Daycare shopping already? — The Bump
August 2016 Moms

Daycare shopping already?

I know it is crazy early, but has anyone started daycare shopping yet?  Daycares in my area typically have a 13 month waiting list, so all of our friends have told us to get on as many lists as we can as soon as we get a BFP. I can't believe it works that way, but I'm glad we were warned!

Anyway, do you second time moms have any tips or suggestions for choosing a daycare? What are the most important things to look for?

I'm also trying to decide between somewhere close to my job or somewhere close to our house/DH's job.  On one hand, I think it would be good to do close to my job so I could visit on my lunch break and maybe even nurse. On the other hand, I think it could be good to do close to our house, so LO could stay in same daycare despite any job changes and could eventually meet friends that are more in our neighborhood/school district. Plus there is a great center that is literally in the same building as DH's job, and it is much more affordable than those near my job (which BTW is a 45 min commute from our house). Which would you recommend?

Re: Daycare shopping already?

  • I would definitely start shopping around now. Those all sound like good options! I'd say visit them all and see which ones feel like the best fit for you and go from there. And ask for recommendations/reviews on any local Facebook moms groups that might be in your area!

    LFAF April Siggy: TV/Movie BFFs








    BFP #1 12/2012, DS born 8/2013
    BFP #2 7/2015, MMC and D&C 9/2015
    BFP #3 11/2015, CP
    BFP #4 1/2016, DD born 10/2016




  • I'm a FTM so don't have much to offer in terms of advice. I work with toddlers and their parents have all chosen daycares close to work. We are in Chicago so it's quite typical for people to work 45-75 minutes from home. With the commute and winter weather delays, it makes more sense to be able to grab your kid from daycare at the end of the day before making the long trek home (what if the snow causes a 2 hour delay and daycare closes before you can get there?).

    Good luck on your search! The wait lists in my area are just like yours; some even have two-year waits. It's crazy. Good for you for jumping in headfirst! :)
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  • Thanks guys! Good to know I'm not crazy for considering this so early!

    @Kristin712 - Good advice about choosing close to my job. The good thing is that DH only has a 5 min. commute, so he would do pick up if we choose close to home.

    Kristin712
  • I will probably start daycare shopping after I hear a heartbeat. I'm considering a part time nanny because DH works split shifts and mil only works three day a week as a nurse and would be willing to watch baby on her days off.
    Me (23) & DH (26)
    TTC #1 since 2/2015
    BFP 2/26/15    |     EDD 11/4/15     |     Natural M/C 3/11/12 @ 6 weeks
    BFP 6/17/15    |     EDD 2/26/15     |     Empty Sac 7/13/15  @ 7 weeks     |    D&C 8/10/15
    BFP 11/26/15  |     EDD 8/9/16       |     Natural M/C 12/2/15 @ 4 weeks
    BFP 1/4/16      |     EDD 9/8/16       |     It's a BOY!                                      |     Hudson born 9/16/16
    Working with RE to begin infertility testing 12/2015

  • I prefer daycare close to home for the following reasons:

    - If you have days where you work at outbuildings or travel for work, you don't need to drive all the way to your main office before going where you need to be that day (or your SO doesn't need to if you're traveling).

    - The kids spend less time in the car.  In our current case, we can walk to daycare from our house, so the kids spend no time in the car.  It is flat-out amazing.  When they're tiny and portable in their bucket seats, it's not such a big deal, but once they get older (and start potty training) getting stuck in traffic can be a nightmare. Traffic in the DC metro area (where we used to live) was terrible most days and could become an absolute nightmare in inclement weather (think stuck for 7 hours in a snowstorm to go 8 miles). 

    - It's more spouse-egalitarian.  Daycare close to home means either spouse can drop off/pick up with minimal inconvenience to the other.  If you know one of you is the designated daycare parent, do what you like, but if one does drop-off and one does pick-up, close to home is a winner.

    - Other things will likely also be closer to your house, like schools or the pediatrician.  It ends up being more convenient to take a sick kid a shorter distance.  If you plan on having multiples, having your daycare near your oldests' school will save lots of time during your day.  

