Daycare — The Bump
Working Moms


I am due April 23rd, and putting my LO in daycare in August. I am looking for information now, but I have no idea what I am looking for. 
I have prices. There is one that is 1250, 1290, 1220, and 980 each one a month. Now, I can go on tours but I have no idea what I would be looking for or what to ask. . .help? 
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Re: Daycare

  • Things to ask about:
    - hours that they are open
    - days that they are closed- holidays, inclement weather, teacher in service, do they charge for days that you take vacation?
    - what age groups are the classes divided into, ratio for each age group
    - is food provided? Just snacks or lunch too? Sample menu
    - how do they handle feeding infants, do you have to prep bottles or will they defrost BM/ mix formula?
    - what is their daily schedule like?
    - do they have a curriculum? What is their teaching philosophy?
    - where do children sleep? (Are cribs in a separate dark quiet area?)
    - do they take the children outside everyday?
    - what is their illness policy?
    - what security do they have in place- door codes, cameras, etc

    Overall I found most centers to be pretty similar with all of these things. It comes down to more of a gut feeling when you visit. Do the teachers seem engaged with the kids? Do the classrooms seem reasonably clean and maintained? Do they children seem happy and well cared for? Once you start visiting you will come up with more questions just by comparison.
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  • I'd look out for teacher to student ratios, room cleanliness (general, not white glove test), attentiveness of front desk staff, use of gadgets like swings and bouncers (if that's the kind of thing you have a strong opinion about), and accessibility of the director.

  • There's really only one I want our kid to go to in our area. Going tomorrow to put our name on the waiting list. It costs around $1000 per month and has all the elements we want. 

    It has the classroom style of care - we'll know that our child is being taught things and that each teacher is accountable.  They have monthly parent meetings so that the parents can get to know each other and to help to improve the quality of care.  They give daily sheets of paper that tell you what happens each day with the child when they're in the infant stage.  As they get older there is different communication and the rates go down when they move to the walking group at age 1 and also when they are out of diapers.  This place also potty trains the kids.  They're open all year round so if we have a day off we can take the child to class and get a few errands run or if we get sick, we can rest in bed and the kid is still well taken care of. They also allow you a guaranteed place in afterschool daycare when the child is ready for Elementary School. 
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    Together for six years, married for five
    BFP 12/06/13 - EDD 8/11/14 
    BABY BOY born 8/14/14!

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  • Carnation77Carnation77 member
    500 Comments 100 Love Its First Anniversary First Answer
    edited February 2014
    Go with your gut.  Also, infants require a certain amount of flexibility so you might want to see if they're going to try to impose a schedule on your child or just go with your child's natural schedule.  I have a friend who put her kid in a great-on-paper daycare but he wasn't sleeping or eating there because he couldn't adjust to their schedule.  I'm sure this isn't all that common but it's something I never thought about before I had a kid and I have to say I do love how LO's provider is so flexible with him - especially if he's just feeling out of sorts on a particular day.  Also, ask how they keep the place and toys clean and about their turn over rate.  The longer a provider is with your child the more they'll know your child and the better they'll be able to take care of your child.
  • Clean with super strict cleanliness guidelines.

    Safety.  Safety and evacuation procedures well written out.

    Educated teachers. 

    Reasonably healthy food provided.  Or for infants feeding and sleeping on demand. 

    Reasonable hours that worked for us. 

    Remember you have to be flexible with daycare, b/c there will be several babies in your child's class.  If you expect 1 on 1 care, you should go another route.  With daycare you have to be a bit more flexible.  My DD is the happiest, most social and flexible child in the world and I credit much of it to her wonderful daycare. 

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  • Agree with all the above. We visited a few centers that we proud and boastful about how they got the infants onto their schedule (I.e. all babies eat and sleep at set times) may not rub others the wrong way but I felt like at 3 or 4 months, going against the structure already set up at home (or not if feeding/sleeping on demand) was too harsh at that stage. So I liked that the infants were on demand until the toddler room when they weaned them into a more structured day of play, sleep, eat etc.
  • Agree with what PP's have said.  I just want to add that you need to look at the daycare as a whole and not just how they care for infants.  Your LO could be there for 5 years and you want to make sure you not only like the infant room but also like the curriculum, meals, outdoor play area, etc. for older kids.
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