Special Snowflake: "When to look for in-home daycare" — The Bump
D.C. Area Babies

Special Snowflake: "When to look for in-home daycare"

So, I don't have a job.  I'm currently in school for a different career path (landscape design).  My school has a career fair in January/Feb & it's around March-ish that employers in landscape design hire.  I'm hoping to get an entry level position...maybe even just something at a nursery.  Me getting employment is not guaranteed as I'm not done with my degree program & hiring in this field is kind of slow right now due to the economy.

Anyway, it seems pretty clear what I would do if I had a job to go back to but I'm less clear what to do when I'm looking for a job. I'll probably only be given a week or two from when I need to start.  Is it realistic to find in-home daycare in that period?   I feel like if I start too soon, then it could be irrelevant b/c the spaces will likely be filled before I need them.

We could probably pay for daycare for a month or two before I got a job, but not indefinitely.  And I don't want to start him in daycare only to pull him out b/c I can't find anything.

WWYD?

Re: Special Snowflake: "When to look for in-home daycare"

  • I think you will likely be able to find something.

    One thing you could do (if you have time) is interview some candidates pretty far in advance - and keep a list/notes on those providers, calling them when the time is right. 

    If there's a one or two week gap, you could probably find a short term solution on sittercity or through word of mouth recommendations.

    NestBaby Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
  • image crazyDCbride:

    One thing you could do (if you have time) is interview some candidates pretty far in advance - and keep a list/notes on those providers, calling them when the time is right. 

    This is what I'd suggest too.

    image image

    TTC #1 Cycle 14 - IUI#1=BFN, IUI#2=BFP | TTC #2 Cycle 8=BFP!! image image

  • image HikerBride07:
    image crazyDCbride:

    One thing you could do (if you have time) is interview some candidates pretty far in advance - and keep a list/notes on those providers, calling them when the time is right. 

    This is what I'd suggest too.

    I guess I'm confused, though. Do in-homes normally have vacancies for awhile?  I guess I assumed that as soon as there is an opening, it gets filled since daycare is such a hot commodity around here.

    Is that not right?

  • image kastle:
    image HikerBride07:
    image crazyDCbride:

    One thing you could do (if you have time) is interview some candidates pretty far in advance - and keep a list/notes on those providers, calling them when the time is right. 

    This is what I'd suggest too.

    I guess I'm confused, though. Do in-homes normally have vacancies for awhile?  I guess I assumed that as soon as there is an opening, it gets filled since daycare is such a hot commodity around here.

    Is that not right?

    I think our DCP generally knows a bit in advance when there will be an opening (like when a family plans to move away or send a kid to preschool, they probably share that information in advance).  I'm pretty sure ours is willing to keep a vacant spot for a while to find the "right" family since she wants parents who get her style as much as the parents wants a DCP who will share a similar parenting style.  So on the one hand, our DCP probably starts talking to people in advance of the opening to try to fill it, but on the other hand I don't think she rushes to take any old family that may be more rigid than she is.

    It couldn't hurt to explain your situation up front with you call some in-home providers and see if they are still willing to talk to you.  If they're willing to work with you on your odd timeline, it might be because you "click" with them on personality.  (I relied in part on intangibles like getting along with the person when deciding where to send DD.)

    ETA: We found our DCP around Thanksgiving and she held DD's spot (for free) until mid-January.  Partly because it was around the holidays and convenient for her to have fewer kids, and partly because she was getting calls from parents of slightly older kids but really wanted to take on another infant to be "friends" with another infant she was also bringing in around the same time.  So it's always possible that you could find someone willing to work around your indefinite plans for a month or two.

    image image image
  • The daycare shortage in this area is exclusive to centers.  There are a lot of in home providers.  Most don't know they have openings till about a month before they do.  In my experience, most are willing to meet with prospective parents to interview even if they don't have an immediate opening.  Especially if they know you are looking a few months out.  I know I met with many in home providers while I was still pregnant just to give me a sense of what an in home daycare is like and to narrow my list down to who I like/don't like.  I was then able to call the providers I liked about 6 weeks out from going back to work to see if they had openings and I interviewed some additional candidates.  If you go the Infant Toddler route, they will only give you options that actually have openings in the time period you are looking for care.  Thats sort of helpful in narrowing things down.  
  • image kastle:
    image HikerBride07:
    image crazyDCbride:

    One thing you could do (if you have time) is interview some candidates pretty far in advance - and keep a list/notes on those providers, calling them when the time is right. 

    This is what I'd suggest too.

    I guess I'm confused, though. Do in-homes normally have vacancies for awhile?  I guess I assumed that as soon as there is an opening, it gets filled since daycare is such a hot commodity around here.

    Is that not right?

    It all depends on the provider... sometimes, they're just starting out, and maybe only have one or two kids.  Sometimes, they might know in advance (like in the examples QS mentioned, or, if one of the kids has a birthday and they know the kid will be a "toddler" not an "infant" by then...). 

    I guess what I was getting at - if you can find a few providers you like,  keep a list of them. Chances are that one of them may have a space when the time is right (or, if the first one doesn't work out). 

    NestBaby Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
  • I totally agree with the pps and just wanted to add my encouragement--I was in a similar experience when DD#1 was 10 months old.  I had been at home with her since she was born and when she was about 8 months old we decided that I would go back to work full time instead of pt freelancing from home.  I was able to find a DCP in about 2 weeks.  I think checking out possible providers now is a great idea and then, as hard as it is, trust the fact that you'll find something.  The other thing to keep in mind is that you may find something temporary that will carry you through until something more definite opens up.  While there is high demand for day care in this area, there really are lots of options and with in home care, it seems like there are new ones popping up all the time.

    Good luck with the job search and with the day care search!!!

  • image crazyDCbride:

    I guess what I was getting at - if you can find a few providers you like,  keep a list of them. Chances are that one of them may have a space when the time is right (or, if the first one doesn't work out). 

    Yeah, that's where I was going with it too.  Do the legwork now to get a sense for what you really want in a DCP and find maybe two or three that you like and when you're ready give them a call and find out if they have openings in your timeframe.  I think with the area being so transient and with the state of the economy, DCPs tend to have a high turnover.

    image image

    TTC #1 Cycle 14 - IUI#1=BFN, IUI#2=BFP | TTC #2 Cycle 8=BFP!! image image

  • Good advice above, just wanted to add that no, in-homes are not like centers in that when a space opens they don't immediately fill it - which is good for you in your search.  And like pp said, some in-home providers will hold a spot for weeks or months if they think it's a good fit.
    Wife, Musician, Fed, WW-er, and Mom of three little kids - not necessarily in that order.
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