When I was 6 months pregnant I started looking for child care provider. I knew I was only going to have an 8 week maternity leave and my mom was going to stay with the baby for a month. I thought I was ready and when I arrived at the first place I quickly found out I was not. Here are a few things I ran into trying to choose a child care provider.
- 1. Start looking early. My biggest issue was the wait list. Most places were 3 or 4 pages long and I was shocked. Also remember to call back to see if their availability and where you are on their list.
- 2. Check hours. I work from 7:30 – 4 and many providers open at 8. I needed some place that opened early and stayed late. If you love the place but can do their hours see if a family member can pick up or drop off.
- 3. Get references. I asked everyone where they brought their baby and what their experience was. Also do your research only, check reviews and ratings. And trust your gut.
- 4. Prices… These can vary from age to registration. Some places offer free registration. Also before and after care are not always included in your weekly tuition. Supply fees are often another cost. Some places require tuition to be paid weekly or monthly. Always ask these questions when visiting so you aren’t surprised.
- 5. What do they offer…. Do they offer lunch or breakfast, what is included in the meals, do they help with potty training, is your child able to wear pull ups, how do they keep the bottles, do you need to bring your own supplies, do you need to make all bottles, are they familiar with breast milk, what supplies are provided? This list can go on and on
- 6. Child to teacher ratio. This was one of my biggest concerns, I wanted her to have individual attention since she was going to be a newborn and I was going back to work full time.
- 7. Drop in don’t make an appointment. This is Huge!! You want to see what happens daily without them aware that someone is making a visit. You can see the interactions with the teachers and children. Get names and ask about turnover and how long the teachers have been there.
- 8. Do they share your views? How much tv do they let the kids watch? What is their discipline? Can you come in to nurse? Can you drop in and check on your child?
- 9. Lastly try calling them during the day to see if they answer. I did this at multiple locations. I would be nervous if I couldn’t call and get someone to pickup to ask how my little one was doing during the day.
What was your experience looking for a child care provider?