October 2014 Moms
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What do you look for in a daycare / pediatrician?

With my work schedule, I have a window of time during the month of May & early July so I'm hoping to knock out some of these "to-do's". I want to start researching childcare options as well as pediatricians. I've started collecting recommendations from friends and family, but then realized I had no idea how to start narrowing down the list for either?

What did you look for (or wish you had looked for) when deciding on a child care provider and/or pediatrician?
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Re: What do you look for in a daycare / pediatrician?

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    SusieBWSusieBW member
    For a daycare, I feel like it's a gut thing, but also you have to figure out what is most important to you.  Obviously I'm looking for somewhere clean, and where I feel like the staff has their shit together, but it's more just about the feeling I get when I walk in, and whether I'm comfortable with it.  I guess I can't really explain it.  Location has become key for me in looking for a new place right now, too.  DD will still be going there when she starts kindergarten/school, and I want somewhere close and that does before/after school care.  The place I think we're going to go with is on the bus route for her kindergarten/elementary school, so the school bus will pick her up and drop her off there.  And it's 2 minutes from our house, versus the hour round trip I had to drive to bring her to school today, because her current daycare is by DH's office, but 35 minutes from home and mine.  So if DH can't bring her for some reason, I have to deal with that.

    With a pediatrician, I let my friend do a bunch of research and went with whatever she picked.  We live in the same neighborhood and were due about 5 weeks apart, and she had a pretty high-standard list of concerns, so I waited until she picked a place and just called and said I wanted to go there too.  So I'm no help with that, other than to say that I think personal recommendations are a good place to start.
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    Availability for both.  If you plan to do any delayed vaccinations (or any parenting choice which is not widely accepted), it's important to know if your pedi is on board with it.  Same goes with the day care.  Are they willing and comfortable working with breast milk, cloth diapers, etc.?
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    We didn't have anyone to ask for pediatrician recommendations so we actually asked the nurses in the maternity ward at the hospital I delivered at. They get to meet all the local pediatricians since they visit once the baby is born. Turns out they were spot on!
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    What I look for in a pediatrician is someone who cares about informing parents to make good medical decisions for their babies, who interacts with the children instead of just asking parents about baby's development (I saw one pedi who would ask me "does he turn his head and look at you when you say his name?" and another who got down to his level and said "DS? Hi!" Big big difference), but leaves the parenting decisions alone. Stick with medicine, pedis, and let parents figure out what parenting preferences/philosophies work for them.
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    For our pediatrician I asked for recommendations from people I know who live in the same area and then loved the first one I interviewed. It was important to me that the office was not more than 20 minutes away and I didn't want a big practice where I would see a different doctor every time. Also make sure that the hours work for when you would need appointments. One thing I did not think of but glad about now is that my pedi schedules all well visits the first half of the day and all sick ones in the afternoon. This way I'm not sitting with the babies in a waiting room full of sick kids. Also very important that the nurses and office staff are nice and patient.
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    For daycare, some thing to think about are operating hours, proximity to work versus home, sick child policies, and class size/ teacher ratio.  Also consider the infant/ toddler rooms - whether the have multiple ones according to age, versus one room for babies/ toddlers, etc.  With our first daycare, the kids stayed in the infant room from 6 weeks til 1 yearish (or walking).  THen all the 1 years old were together (from 12 months - 23 months).  There are big differences at these ages in terms of developmental needs.  I didn't think about this when I was a FTM.  Our current daycare actually has about 4-5 transition rooms during this time - generally 0-6 months, 6-12 months, then there is a transition room from baby to the 1 ear toddler room, then they move to the older 1's/ young 2's room.  It's been a much better transition in terms of some of the behavioral issues I saw in the other one.
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    We got a list of referrals for pedis from our OB. I personally went for the gut feeling. DH on the other hand had a huge list of questions. We paid 40.00 for an hour long face to face with the pedi where we got to talk to him about his views ect.  I think DH was a bit biased because the guy graduated from UT and they shared UT stories.