    Other advice I have:

    - Don't marry yourself to a center right away.  There are lots of fantastic in-home care providers, and they often have more flexible hours and better pricing.  Our first DCP was bi-lingual and spoke to DS1 in Spanish (at our request) to the point that he was bilingual before we moved.  There are + and - to centers vs. in-home, but weigh those against your lifestyle and needs.  We've done both, and I'd be happy to answer any questions you have.
    - Get references.  Once you find a place, vary your pick-up time a few times.  Drop by a few hours earlier than expected.  Does everything still look the same way it does when they're expecting you?  (Chances are they will, but I've seen/been through horror daycares and it doesn't hurt to check). 
    - Make sure they're certified, and check for incidents on your county/city website.  Most cities/counties have a regulatory system for daycare providers, whether in-home or centers.  Look up any violations (and see what they are).  Our DCP had a violation on her record, but when I investigated further, I found that it was she only had 1 triangular bandage in her first aid kit instead of 2...a week after they'd changed the rules for the kits.  I could live with that.  :)
    - Ask what their rules are on things that are important to you.  Do you want to cloth diaper?  Some will and some won't.  What are their rules for feeding breastmilk?  Some places will throw away any unfinished milk in a bottle after 1 feeding; some will feed in X time.  This will become SUPER important to you once you start pumping.  Some places provide diapers and food in the fee; others expect you to provide them.  Weigh those expenses in your overall costs.  

    Lilypie - Personal picture Lilypie - Personal picture Lilypie - Personal picture 
     DS1 - 7/2011, DD 12/2012, DS2 - 4/2014, MMC - 12/2015
    Lilypie Pregnancy tickers
    jwittwer
  • Great points, @Xath! You are swaying me towards choosing close to home.   When it comes to in-home providers, DH is worried about those places not having good insurance and not being regulated. Sounds like they can be certified, so I'm assuming they are regulated. Right? Do you know about the insurance?  Could they potentially have just as good of insurance as a center (depending on place of course)?
  • Not a crazy idea at all. For our 1st we put our name on 6 different lists when I was 12 weeks pregnant and didn't get into one until he was 6 months old. We live in a new city now and there are no wait lists, so it really depends on the area.

    When we were waiting to get into the ones with the wait list I had to drive past my work into the suburbs to get him to daycare. I have to say I loved having him near our home once we switched. He didn't have to spend hardly anytime commuting in his car seat. He hated riding in it and it was 45 minutes of crying with not much could do to help. 


    BabyFruit Ticker
  • Great points, @Xath! You are swaying me towards choosing close to home.   When it comes to in-home providers, DH is worried about those places not having good insurance and not being regulated. Sounds like they can be certified, so I'm assuming they are regulated. Right? Do you know about the insurance?  Could they potentially have just as good of insurance as a center (depending on place of course)?
    I think it depends on your state/county.  Each will have different standards.  I know in Fairfax County (northern Virginia), daycare providers couldn't be certified unless they had an insurance policy (amongst many other things).  What are you looking for an insurance policy to do on your end?  
    Lilypie - Personal picture Lilypie - Personal picture Lilypie - Personal picture 
     DS1 - 7/2011, DD 12/2012, DS2 - 4/2014, MMC - 12/2015
    Lilypie Pregnancy tickers
  • with my son we decided to put him in a daycare close to our house and DH's work.  this also means that if I get stuck in a meeting, the baby needs picked up quickly, a family member needs to get him...they're closest which is most important in my book.  this has made my life so much easier and now I can't imagine doing anything different. 
  • also, you'll want to make a list of all the questions you need to ask them when you go visit --

    licensed and insured, do I pay when the baby is sick or on holiday, do I pay when you're on vacation (if it's an in-home), what is your policy on outsiders doing pick up?...the list goes on and on

  • BritMC18BritMC18
    250 Love Its 100 Comments First Anniversary Name Dropper
    member
    edited December 2015
    strickland8052 as someone who has worked (in the past) and is now working in one of those centers with super long wait lists, I honestly wouldn't wait too long. Typically the higher rated schools are the ones with super long waits and if you are going the daycare route, you want to make sure the school you choose is the best. I'd definitely shop around a bit, don't settle on the first school you see. And ask questions, lots of them. My biggest advice is if you are looking for a preschool that is educationally based (versus just being a daycare center), make sure you are seeing evidence of learning (i.e. look for children's work on display, look at classrooms that are above the infant level).
    jwittwer
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