Tag Archives: interview

Cyber Monday Deal on Baby Signing Time

daycare-babyOne of the most frustrating things to both parents and their children is not being able to communicate properly. It takes children years to learn how to talk. As a parent you don’t have to wait years to learn to communicate with your child. How do you talk to those that can’t? Through sign language of course!

Sign language is something that your baby, even an infant can learn to use. It is comprised of basic motions and movements which are much easier for your baby to learn then a speaking language. Using sign language to communicate with your baby is a great way to ease much of the frustrations that come with early parenting and your child’s early years. Parents are able to ask infants basic questions aabout what they need and why they are sad. Infants are able to tell you want they want and when they need it.

Teaching children sign language before they can speak can have a profound impact on the rest of their life.   By enabling early communication, building vocabulary and building a strong relationship with your child during the first three years, you are helping your child to develop the foundation for language and learning that will benefit them for the rest of their lives. Teaching sign language helps you to do this.   There is a growing body of research that suggests that signing has many benefits, including:

  • Strengthens parent/child bonds
  • Enables early language, vocabulary & expression
  • Reduces frustration and tantrums
  • Helps parents to be more observant and responsive
  • Promotes positive emotional development
  • Builds confidence and self esteem

Sign language is something that can and should be transferred over to your daycare provider. In fact many daycare providers already know and use sign language. If the teaching and use of sign language is used at home and at daycare you will see dramatic a dramatic increase of your baby using it.

Baby Signing Time has some great holiday deals going right now and there isn’t a better time to get started. This would make an amazing gift for any parent, grandparent and daycare provider.

Holiday Special!! For A Limited Time Only, Save 35%
Holiday Special!! For A Limited Time Only, Save 35%

I have used sign language with my children and it has helped dramatically in trying to calm upset infants. It works great to know if they are hungry, thirsty, or tired. It really is amazing how well it works. I know it has surprised many parents, it did me, that their tiny little infant has much more to say about the world around them then you ever knew. Sign language helps them to say these things. When parents use this at home and their daycare providers use sign language it can really help make the first few years before they learn to speak much better. It gives them a head start on learning, and gives parents, daycare providers and anyone else taking care of your children more tools to insure they are taken care of well.


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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.)

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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.

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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.

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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
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