Things to Consider When Looking for a Daycare Center

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Back when we were looking for a daycare center for Mason, we were completely lost and overwhelmed. We didn't know what to look for, and what would fit best with our needs. I consulted with friends and families, and visited a couple of daycare centers, and below are some of the things that we considered when choosing child care for Mason.

1. Look in advance for a daycare. We didn't start looking until five months before my due date, and that was not enough time. Depending on where you live, the best daycare centers will have long wait lists, and may not have open spots for over a year. So even if you are not pregnant now, I would recommend just knowing which daycare centers are in the area you are living. If possible, as soon as you are pregnant, I would call and try to get on the wait list. We weren't able to get into the daycare centers that we wanted, and ended up moving.
2. Tour the daycare centers during the day when they have kids there so you can see how the teachers are interacting with the kids. 
3. Find out about the ratio of adult to child. As the kids get older, that gap increases. 
4. Make sure the hours work with your schedule. If you have to be at work by 6am, but the daycare doesn't open until 6:30am, that may not work. Different daycare centers will have different schedules so just check around.
5. Ask about teacher turnover. If teachers are coming and going, that may be a sign of the center and may be a hard adjustment for your child.
6. Ask about teacher background. You want to make sure that those watching your child are qualified, either by experience or by education.
7. Make sure the daycare center has an open door policy. If you want to visit your child during the day, you should be able to.
8. Could you pay with a credit card? I get miles on my credit card so I try to buy most things on my credit card. You are going to have to pay for it one way or another, so why not earn some miles while at it?
9. Will you be able to pay for it? Childcare to me is one of those things that you get what you pay for. Cheap isn't always the best, so make sure you are comfortable with the people who are actually taking care of your child. At the same time, if you can't pay for it, that will probably not work.
10. If you can't find a daycare center close to your home, consider one close to your workplace. I worked quite far from where we lived and thought about putting Mason in one close to my workplace. Unfortunately, I was not always at the office so that made it difficult. But if you don't have to travel around, consider different areas, not just where you live.
11. Ask around! Your friends, families, and coworkers will know about different places so ask them about it, and ask about their experiences.

It's so nerve-wrecking trying to find a place that will love your child the way that you do. Take your time, and listen to your gut. If you don't feel good about a place, don't take your child there. That's easier said than done, especially when if you are on a limited budget, or are in a location where there are just not enough daycare centers to pick from. 

We were very fortunate to have someone who loved and cared for our son like he was her own. I hope and pray that you will be able to find a place that fits with your family.

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