Child care — The Bump
April 2020 Moms

Child care

I know it probably varies with location, but when do you plan to start looking for child care? How do you plan on choosing your daycare or STM how did you choose your daycare the first time?  

Re: Child care

  • I remember looking fairly early last time. We got suggestions from coworkers. There's a daycare right across from where I work. Flexibility helps - our daycare is open 6 am -10 pm. Also see if there is only one rate or a part time rate as well. Some daycares require you to still pay if you miss a week - worth looking into. See if food is provided. Ask what the child to teacher ratio is. This may be a hot topic, but inquire about vaccination policies. Just a couple things off the top of my head.
    BabyFruit Ticker
  • We're going to give our daycare notice as soon as possible that we want a spot next summer. We absolutely love our daycare, but we chose it solely because it was the first one that had an opening when we needed one for our son. The Boston area is extremely competitive for childcare, so we were glad to get a spot.

    Things I'd consider asking about:
    --Definitely hours, full-time/part-time, if they offer extended hours (ours closes at 5:30, but if you ask in advance, sometimes they can stay open until 6), etc. I think all the daycares here charge you if you miss a week, because they still have to pay their staff. That might only be true for the centers, though.
    --Allergy policies. Remember these will affect you even if your child doesn't have any allergies.
    --Vaccine policies.
    --Daily schedules and what kinds of activities they do in the daycare and outside the daycare.
    --If they're willing to deal with cloth diapers (if that's a thing you're thinking about).
    --Not something to ask them, but ask yourself if you'd prefer a home daycare or a center. 

    We were lucky to have a friend who works for the state agency that deals with licensing issues at daycare facilities, so he could let us know if the ones we were looking at had ever had any issues. I suspect that at least some of that info is public, though, so you could go digging for that.
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  • I’m in Minneapolis and the waitlist for our top choice daycare center is 18 months. Our second choice is 10-12 months. Both are around $400/week. 
    We are having to possibly consider a nanny instead since my maternity leave won’t last long enough to get us to either option. 
  • I love my daycare. It was recommended by another family after a terrible experience at our first daycare. The primary things I looked for were parent recommendations, curriculum, hours, and if they serve food, etc. I also checked their record with the state licensing (also due to prior bad experience). 

    The first time, I feel like I relied too heavily on the fact that they had cameras I could watch from my phone. I assumed that everything would be great because they never knew when parents were watching. Then, DS broke his leg there and they couldn’t tell me how it happened. They were also super rude and swore that it happened at home. I requested the video and they never gave it to me. They did let me watch part of it. Enough to know that it took an hour before they called me after he fell and that they let him cry in extreme pain for over a minute before someone finally checked on him. What I learned from that experience was don’t just pick the most convenient daycare, don’t assume it’s safe just because there’s a camera, and trust your instincts. I saw a few weird things before that incident and didn’t move him because it was such a hassle. I should have moved him the first time they did something weird (and in violation of state law).


    Me 33 DH 33 TTC since Jan 2019 PCOS

    DS1 born September 2017
  • Thanks for your responses. This is all very helpful as a FTM. I haven’t told any of my coworkers yet, so I haven’t been able to ask around about places here. I live in a small town, so it’s hard to even know what’s available or which ones are good. 
  • @mercury94 Oh my gosh, that sounds so scary! Glad everything turned out okay (in the end) and you're at a daycare you can trust now.
  • I have a bit of a complicated situation since I am a nurse and work 12 hour shifts days/nights/weekends. My hubby works out of town so a regular daycare would not work for us. I will only go back to work part time which is 2 12 hour shifts a week and thankfully my parents are willing to babysit! Otherwise the only option would be a nanny or working casual and just picking up when hubby is home. 
  • @kath1414 There is a doctor in my town that opened a daycare by the main hospital for exactly your situation. I wish that was available everywhere, but glad your parents can help. 


    Me 33 DH 33 TTC since Jan 2019 PCOS

    DS1 born September 2017
  • @mercury94 omg that sounds terrible!! sorry you and DS had to go through that experience. 

    We are on the fence on whether to put our child in daycare or get a nanny. Between DH and I we will have 4 months of maternity/paternity that we will alternate and use. I don't know how i feel about my baby going to daycare when he or she is 5-6 months old. I know the chances of catching infections are higher, and i just feel like the child is more protected at home.  Which is why we're considering a nanny. Eventually, we will consider a daycare. The price is a big factor in all of this as well. 
  • @mercury94 I always talk about how popular a 24 hour daycare right by the hospital would be!! I can’t imagine having a kid stay at a daycare center overnight but I guess some people have no other options and need to work! 
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