The journey to finding the right daycare can be a stressful one. At the end of the day, what you really want is a safe and fun place for your child to grow, be cared for and where they can make friends. A place that gives you so much peace, you can focus on your other responsibilities.
Wouldn’t it be so great if finding the right daycare was a simple process?
There’s the balance of evaluating price, proximity to work and home, making sure the caregivers are attentive and loving, and… so much more. Layered with new territory jitters and it can feel like the pressure is on.
Here are a few tips to finding the best daycare for your little one without the stress.
Write It All Down
The best way to organize your thoughts, especially with something this important, is to journal it out. Make a list of things you must have, would like to have and are not that important. Decide how you want your transition plan for daycare to go.
Before starting the search for a daycare, decide upfront your price range and what types of services you’re looking for. Did you grow up learning the Montessori way and want to have your child brought up that way too?
Are you going back to work and want a daycare close to your office, rather than home? Location could be a non negotiable for you.
Or maybe you want a daycare that provides meals and snacks, making your mornings less packed.
Having a list of what’s important to you will give you clear direction and ultimately help skip the major headaches. You’ll also be in the right headspace to focus on other aspects of the search without getting bogged down by nonviable options.
Having a clear head will not only help you figure out how to find a daycare right for you, it’ll give you an extra boost of confidence as you approach this new chapter in your life.
You know the best part about the mommy network? Mom’s always have each other’s backs! Whether you’re at church, your Saturday morning mommy and me class or the gym, look for the mom community around you. These are the best guides to finding out the scoop on daycares.
Don’t be afraid to ask around! If you can swap notes on how to find the best baby shoes, you can swap notes on the big ticket items too. You’ll get an honest answer and can compare their pros and cons to your list of preferences.
Even better is if there’s a daycare that you should steer clear of, a mom who’s had first hand experience can save you from making a potential mistake.
If you have a favorite playmate for your little one, comparing notes can even mean having them in the same daycare class and getting linked up with a car pool.
Take a Tour
Touring potential daycares is the best way to put everything together. Ideally you’d have a list of questions regarding the program, teachers and day to day schedule. But being in person gives you a chance to read subtext.
How is the tone and delivery of your tour guide? Does the administrative staff seem organized and willing to take time to answer your questions?
At this stage, don’t be afraid to spend extra time vetting out the employees at the daycare. After looking around, asking all your questions and meeting teachers - how do you feel? Do you get the impression the staff was careful to address all your concerns and questions?
Or did you walk away with a feeling of being rushed. Tune into that feeling and ask yourself why?
Maybe there is a staff shortage and things were rushed. Or did you not have enough time to see the classroom and really take it all in? These may not be big deals but if it bothers you, you should take a second look before making a decision. In the end, these could be red flags.
Signs of a Great DaycareWhen that first day of daycare rolls around, you’ll be feeling a few different emotions, for sure. Your little one may cry and if they do, don’t worry. Daycare transitions are sometimes harder on moms than they are on the minis.
Though maybe a bit antsy, you’ll feel good about your decision. Maybe you’ll have a fellow mom friend beside you for support.
Waving goodbye will feel strange but once you see your child join the other kids to play, it’s a beautiful feeling.
Some daycares have apps parents can download so they can receive real time pictures and updates on activities. Other centers will send your child home with a recap sheet that outlines the day’s activities, any bathroom trips or diaper changes and any other pertinent information for you.
If there was a craft of the day you might also get some very cute original art as well!
The first few days may involve tears leaving you to wonder how long does it take for a child to adjust to a new daycare. After a few days, you’ll see. Slowly transitioning will result in a happy child drop off. And a happy mama as well.