Category Archives: 3-Interview

Daycare Car Seat Safety

baby-in-carseatAs a responsible and caring parent, your child’s well-being is foremost on your mind. Car seats play a very important role in keeping your child safe in one of the most dangerous activities they will ever be a part of: riding in a car. Automobile injuries are the leading cause of death for American children ( A recent report, released by the American Academy of Pediatrics and based primarily off of a 2007 study by the University of Virginia, showed that children under two years of age are 75% less likely to sustain a severe injury in a car accident if they are in a rear facing position.

Most parents, as well as daycare centers and private daycares, currently use age as their primary factor when determining how and if a child should be restrained in a car seat. Previous to this study, it was recommended that a child should be in a rear-facing car seat until the age of one year. At one year of age, many children’s car seats are turned around so they can face forward. Turning the child’s car seat around was often a major milestone for parents.

Fisher-price Precious Planet Remote Controlled Music Deluxe Auto Baby
Fisher-price Precious Planet Remote Controlled Music Deluxe Auto Baby

This new study and the suggestion of the American Academy of Pediatrics indicate children are much safer if they are kept in a rear-facing position for one more year. Though the convenience of turning your child around to face forward is tempting, we would urge you to follow the new recommendation. The rear-facing position is much safer for your child in a car accident because their entire body is supported during a crash. Keeping your child in a rear-facing position might even help you avoid crashes since you’ll be less inclined to take your attention from the road by turning around to look at your child.

Since driving is such a normal part of our lives, it’s easy to forget how dangerous it is. Driving is one of the most dangerous things we do, so as responsible parents we need to be sure we are taking every precaution while driving to make sure we are being as safe as possible.

It’s important to address these new findings with your daycare provider. It is likely they already know about them, but it is important to make sure. You may want to ask what kind, if any, policy changes they will be making. Be sure that they are being as safety-minded as any other responsible adult.

Graco Zurich Snugride 32 Infant Car Seat
Graco Zurich Snugride 32 Infant Car Seat

If your daycare provider drives your child anywhere, it is important to know how they are doing this and that they are keeping up with all modern safety precautions. Be sure to also check what kind of car seat they are using for your child. Make sure the car seat is installed correctly and facing the right way. Your child should have an assigned car seat and it should be adjusted correctly for them.

Check to make sure your own accommodations are as safe as possible and that you are setting a good example by wearing your seat belt and talking with your children about car safety. If you teach your children about car safety they can and will police themselves. They may tell you if they did something dangerous or were not strapped in for a short trip.

Remember, as a responsible parent your job is to make sure your child is as safe as possible. It is your responsibility to speak to your daycare provider, change your own habits or inform your nanny of the changes in care for the safety of your child. Make sure you do what you can to ensure a long, happy and healthy life for you and your children.


VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

Daycare Research Spreadsheet


When I first tried to find daycare for my children, I realized how difficult it was to keep track of my findings about each of the daycare providers, and it wasn’t easy to compare the different providers.

I learned so much information as I interviewed them over the phone. There were many questions I asked the daycare providers as I interviewed them on the phone: Does that daycare have a preschool curriculum? Did that daycare have any pets? What was the childcare provider’s discipline style?  Were there any smokers in the house?  What were their hours?  So I created a spreadsheet to track all this information I collected during the phone interviews.  I also collected information from the local United Way and other organizations that had information on daycare providers specific to my area.

Ecosystem Grid Journal
Ecosystem Grid Journal

This tool became invaluable. I realized I could look at different daycare providers at a glance and see which ones fit our needs better.  When I became tired of calling providers, my wife could see where I had left off, call more providers on the list, and fill in the information we needed. It was such a helpful tool for us, I hope that it can help you in your own search for daycare. The spreadsheet includes costs, extra fees, and some of the more common questions you’ll ask. There are also several places for miscellaneous daycare information for any specific questions you may have.