    Overall I like the pedi. They have separate waiting rooms for newborns/sick/teenagers. They also have admitting rights at our hospital of choice. He is pretty much a AAP recommendation kind of guy. Doesn't like to jump on giving medications right away if it can be avoided. And while he does not recommend bed sharing he has never lectured me about it.
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    For a daycare we looked at referrals from family and friends. I love that our daycare doubles as a hearing and speech school so the class sizes are very small to help those kids in need. Everyone I know loves it and the waiting list is huge. It helps that I have the directors son in class so she told me when we were pregnant to give her a call. That call came 12 weeks later. Haha

    For a pediatrician I lucked out because I babysat 9 years for a husband and wife who were pediatricians. Knowing them personally and seeing them with their own kids and even the neighboring kids helped. I trust them and their honesty and love their kids. They are like my second family.



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    AargAarg member
    I actually work in a day care in the infant room and am located in Illinois!
    And I agree with all the women above. I know that DCFS standards are universal (which you can read online) but I don't know if your state has specific laws in regards to child are facilities.
    As an instructor and as a FTM I try to listen to every question that parents ask on tours.
    We are a franchised Facility. Remember that school style facilities are VERY DIFFERENT from In-Home Daycares.
    First thing- Tour as many facilities as you can! Every place is different. You will feel a sense of security and trust when you walk into a certain facility and 9 times out of 10 people go with that gut feeling and choose that place as their first choice.
    Student/Teacher ratios per DCFS are
    Infants 4:1
    Toddlers 5:1
    2's 8:1
    3's 10:1

    Make sure to ask-
    At what age is an infant considered a Toddler? 12 month? 15 months? (Our center considers Toddler age as 15m)

    Are the classrooms separated by age in any specific way? Or are all infants in one room? (Typically the age range is 6w to 12-15m. We have 3 infant rooms licensed for 8 children per room. Room A has 6w-5m, Room B has 6m-12m, Room C has 12m-15m)

    How many infant rooms do you have?

    How do you hire your staff and what are the qualifications to be a lead teacher in the facility? (Ours require a BA in Child Studies of some sort)

    Are the infants on a set schedule or is what ever scheule we have them on?

    Do you supply the diapers and wipes or do we supply them?
    Do we have to supply any linens for their crib?

    What are your operating hours?
    What is your sick policy?
    Do you give discounts for siblings?
    ^^Most of this should be in a packet of some sort for you to take.

    Do you ever combined the children into one room for any reason?

    Do the infants get to go outside at all?

    Ask if they take subsidy? (Just in case you or your SO become unemployed)


    Also ask them about who they believe their competition is or what schools in the area are most comparable to them? (My director actually LOVES this question!) This will actually help you in the way that the director may lead you to a school you never thought of.

    ... If I think of anything else's I'll be sure to post!
    Or if you have any questions let me know!
    HOPE THIS HELPS!! :D
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    AargAarg member
    ^^ please excuse any mobile auto corrects.
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    For a ped I wanted someone who would come to the hospital and check my kids when they were born. I was shocked how many wouldn't. I also wanted someone who would circumsize at the hospital. A lot would do it later at their office and I didn't want that. I also wanted one close to home.
    For daycare I went with hours and location that was convenient and then my gut feeling. I worked at a daycare center for a year when I lived in Florida and I wouldn't have sent my dog there but we would have never said anything to a parent or potential parent because they would have fired us on the spot if they found out.
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    AargAarg member


    For daycare I went with hours and location that was convenient and then my gut feeling. I worked at a daycare center for a year when I lived in Florida and I wouldn't have sent my dog there but we would have never said anything to a parent or potential parent because they would have fired us on the spot if they found out.

    ^^^^ Agreed! I would only keep my child at my current center and pull them at 2 years old and re enroll at 3yo.
    And only because I'm not a fan of our 2yo's teachers. And they have gone thru 5 different teachers already.

    It takes special people to teach tods and twos.

    People have such a bad taste when it comes to Daycares. But I promise you there are ones that are amazing!! I love where I work and love my directors and fellow staff members.
    But I will say most of my co workers have come from some bad Daycares and we are all happy that we found a place that genuinely has all of the children in mind.

    Speaking of- Ask about teacher turnover rate! They will know what you are talking about. But basically how many teachers leave in a given year.
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    I ran an infant room after college and did evaluations of daycares for a non-profit program... I totally agree with @Aarg's questions. 

    But really, I think the most important thing is a gut feeling about the teachers in the room. The best center overall can have someone who just kind of turns you off, and that's a sign. Go visit, ask questions and pay attention to their attitude when they answer, watch the teacher's demeanor with kids. If it seems like they're putting on a show, they probably are. 
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