In my four years of being a mother I have found that one of the most stressful parts of parenting is finding the right childcare.
First of all, childcare is crazy expensive! It is about the same as a mortgage payment these days. Second, how about the added stress of finding childcare that fits your work schedule? Some parents work a 9-to-5 job while others may work shift work and odd hours. Being a new mom is stressful enough — and now you’re expected to trust a complete stranger to watch your beautiful babies.
Here are my five tips to finding good daycare provider which I hope will alleviate some of your worries — and help you make an informed decision.
5 Tips for Finding the Right Childcare for Your Family
1. Decide what you can afford. Know what your budget will be in advance and cut some expenses if necessary. I personally would rather cut out some of the extras (eating out at work, huge cable bill, fancy coffee drinks) and pay a little more for a good childcare provider.
2. Do some research. Find childcare providers in your area and make a list of the ones you want to visit, noting whether they are in-home or a center. Ask for recommendations from friends and co-workers. Look up reviews online and check your state’s department and health website for facility inspection results and violations prior to visiting. This may eliminate some from your list ahead of time, which will save you some time.
3. Visit several places and bring a list of questions with you. Ask about hours, rates and any hidden extra fees. Request a list of days they will be closed throughout the year so you can plan your work schedule accordingly. I also ask what they do in the event of an emergency, such as a tornado or other major event. Do they have a plan and are employees trained for such events? When do they close for bad weather? What do they do for building security? The list could go on and on. Ask the questions that are most important to you.
4. Background checks! If you are going to use an individual, request they submit to a background check. If you are going to a facility, then ask if they make their employees submit to background checks and what their hiring process consists of. If they are driving your children around then make sure they have a valid driver’s license and a good driving history. Make sure the vehicle they are driving is safe and up to date on maintenance. For example, you don’t want them driving your children around in the snow or ice with bald tires.
5. TRUST YOUR GUT. This is probably the most important tip of all. If something feels off, then it probably is. I have removed a child from daycare abruptly and I have also turned down a provider because she just gave me a bad feeling. A mother’s intuition is usually spot on!
How did you know your childcare provider was the right one for your family? — Ashley