Tips for Interviewing Providers
Plan to interview more than one caregiver. Here are some tips you might use in your interview:
- Ask the caregiver if you can spend some time with her for part of the day.
- Observe children in care. Are they competitive, happy, task oriented and/or active? Your child will often adopt the behaviors of the group.
- Meet all the people who are often in the home during caregiving hours. Lunch or supper times are recommended. This way you will see a good representation of family, number of children in care, etc.
- Ask for a tour of the home. Note safety concerns. Ask about house rules and discipline.
Here is a list of questions you might consider asking. This list does not reflect everyone’s priorities. You may have a different list of questions. When you interview a potential caregiver, know what you are looking for and why.
What is you most popular lunch for children? What kinds of snacks do you serve? How often? What are your expectations at meal times?
How have you child proofed your home? What are your plans for handling food allergies, sickness, fire, injuries, emergency situations
**Assess environment from your child’s eyes and developmental needs – is it safe for your child? Is she/he willing to change it? How?
Health and Hygiene
Does anyone smoke in the house? Do the children the children wash hands before meals and after toileting? Does she know the signs of infectious diseases, signs of of serious illness, e.g dehydration? Does each child have his/her own toothbrush, cup, towel, face cloth bedding? How clean is her home? Watch her toileting and diapering procedures. Are her children immunized? When are children excluded from care?
What do you enjoy doing most with the children? How do you play with the children? What types of activities do you try to do everyday with the children? How do you choose activities, ie by age, child chooses? When do you do house work? Are children involved in the house work? How would you use this room when caregiving? What are your daily routines? Weekly routines? how do you plan your day? What would you do on a rainy day with a _____ year old?
Outings: Where do you go? How often? How long? How do you travel? Do you have proper child care restraints?
T.V How much T.V / Video is allowed? Do you control the programs the children watch? are any programs not allowed? Do you watch t.v with the children?
Crafts: How do you feel about messy play, water/paint/sand/mud? What kinds of crafts would you do with a _____ year old?
Excercise: Where are the active play areas – inside/outside (especially in winter)?
What do you do when a child misbehaves? How do you handle temper tantrums, fighting refusal to share, extreme activities, destruction of toys, foul language etc? What do you do when you become angry with a child?
NOTE: Look for a rage in methods which are appropriate to age/development level of child and the child’s individual needs and personality. Observe how she/ he reacts to her own children and children in care ie., does she/he try to understand the situation from their perspective?
Get her to describe her own children in care (does she/he view them as individuals, does she/he speak warmly and positively? How has she/he tried to develop their sense of self-esteem?) Discuss any concerns you may have concerning separation anxiety.
NOTE: What is her tone and manner with the children? Does she/he show physical affection – does she/he hold baby during feeding? Does she/he put their needs before your in interview? Does she/he approach your child slowly, warmly at child’s level? Does she/he respond appropriately to child? Does she/he accept a child as she/he is? Does she/he maintain eye contact, smile at your child, ask to hold your child when child is ready?
Your Expectations and Caregivers Expectations of Parents
Be clear about what your child needs and you need – be honest with yourself and caregiver. Describe your child giving positive and negative feedback.
What does the caregiver expect of parents? Does she/he accept your cultural, family or religious values? Do you accept hers/his?
NOTE: What kind of relationship do you want e.g. friend professional nurturing figure?
Basic Administrative Details
What are the usual hours of care? What fees are charged for full-time, part-time before and after school, daily weekly and hourly care? How (cash/cheque) and when are fees to be paid? What is the penalty for early drop-off and late pick-up? What is the arrangement for P.A. days and vacation (required notice, fees)? What happens when the caregiver is sick (notification alternate care, fees)?
Who is responsible for arranging alternate care? Who can drop-off and pick up my child(ren)? How much notice of termination is required if the parent/caregiver is terminating childcare services? should notice be verbal or in writing?
What is the total number of children the caregiver provides care for? At anyone time? What are the children’s ages ? Will their be more children introduced into the caregiving situation? what age(s)? When?
What is the best way to communicate with your caregiver? When? How often?
Will my child’s progress be discussed? When?
Be sure to see the caregivers way of dealing with any other children she/he has in care. Have her spend some time with your child. Notice your child’s reactions. Note how the caregiver responds to your child.
The following check list may be helpful in choosing a caregiver:
- Do you like he/his personality, ie, sense of humour, friendly, calm, etc?
- Do you think your child will enjoy being with her/him?
- Does the caregiver plan age appropriate, fun activities?
- Does she/he seem well organized and confident about her/his job?
- Could a child understand and follow her/his rules and routines?
- Do you both agree on basic child rearing issues – discipline, toilet training etc.?
- Observe the caregiver with your child or the other children in her care. Does she/he give the children in her care positive individual attention? does she/he have a good sense of what children are able to do at different stages of development? Does she/he patiently help children solve their problems? Does she/he provide material and equipment to interest you child? Does she/he encourage your child to express him/herself? Is she/he a good listener? Does she/he help your child get along with others?
You are dealing with a person and individual. The caregiver may not meet all your requirements. Choose someone you feel will like you child, who you can trust, and who offers the best caregiving situation to best meet our family’s needs.
Compliment of The Ontario Early Years Centre – Leeds and Grenville