Getting an early start on finding childcare for your new baby is very important. There are many questions that you need to ask yourself in order to ensure that your child is well taken care of, so you can go through the day worry-free. It’s also important to know when to start looking for answers and what you need to look for to find the best childcare options for you and your baby.
Back to Work
If you are planning on going back to work as soon as you can, it is important that you start looking at childcare options around three months before your baby’s due date. This gives you ample time to find a daycare that is conventionally located, budget friendly, and up to your standards. In doing this, it is essential that you keep track of enrollment deadlines as many places will have one. If you plan on taking some time to care for the baby before returning to work, this process can be pushed back until the baby’s due date, but be wary of wait lists.
Many of the best facilities with the best ratings will have pretty lengthy waiting lists. It is a testament to their level of care and the need for proper childcare in the community. Though this may sound discouraging now, it does not mean that it is impossible. Continue to research and explore your options while remaining open because doing all of this in advance will ensure that childcare will be options available to you. For those centers with a waiting list, make sure to keep in touch with them throughout the process. Simply checking in and touching base with them will ensure that you don’t slip through the cracks.
Number of Children
Depending on the number of children you have and their ages, the process of looking for childcare can be treated differently. If this isn’t your first child, the search should actually begin even earlier. Depending on the ages of your other children, you may want to find somewhere that is located nearby, whether your older children are at school or in daycare themselves. If they are already enrolled at another center and you enjoy their services, you can even look into getting them all into the same one. Doing this earlier as opposed to later will guarantee that the process goes smoothly, and if any problems arise, you will be able to solve the issue quickly.
The Search for Childcare
The most important thing to remember is to just start looking. There are so many things to look for. If you don’t know where to start, here is a checklist of good-to-know qualities in centers:
- A clean, safe, and visually appealing environment
- Areas that can house a variety of different activities
- Secure spaces both inside and out
- Happy children
- Constant supervision
- A good teacher-to-children ratio
Along with this checklist, you can look at pictures and talk to administration by phone, but the most efficient way to truly get a feel of what a facility offers is to visit them in person. Just make sure you call ahead of time and get confirmation, as some childcare centers offer tours. Once you are there, ask questions. There is no better way to get to know a place than through face-to-face conversations with staff and even other parents with children already enrolled there.