If you choose to send your baby to a daycare, there are a lot of things you’ll need to investigate.
Choosing a daycare is hard! in this video I’m going to tell you how we went about the process of choosing a daycare and how we picked the one we use now as well
First a few tips about finding a daycare.
The number one thing is you want to start looking early daycare is fill up fast and you will want to be on waiting list so if you can start as soon as you get pregnant do it because you’ll want to be on the list and have a spot and sometimes even nine months is not enough for certain day cares so as soon as you know you’re going to be using a daycare start looking as soon as you can because all good daycares will have a waitlist.
Research the different types of childcare options.
There are many different kinds of childcare/daycare options: church daycares, chain/corporate daycares, In home daycares, nanny shares. You will want to check out the different options and decide what you are comfortable with. You also need to confider what times and days you need. Do you need part time or full time? We wanted to do part time so our moms could also participate in watching our baby. But this actually made it harder to find a daycare because many do not do part time. Some even require you to pay for full time care even if you only use it part time.
Ask for recommendations from friends and family.
Asking friends and family will help you find more options and it gives you recommendations you can feel good about. If you have a family member that used a certain daycare you can feel good about using it too.
Another good source of recommendations is your local neighborhood group. You can check out the Nextdoor app or a Facebook group if your neighborhood has one and ask for daycare recommendations. Our final daycare choice was recommended by family because my niece went there and also everyone in our neighborhood always suggested it when people asked about daycare options.
Consider your budget.
Childcare is expensive. It will be a large part of most families budgets. You’ll need to consider your budget and what you can realistically afford. This may mean some of the better more expensive daycares are out of your reach. We would have loved to use our church’s daycare as it is one of the best around us but unfortunately we couldn’t justify the cost. For us it was just too much for infant care. They daycare we ended up choosing was one half of the cost of the first daycare.
Check references and reviews.
Once you’ve got a list of daycares you are considering, check out the online reviews if they have them. Read what you can about the daycare. You’ll also want to ask for references you can call and talk with. Every reputable daycare and in home daycare will provide you with a list of parents you can reach out to. I reached out to some strangers to ask about their experience with the daycare we chose first and discussed in depth with my sister in law about the one we ultimately are using. Most parents will be happy to talk about the daycare and what they liked and didn’t like about it.
Take a tour of the daycare.
You’ll want to check out a daycare in person before you commit to it. Go and meet the daycare teachers and even the director. Ask them questions about things and make sure it’s safe and clean. If you are doing an in home daycare like we did make sure you are comfortable with the setup and how many kids are there. Ask about their policies and days they are closed. If you can, go during the day when your child will be there so you can see the exact conditions that your baby will be in.
Get on the list for multiple daycares.
Unfortunately most daycares fill up and have waiting lists for new kids. When we started looking for a daycare we got in multiple waiting lists. The one we wanted didn’t have any openings and could not guarantee us a spot when we needed it so we paid a deposit to get on a waiting list for a daycare that could fit us in. Having a secured spot even if it’s your second choice can eliminate a lot of stress about childcare.
Accept that no daycare is perfect.
In a perfect world every daycare or childcare option would be exactly what you want and affordable. The reality is that most daycares are going to do things differently than you would or do something that you don’t love. There are things about the daycare we use that I don’t love, but I know my baby is safe and care for so I’m letting those little things go. When I pick her up and see her smiling at the other babies while she is being held I am happy she is in a safe environment and learning from other babies!
I hope these tips help you choose a daycare if you are in the market for one. It’s a hard choice to decide who will help take care of your precious little ones but with some work upfront you can definitely find a great daycare option.