When I was pregnant and the hub and I strayed searching for a daycare provider, it was ridiculously hard. I was overwhelmed with costs and choices and the feeling that I had no idea what I was even looking for or what questions to ask. So stressful. Luckily, we ended up finding a great in-home daycare, through my sister, that we like a lot. It has worked out well and allowed us a lot of flexibility over the past 4 months, which is especially helpful, since Brett’s schedule is so varied during the summer months.
Unfortunately though, we are currently on the hunt again, due to our current provider expecting her second child in October. She will be taking some maternity time off, and when she returns she’ll be offering infant care only. While this means that Vera could still go there, it would only be temporary and we would be searching again by this time next year. So here we are, looking for at least a temporary, but optionally a permanent solution.
While we know better this time what we need and want in a daycare, it is still just as frustrating as the first time around. Here are the main things we’re thinking about this time:
• Location– we’d like something that’s more convenient than our current location, closer to home. Our current provider is very convenient when Brett is on his way to work in the mornings, but about a half-hour out of the way if he’s headed anywhere else, or if I am the one who has to drop her off. Having somewhere that works for both of us would be nice.
• Schedule Flexibility– we’re very fortunate that Brett’s teaching schedule allows him to have lots of time off to spend with V-child. Not so lucky that many daycares charge by the week, whether or not you are there everyday. This is especially an issue during fall-break, winter break, summer time, etc. when she may be there for only one day a week or less.
• Cost– This is a big one, obviously. We aren’t looking for the cheapest option, but it’s so frustrating that regular daycare providers cost twice as much as in-home. I understand the reasons of course. There is staff and overhead expenses to take into account, but it makes it harder to justify sending her there when we can save nearly $500 a month by finding a good in-home provider. That’s a big chunk of change! Although having the peace of mind of more supervision and regulations that a daycare provides is something to consider too, and we may still go that route if we decide to go for the temporary option.
• Trust– This one almost goes without saying, but I felt like I should include it anyway, because it’s probably the biggest factor. Obviously we don’t want to leave our baby with just anyone in an in-home setting, so we’re looking for a trustworthy provider. Which for us means either someone who we know, that is highly recommended by someone who we know, or that has a lot of experience with great references.
Not a huge list, but those are the things we’re trying to find. I guess it’s a battle that most parents have to take on, but that doesn’t make it any easier.
Anyone have any advice for a daycare search? If you’re a working mom or dad, how did you go about finding a provider you like and trust? What were your search criteria??