Download the spreadsheet and save it to your computer. Fill out as much detail as you’d like…I would suggest being very detailed.  You need to have enough information on the sheet to make a decision between many daycare providers.  If your notes are too generic it will be difficult to see differences between providers. Specific references to the conversation may jog your memory about the provider.  It is possible that you may need to return to your daycare search sooner than expected. If it hasn’t been long since you started, your spreadsheet will be very helpful to you, and providers who didn’t have openings when you began looking may have an opening six months later.

Make sure to have this spreadsheet open and ready when you start making your phone calls and start investigating the specifics of each daycare provider.  This spreadsheet can be used for preschools, daycare centers, nannies and even babysitters.

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask.  We would also love to hear any feedback you may have, including suggestions about items that we could add or change to make it more useful.

Good luck tracking down your perfect daycare! This extra effort will be well worth the reward of finding the perfect daycare or preschool for you!

Click here to download the spreadsheet. (This does not have any macros in it.)

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

Interviewing the Nanny Candidate

daycare_flower_girlYou’ll need to do 2 or 3 interviews with candidates. The first will be a phone interview with basic information:

  • How many children you have and their ages
  • What hours you need her  to work
  • Whether you need a live-in or live-out nanny
  • The salary you’re offering
  • If she will be the only one supervising the children or if another adult will be in the house
  • What duties you expect her to do around the house
  • What activities you expect her to do with the children
  • If she needs to transport the children in her vehicle or if she will be using your vehicle
  • Holiday pay, vacation pay, sick pay and any other benefits you are offering.

If you are happy with the phone interview, you can ask for a second interview, with just yourself or yourself and your spouse.  During this interview, you’ll get more in-depth:

  • Experience
  • Education
  • Last job (how long it lasted, why she left it)
  • References
  • How long is she planning to stay in this position
  • Discipline philosophy
  • First Aid and CPR training
  • Cooking and dietary needs
  • Does she smoke?
  • Visitors she may have
  • Any hobbies that she may share with the children (example: musical instruments)
  • Personal or religious beliefs

You will need to ask her if it is ok to do a background check, and if she will be driving your children, you probably also want to ask her for a Motor Vehicle Report. She can request this at any local DMV and they will provide it for a fee.

After you’ve checked references and done her background check, you’ll want to have another interview where she meets the children. You can also ask any follow-up questions at this time.  Allow approximately two hours for this so you can watch her interact with your children.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

Finding Quality Daycare is Possible!

daycare_teetertotterOur daycare search was so extensive my husband built a spreadsheet for information regarding who had a spot for our child, how much they charged, their hours, and if they had preschool activities. After visiting or talking to someone, we filled out the “comments” section. This became full of comments such as “5 dogs-very noisy and smelly”; “lit candle within reach of children”; “seems nice, mentions Jesus A LOT”.

Before finding our very close to perfect provider, we had some interesting daycare interviews. One caregiver told us the kids mostly stay in one room in the basement of a bi-level home. She said they watched a movie every day and then cartoons when she was preparing meals or a snack on the upper level. I saw a spacious, railed deck and asked if the kids liked playing on it. She said, “The kids don’t go outside. They’ll stay in the basement”.  One house had an open basement stairway, with no baby gate or door, straight off the playroom area.  I tried to ask her about the stairs, but her teenage son’s music was so loud she didn’t hear my question. My husband called a provider to ask if she had an opening and how much she charged. She assured him over and over again that she didn’t drink very much. Of course, he never asked her about her drinking habits.

Needless to say our children never went to these providers.  We did sign up with a woman who seemed so perfect she seemed too good to be true. We were relieved and happy, and so discouraged from the previous interviews that we ignored many things that were going wrong.  When we couldn’t take any more, we realized we should have started the search again right away, no matter how painful it was. We learned that  you won’t know if the philosophy you discuss in the interview is actually practiced every day until you’ve started. The best way to approach a new daycare situation is in a “probationary” style. Give it a month or two…if you or the children are not comfortable with the new provider, start looking again. Even if your concerns seem vague or petty, listen to your instincts. An open line of communication with your child’s daycare caregiver is a must. If the problems are not resolved, remember that this is a business arrangement, and you have the right to do business with someone else. Also remember that there is someone out there who will be a good match for your family…you just have to keep looking.When we took our children out of that unsatisfactory daycare, we spread the word that we were desperate for a provider, and got a reference for a wonderful, experienced, and loving woman, whose rates were much more reasonable.

