How do I choose a daycare?

Tanya - posted on 03/12/2009 ( 11 moms have responded )

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I'm a working soon-to-be mom (due July 4) looking into daycare for when I can go back after having the baby. I recently moved to the area and have no idea where to even begin, what questions to ask, red flags for a good or bad situation, that kind of thing. I don't even know how much I should be spending for infant care!! My job does not offer any sort of childcare, either, so that is not an option. We have no family and few new acquaintances in the area, so this is extremely difficult. Can someone point me in the right direction to finding a daycare that will treat my baby well and not break my bank? Thanks!

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Kim - posted on 03/12/2009

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use a childminder i am a Registerd Childminder go to Reading information center look under childcare in your area and it will come up with a list of minders you look at there details see which one (or more) you like the sound of, and then contact the information centre and they will give you the relevant contact details whilst informing you of current vacancies. Just to let you know we are cheaper than Nurseries.



Hope this helps you



Kind Regards



Kim Rawlings

Kim - posted on 03/12/2009

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Quoting Tanya:

How do I choose a daycare?

I'm a working soon-to-be mom (due July 4) looking into daycare for when I can go back after having the baby. I recently moved to the area and have no idea where to even begin, what questions to ask, red flags for a good or bad situation, that kind of thing. I don't even know how much I should be spending for infant care!! My job does not offer any sort of childcare, either, so that is not an option. We have no family and few new acquaintances in the area, so this is extremely difficult. Can someone point me in the right direction to finding a daycare that will treat my baby well and not break my bank? Thanks!


 

Esther - posted on 03/12/2009

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You can find check-lists of questions to ask online. On Baby Center they have some information as well: http://www.babycenter.com/0_how-to-find-...



I printed out one of those checklists, set aside a day to go visit several day care centers (I visited about 6), called them to make appointments and then just took a look. Sometimes they will tell you something about a feature of their particular center that you can then ask the other centers about as well (day trips, training for staff etc.). Mostly though, I think it all comes down to the "vibe" you get when you visit the center. How attentive is the staff, how clean and organized is it, do they serve meals, if so, is the kitchen clean, do the kids seem happy, are they being watched, etc. You can also ask for references (parents of kids in any center that you can call). I serve as a reference for my daycare all the time. Opening hours are also important if you have a job and are commuting. Can you drop your baby off early enough, is there enough time to get back to pick them up without incurring late fees. You might want to know about their immunization policy (most day care centers require the kids to get all their shots, but some do not). Do you have to bring your own sheets for the crib, make the baby's bed yourself (some centers make you do that), how far are they from where you live? Having to prepare lunches, making cribs, driving a long way, all can make for a very stressful morning when you have a train to catch or need to get on the road to get to work on time. Convenience is very important.



I have to warn you though, a good daycare center probably will break your bank. I think you're in CA so I'm assuming it's not that different from where I am (close to NY). I pay over $1600 a month for daycare. It's a HUGE amount (almost as much as my mortgage) and half my pay check, but I'm really glad that I picked the daycare that I did. They have been a huge support to me as a first time mom and it has been great for my son, who is meeting all his milestones early and is very happy to be there every day.



Good luck & don't wait too long. Many daycares have waiting lists.

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Shiquita - posted on 04/23/2009

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You can visit DSHS or DCFS website and get a list of local daycares and their ratings. If you have neighbors with infants or toddlers, ask them. After you research, visit and decide, visit your local DSS office. They might offer vouchers depending on if you qualify.

Lana - posted on 04/23/2009

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DO NOT MAKE FIXED APPOINTMENTS. GET IN YOUR CAR STOP AND KNOCK. BY THE WAY YOU ARE GREEDTED AND INVITED (OR NOT) INSIDE WILL TELL YOU ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW. MAKE GOOD FRIENDS WITH ONE OF THE WORKERS WHO WILL TRUST YOU ENOUGH TO TELL! TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Esther - posted on 04/23/2009

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Congratulations! I have found my son's daycare to be an invaluable support during my first year as a mom! Sounds like you've found a great place too. Enjoy the last few months of your pregnancy.

Tanya - posted on 04/23/2009

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Thanks for everyone's help! My husband and I have since worked our butts off, and we found a place for Olivia when she arrives. The Goddard School in Sacramento has great ratings, reviews, is clean, open, answered all of our questions, and fit into a lot of the feedback everyone gave. Thanks again! You made this process SO much easier on us.

Nicole - posted on 03/14/2009

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I got lucky and my sister watched my son up until he was about 2. I'm not sure what area u live in, but here it costs $160 a week for my sons daycare. My son goes to an at home daycare and I love it. His teacher is really nice and she doesn't try to rush me out. We talk and she really cares.



A friend of mine did refer me to her, so I didn't really have to look around, but someone had told me once to make sure the daycare has an "open door policy" meaning u can drop in anytime. I know you mentioned that u do work now.. maybe ask your coworkers about their daycares? I would interview places now.. I know here there is a wait on some of the daycares

Michelle - posted on 03/13/2009

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Tanya - First let me say good luck in your search as it's not easy.  There are ratings - with various agencies and such giving them out and I belive they vary from state to state.  So at least look into the "star ratings."  There are many factors on how they get rated.  Level of education of the care takers and the child to teacher ratio are pretty important in my mind!  You must visit at least a few places to get a feel for the care they offer.  I went to one where the teacher didn't acknowledge that I introduced myself and didn't speak or really interact with the children for the five-ten minutes I was in the room.  I wasn't going to leave my child with that zoombie! 



As a pregnant mom to be you can easily ask any mom you see with young children...scope them out in grocery stores, churches, the mall...just kindly ask and I'm sure they'll offer up some information. 



And last but not least, remember you do get what you pay for.  Good luck

Alice - posted on 03/12/2009

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If there is a local moms group in your area, you can join and find out from parents who have kids in daycare.



We happened to find our daycare through Craigslist. Make sure it is a licensed daycare. I liked the home daycare setting because the ratio is smaller. Good luck.

Alisabeth - posted on 03/12/2009

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If you're in the US, you should go to your DSHS or DCFS website and find out who licenses daycares in your area.  There is usually a number or link to a list of licensed daycares in your area.  You can then see if they've had any complaints etc.  You definitely want to do a few visits to see what the place is like.  You also will want to see if your child can bvisit.  As for prices, they are highest for infants.  Every state is different in rates, but you should find out rates of a few places to compare.  Also, ask the daycare of your choice if you can speak to any of the parents for added information and first hand expereince.  Good Daycares won't have a problem with this.  See their staff in action...that's the biggest reccomendation I have. Good Luck

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