Do you interview parents or do they just interview you?

There is an enormous amount of  information out there for parents on what to look for in a child care, and what questions to ask. Because of this parents have become very savvy to what can be expected in a good quality child care program.  I love seeing, parents come in with a notebook or list of questions.  It makes my day, and I know that these parents could be someone I want to work with.  There is little to no information out there for family child care teachers, providers and owners on what to look for in a good parent.

When I interview parents, I have a process, it is well rehearsed and practiced.  I want to be in control of the situation and come off as professional and  comfortable as possible.  I don’t have a sheet of questions that I fill out or notebook I take notes in, some do.  I go through my interview, and yes I mean my interview not theirs, with questions throughout the process.

Before the interview, you have already gotten some basic information.  Here is a list of information and questions to get in the 40 minutes to an hour it takes for the interview.  I am a talker, mine take about an hour.

  • Has your child been in day care before?
  • How long? and how many child cares situations? Grandpa & Grandma, centers, other family child care providers, etc.
  • Why are you seeking child care?
  • What is your working schedule? Will there be a problem with your child being picked up by closing time?
  • What is your emergency back up care plan?
  • Does your child have special needs based on religious or health issues?
  • Are there any food restrictions?
  • Are there any activity restrictions?
  • Will you be able to take part in our in our special events, activities or field trips.
  • What are your expectations of a child care provider?
  • Who will be making payments?
  • Are you willing to sign a contract?
  • Tell me a little about your family?
  • What is your night-time schedule like?
  • Does your child live with both parents? One parent and visits another?
  • Does your child have siblings?
  • What does your child love to do?
  • What struggles do you have with your child?
  • How would you describe your child temperament?
  • What general observations can you give me about your child’s development?
  • May I have names of references or former child care providers?

These are just some questions, that can be asked during your interview process.  I do recommend that if you get nervous in these situations that you practice.  It may seem silly, but it is very helpful. Also, it is okay to end the interview with ” I have a couple more interviews, can I get back to you with my decision by?” Now, I know that filling spots is important, and you want to do it quickly.   Trust me, it will cost you more in the long run, to enroll a family that you are not quite sure of and be repeating the interview process all over again in a couple of weeks.

This is your business, run by you.  Getting a family that is a good fit, is important, and asking the questions during the interview process is critical.  I want my families around a long time, and these questions help me to make the tough decisions during the interview.

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One thought on “Do you interview parents or do they just interview you?

  1. I think it is VERY important to interview the parents for two reasons: it shows that I care and have an interest in their family and I can also detect future issues in how they answer the questions. It’s also interesting to see how each parent answers the questions – there are so many different answers. 🙂


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