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10 Questions NOT to Ask When Touring a Child Care Center

As a former Director of a child care center, I thought that choosing child care when I decided to return to work would be a breeze. I’ve spent five years learning every inch of the business so I initially felt confident in choosing a program for my son when the time came. I vowed to myself that I would only take one year off from my career and that twelve month mark is approaching more quickly than I expected. As I prepare to return to work, I’m left with one small question. What comes first, the career or the child care?

After sending out a few of my freshly written, very impressive resumes (if I do say so myself), it occurred to me that some of these people might actually consider me for a position. If that happens, I want to be prepared to get Greyson enrolled in a day care program so that I don’t have to turn down my inevitable dream job that I just KNOW is out there waiting for me.

The easiest and most natural solution to my day care concern would obviously be to enroll Greyson in the center in which I used to work. However, I don’t know the new Director and I don’t want to take the easy way out. Plus, it might be fun to spend some time on the other side of the spectrum here. I worked two long ass years touring prospective parents and putting up with some really outrageous questions and requests. I want my turn to do the same.

I’ve scheduled an appointment to visit a potential day care this afternoon. Fortunately, after giving hundreds of tours to parents looking for child care, I don’t need a printed list of “Questions to Ask When Choosing a Daycare.” However…. I have come up with a fun little list of the most ridiculous things I was asked to throw out there at my tour this afternoon….

1.)    My child is on an organic, soy, dairy free, naturally produced, vegan diet. Can your center provide food to accommodate his diet?

2.)    My son will need to be held during all his naps because that’s what he’s used to. Will there be an extra teacher available to do that for him?

3.)    I only use cloth diapers and I need my baby’s diaper to be changed every half hour. The dirty diapers will need to be bagged and stored in the classroom for me to take home to wash. Can you do that? The smell won’t bother you guys, right?

4.)    My child is allergic to almost everything. He will need to avoid any classrooms/outdoor areas/foods that might expose him to peanut butter, milk, sunscreen, bees, sun, medications, fruit, dust, eggs, wheat, soy, tree nuts, seafood, diaper cream, and scented wipes. Can you accommodate that?

5.)    My husband and I work very long hours so we will most likely be picking up our child after the hour that you close on a regular basis. Will there be a teacher available to stay with our child on the days that we are late?

6.)    I’m a work at home mother so I don’t want to enroll for any particular schedule. I want to drop my son off a few days a week for a couple of hours here and there when I have a lot of work to do. Is that ok with you?

7.)   My company is really inflexible with personal time, so even if my son is extremely ill and running a fever, he will need to attend day care. Do you have an issue with that?

8.)    My son is only 15 months, but he is extremely smart. He’s practically reading. I think when we enroll him at 18 months old, he’ll be too advanced for the toddler room. He should probably skip the toddler room and just enter the three year old preschool class. Want to hear him recite his ABC’s?

9.)    We are leaving our current day care because our son was bitten twice by another child and came home with a bruise on his shin. Can you guarantee that he will never get bitten, hit, or pushed by a child at your center? Or receive any other bumps or bruises for that matter?

10.) My son only wears expensive, designer clothing so I’d prefer him not to get dirty at all. No paint, dirt, glue, food stains, etc. You get my point. Do you think that’s possible?


If you asked any of these questions when you toured a day care center, the answer is that you need a nanny. If the Director of the day care we are visiting this afternoon can answer these without missing a beat, we’ll be signing up on the spot. Wish her luck!





  1. I think what you say here is so true. Parents can be quite demanding when they only consider the needs of their child and not of the child care program as a whole. I bet you really surprised that school director with your line of questions. Hope they understood your sarcasm. Great Blog!!

    • Caitlin says:

      Brad – I wish I asked some of those crazy questions!!! I talk a big game when I’m sitting at my computer, but sadly, I’m (almost always) polite and friendly in person. I did notice a few state regulation violations though….. I wanted to mention those too, but I held my tongue 🙂 Needless to say, I’m still looking for child care. (And a job, of course). Thanks for your comments!! – Cait

  2. earleyml says:

    Oh my! The biting question had me shaking my head. I have two kids (4 and 1) and in July my 1 yr old was asked to leave the center we were in because she was biting almost daily and a parent threatened to sue the center. We’ve been at a new center for about a month now and my daughter has biten once. Obviously this other kid was provoking my kid or she wasn’t receiving the care she need. Anyway, I feel sorry for that little boy seems to me that his parents are WAY to overprotective.

    • I totally get it! Biting is such a tough thing, for parents on BOTH ends of the situation. I’m sure it was hard for you to try to handle that when you aren’t there to see what exactly was going on. I actually had a few parents that wanted me to guarantee that their child would never get bitten. Unfortunately, biting is a totally common, normal behavior that occurs in every single day care classroom from one time to another. It just can’t be avoided! While no one wants their child to be hurt, the fact of the matter is that toddler bite sometimes. If it is something that is continuously happening, then the day care needs to take a look at their classroom environment and figure out why it’s occurring. I’m so glad to hear your little girl is doing so well in her new center. Sounds like they know what they are doing 🙂

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