Remember, you are the advocate for your child.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

Interview with a Daycare Center or Preschool

magic_tree_2_smallAfter getting some information from the initial contact with the daycare center or preschool (see What to Look for in a Daycare Center or Preschool), you’ll want to visit the location. Remember that a lot of what they do is probably heavily regulated by the State: how they clean, how often, and even what cleaning solution they must use. The caregiver-to-child ratio is also regulated. So when you visit, try to pay attention to the teachers. Do they seem happy and engaged when they are with the children? If you are touring with the director, does the director treat the teachers respectfully? If the daycare center treats their teachers well, the chances are better they will have more patience with the children and the staff turnover will be less. After this initial impression, look around to determine the following:

  • Is the center clean and bright?
  • Are the toys mostly educational?
  • Does the environment seem warm and inviting?
  • Do you see normal safety equipment (fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, baby gates, outlet covers, etc.)?
  • Is the bathroom child-friendly? Are there stools for reaching the sink, is the soap easy to use, and are there potty chairs for potty trainers?
  • Is there an area outdoors for running, jumping, playing? Is there playground equipment?
  • Do the children have naptime? Is the area for naps quiet and dark?
  • Can the provider give you the names and numbers of some parents for referrals?

Most daycare centers and preschools alike will have take home packets with detailed information on the daycare center.  Make sure to scrub through everything they provide and write down any questions you have as you go through the preschool material.  Make sure to follow up with the daycare center about your questions on their documentation.

After you have visited, and feel comfortable, be sure to bring your child to visit.  Pay close attention to their reaction to the visit.  This can be a great indicator of how well your child will do at this daycare center.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

Interviewing with a Daycare Provider

girl_in_grassWhen you visit a potential daycare provider for your child, you don’t necessarily need a checklist. After all, you have already prepared your own home for your baby and you know how to spot the hazards in an environment. When you visit a friend’s house with your child, don’t you automatically move breakables and lit candles out of reach? If you are uncomfortable around someone, trust your parenting instincts. It may take some searching, but you will find someone suitable to take care of your child during the day. Here is some information on what to  look for when you visit the home:

  • Is the house clean?
  • Are the toys mostly educational?
  • What kind of preschool curriculum do they do?
  • Does the environment seem warm and inviting?
  • Do you see normal safety equipment (fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, baby gates, outlet covers, etc.)?
  • Is the bathroom child-friendly? Are there stools for reaching the sink, is the soap easy to use, and are there potty chairs for potty trainers?
  • Is there an area outdoors for running, jumping, playing?
  • If the child will be in the provider’s car, ask about car seats/booster seats
  • Is there enough parking for multiple parents dropping off or picking up children at the same time?
  • Can the provider give you the names and numbers of some parents for referrals?

The daycare should have a handbook. If a daycare seems promising but you’d like to go home and think about it, ask if you can have a copy of the handbook. It should be chock full of specific information including:

  • Fees for picking up the child later than the agreed-upon time
  • When the daycare is closed (holidays and vacations)
  • When the child will be sent home or cannot attend daycare due to sickness (usually a state regulation)
  • How contract termination is handled (how many weeks’ notice is required)

There are other subjects to consider, that are a bit more delicate, and are really more personal preference items:

  • Religion – how does the provider handle Christmas and Easter, for example?
  • What kind of food is served? What is a typical meal?
  • How often do they receive sweets or candy?
  • How much time will they typically spend watching T.V. or movies? What kind of programming will they watch when they do watch something?
  • What role does music/art/science play in the daycare?

Check into your state’s rules and regulations regarding insurance in the case of a car accident. In some states the owner of the car insurance must carry Personal Injury Protection insurance that will pay for your child’s injuries. In some states, your child must be covered under a health insurance plan, but the provider’s liability insurance may pay for the child’s injuries.

Interviewing with a Provider
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)