Daycare's Drop-Off Policy

Parent Q&A

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  • I recently started taking my daughter to an in-home daycare.  I have no reason to question the providers.  When touring, the place was immaculate and well setup for daycare.

    That being said, I find it odd that their drop-off policy is to meet at the gate.  I hand over my daughter to the provider, they lock the gate, and walk up to the house and go inside.  In short, we do not see the interior of the home on a regular basis.

    There are sound logistical reasons why it'd be a hassle to have each parent come passed the gate and into the home for each I get it.  But it does feel strange from a parental-due-diligence perspective.

    Is this a common practice?  What is your experience with drop-off at your in-home daycare?  Do you get to see inside the home?



    When my child went to an in-home daycare, we dropped him off inside the house, like the foyer. I would find it very concerning to never see the actual daycare rooms as you describe.

    We utilize an in home daycare- at drop off, we go up to the door and hand off the children there. We do not go inside, but can see inside where all the children play. I suppose they could be using the gate as an additional safety measure to make sure no children run out. 

    This was the scenario at our in-home daycare.

    We got to see the interior when we first toured.

    But I can see how they would not have the space to let in multiple parents at the same time, since families would often come in the same time window. This was also the norm for our preschool, and now our kindergarten. It is rare that teachers want parents milling around inside-- having a designated pick up drop off point at the gate makes a lot more sense logistically. 

    3 years ago when my son started in-home daycare before pandemic, I dropped him off at the front door. However, after pandemic started, the owner changed policy that we have to drop him off from the side gate of her back yard. So it's like what you described - we would knock the gate then she will come to unlock/take the baby then lock the gate walk to the house. The owner believes that by doing that it would eliminate all chances for any outside virus to come into her house :). I do not know how efficient that is but I had no problem with that at all. 

    No matter which way it is for dropping off, we never get to see the inside of the home. I stared to drop off my daughter at different in-home daycare last month, so it's the same that we do not get to see the inside. 

    We had several in-home daycares for my kids, and were able to go into the houses at pick-up and drop-off, until the pandemic, when they switched to a gate drop-off. I wonder if this is a post-pandemic reaction, less exposure of all the kids to germs the parents might bring in? My kids have now gone to elementary school, so I don't know what's standard anymore.

    My main concern would be is that they are over-capacity or under-staffed. There was a daycare in my neighborhood that we later found out had twice the number of kids they were licensed to have. They brought the kids to the front door so parents couldn't see how many kids were in the playroom. We had a tour of the place when we were looking for a daycare, but it was after hours, so we saw the space but not while they were open. You can look online to see if your daycare has had any past violations, especially related to how many kids are allowed, and if they have the correct child-to-staff ratio.

    Following this because my daycare is also like this so wondering if this is normal. My daycare even has us notify them when we're 5 minutes away. I know we're supposed to be able to do drop in visits as parents but I don't feel like my daycare would let me do that at all. 

    This is how it is for our at-home daycare. Our older child is in preschool and there is a door code the parents have and we come in and out for drop-off/pick-up as needed, which is really nice. I get that they can't do the same at the daycare for logistical and safety reasons, but I do wish I could go in with my child as it's a very different experience getting to go inside and see everyone in their element even if it's just briefly. We get daily pictures though so I feel like I see the interior that way and it's always very clean. 

    When my kids were in in-home daycare a couple years ago we brought them inside the house to drop off. When they started preschool in 2021, the preschool required us to drop off at the gate for COVID reasons, so I didn’t see their classrooms for the first 6 months. Now we go inside again. 

    We're at a daycare center (not an in-home daycare). We also do gate drop-off where we can't really see inside of the center at all. Our baby is still adjusting to starting daycare, so doing a quick handoff where they can sweep her away before she gets too upset is actually probably the best thing for us right now. That said, it is within your rights as a parent to be able to enter the daycare at any time during normal operating hours. 

    We always walk up to the door of our in-home daycare.

    My in-home daycare provider is similar. She does drop offs and pick ups at the door. You can’t go inside. I’m not a fan of it but I understand that it helps minimize the amount of germs in the space and limits the amount of distraction and chaos pick ups and drop offs can cause 

    Hi J,

    All childcare and providers have their own preferences and the at the gate drop off/pick up does happen.  For me, the only time that I did drop off/pick ups at the door was during the height of the pandemic (as it was recommended by the health department).  During that time I did find that drop off/pick ups were much quicker and easier because I could just focus on the kids and not necessarily also sharing my attention with the parents/grown ups.  However, I still find it to be a wonderful experience to have parents, grandparents, etc come into our home or backyard for drop off/pick ups as the kids, families and myself love to share what we have been doing in the space and connect in our space with the children's primary community (their household grown ups).  

    My suggestion is to ask why this is their procedure to see what their perspective is.  As a parent you should have signed a licensing form LIC 995A FAMILY CHILD CARE HOME NOTIFICATION OF PARENTS’ RIGHTS where you have the right to enter and inspect the family child care home without advance notice whenever children are in care.  In the end follow your gut as you are trusting their care of YOUR child!

    All the best!

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Daycare won't allow drop-off after 9:30am

July 2014

My daughter is 21 months old and is going to a nice and rather expensive daycare. I am seriously thinking of switching her to another place, because one of their rules adds a lot of stress to my life: they do not allow to drop off babies or children of any age after 9:30 am, unless there is a written doctor's note justifying a later drop off. If you are even a couple of minutes late, they turn you away.

Is that a common thing for a daycare, for children under 3? Have you ever seen that rule enforced?

From what I can tell, her daycare doesn't have much of a structure to the day other than lunch, nap and snack, so I'd think that one should be able to drop off their child within an hour or so from lunch. Note that I ALWAYS pick my baby up early, by 4pm (they close at 6 pm). And, my daughter is a super easy baby, and takes no time at all to transition. I literally drop her off with a hug and a kiss, and she toddles off to play with dolls or whatever other toys she decides to play with. She takes naps on her own, without bottle or pacifier, and nobody has to even pat her or touch her at all - she just drops off to sleep. I am not an early person, plus I have another child, so mornings are very hectic, and I often find myself rushing through yellow lights to get my baby to the daycare. We are paying A LOT for the daycare, and while it's not perfect, but there are many pluses, and the biggest one is that it's in the same building as my husband's work, and in walking distance from my work. And, my daughter is totally comfortable there.

-Isn't the daycare supposed to make one's life easier?

I don't consider it ''unreasonable'', but certainly it's not ''flexible''. (My son's preschool continually reminded parents they wanted the kids there by 9... I think I was queen of the 8:55 AM dropoff!) It's their rule, they are clear about it, and it doesn't work for you. This equals, a new daycare for your family. it's really not that big a deal in the scheme of things; after a month or so you'll all get used to the change. As a side note, one family's ''flexibility'' is another family's ''what the heck is up with all these inconsistencies and changes?! my child never knows what to expect each day!'' mom of 2

We attended 1 preschool with similar rule but earlier - they said it was to get parents ready for Elementry (we were supposed to drop our younger one off earlier than the Elementry drop off which was a huge hassle). We left that preschool after about a month for a variety of reasons. We looked at another and it also had a drop off by and we ended up not going there for a variety of reasons - very strict in odd ways. It did not work for us but here is the thing to consider - our preschool was very flexible so from about 8 until noon parents might drop off - and it was disruptive - whether it was a child's difficult transition or it was the parent needing a long teacher check in. If 10 would make a huge difference, and you could commit to it, I might ask about that. If you want a time all over the map - well - I don't think that is ideal either. I've seen it both ways and I think 9:30 is ok... Good luck