starting date if so. I also require both parents to come to at least one of the meetings so I can meet both the mom and dad. If an alternate person will regularly pick up the child, I like to meet them first or at least see a photo of them.
Questions for daycare
Below are some daycare interview questions I ask when meeting potential clients to gain a better understanding of the parents and the child:
- When do they usually nap and eat?
- What are some of their favorite foods?
- Do they sleep with a stuffed animal?
- What do they sleep in at home?
- What is a typical meal for them at home?
- Do they like outside time or inside time better?
- How much TV do they watch at home (some children are nervous here because they are used to the TV always being on at home and we don’t do that here, so I like to know ahead of time so I can work with them to handle the change)
- What is their favorite thing to play with at home?
- Do they have siblings?
- Are they potty trained?
- What’s their favorite color?
- Are they a good eater?
- How long do they nap?
- Has the child been in daycare before?
- Do they have any health issues or food allergies?
There are many other daycare interview questions that would be great to ask, and if you’re a parent, I also have a list of questions to ask the daycare provider during the interview here. Sometimes it’s hard to know what you should be asking about.
Make sure you highlight all of your interests and beliefs about what children need and what you strive to provide. They don’t know where your heart is unless you tell them.
For instance, if you serve all homemade food, it’s great to bring that up. If you do yoga with the kids to help with rowdy behavior or have a magic touch with potty training, now is the time to let them know. You have unique qualities to offer a family, make sure to highlight them when you are getting to know the family.
The number one most important daycare interview tip is BE YOURSELF. Parents can tell if you’re being honest or not. I have heard this complaint from parents over and over again about other childcare providers. They feel they are not genuine.
When interviewing new daycare clients, I tell parents about our schedule, what kind of meals I prepare, my discipline procedures, and what type of activities we do. My unique skills, beliefs, and day to day procedures are what make me the provider I am. Like I said before, if I don’t tell new families, they won’t know. They need to understand what to expect.
My contract states children will be exposed to animals since we have 4 cats. Also, we talk about God. I don’t want any misunderstandings. I have kept children from pagan and atheist homes and it worked out fine for us.
The parents signed the contract knowing we love Jesus here and I didn’t interfere with their ways of dealing with it. I have also kept children who were violently allergic to cats. In those cases, we made adjustments for their health. Click here for more information about contracts and policies.
This is the best method for interviewing new daycare clients I have found over the years to have success in my business. In addition, my contract states the first two weeks of care is a trial period for everyone involved so if it doesn’t work out, everyone is free to go their separate ways.
Not everyone will like your style of care and you will not get along with every family. Spending time to get to know people does help you avoid a lot of problems in the future. I wouldn’t do care without that time. Click here for more daycare advice to help you run your business well.
If you have any suggestions of things you do to make your business run more smoothly, please mention them in the comment section. I’d love to hear about them!
New to daycare? Need help? Check out how to start and run a successful home daycare business. And check out the home daycare regulations that everyone needs to start with here.