Let’s be honest, figuring out child care might be one of the most stressful situations you’ll face as a parent. There are a number of different options when it comes to types of childcare and you’ll want to start planning your child’s care far ahead of time to give yourself plenty of time to get it all sorted out. Here are some tips to help you find the best childcare for your family.
Decide Which Type of Childcare is Ideal for Your Family
There will likely be a number of different options for child care in your neighborhood. From group daycare, to nanny services, to a private babysitter, there is a great choice out there for every family. Here is a further breakdown of some common childcare options.
- Group daycare: Daycare is a common childcare option that many families choose. Group daycare offers some benefits as well as drawbacks. Daycares often have a waitlist so you’ll want to be proactive and get your child on the waitlist well before you’ll actually be needing childcare. Group daycare facilities can also come at a higher cost than other childcare options but many facilities provide food, diapers and wipes for your baby.
- Nannying services: You may be able to find a local nannying service through word of mouth or through the internet. Nannying services may involve rotating caretakers who take turns watching your child in your home or they may involve you getting paired with one nanny who is always in charge of your child. This is a convenient option because your child can be cared for at home, rather than having to drop them off in an unfamiliar location.
- Private babysitter: A private babysitter is a great option for most families but it is often not the easiest childcare option to find. Private babysitters often come in the form of a family friend or mutual friend who has experience caring for young children and babies. Babysitters often charge less than daycare facilities and offer convenience and familiarity for you and your baby.
How to Research Childcare Options in Your Area
In order to find the best daycare facility you’ll want to do plenty of research. Look into all of the daycare or nannying options in your area and call around to get an idea of pricing, waitlists, and any other questions you may have. Look into the age range of children that will be in your child’s class and read reviews from other families. It is also helpful to ask other families in your area or even turn to social media for a good recommendation from another family who lives in your area.
Important Questions to Ask
If you’re feeling uncertain of what to ask when researching childcare in your area, use some of these questions for inspiration.
- What is the cost of your childcare services?
- How many other children will be cared for by each caretaker?
- What age of children do you care for?
- What are your hours of operation?
- What is your turnover rate for caretakers? Will my child be cared for by the same person for the full day or will they switch off?
- Do you provide diapers or snacks or will I need to provide them?
- Do you have a waitlist?
- Will you provide me with updates throughout the day?
How to Find the Best Daycare
If you’ve chosen to take the route of a group daycare facility, then there are a couple of steps you can take to ensure that you choose the best in your area. First of all, word of mouth is one of the best ways to ensure that you’ve chosen a great daycare facility for your child. Ask any other families who live near you and ask around your neighborhood to find out where most of the other young children go to daycare.
If you are new to the area, you can turn to social media and look for online parenting groups where you can find recommendations. Next, you’ll want to check online to see what the reviews say about the daycare facility. You should also call the daycare to find out if they have a high retention rate for families to find out if parents tend to keep their children in the program or if they end up pulling them out.
How to Find the Best Nannying Service
Nannying services may seem like the ideal childcare option for you and your family. In this instance, there are some additional steps you can take to ensure that you’ve chosen the best nannying service available to you and your family. There are a number of ways to go about finding a nanny in your area. You can do an online search and hire through a nannying service or you can create your own job posting online.
Once you’ve found a number of promising candidates you will want to conduct some in person interviews to get to know the nanny. Have plenty of questions prepared and have your child present for the interview to get an idea of how your child and the nanny interact with one another. You may even want to have the nanny watch your child while you are home for the first few times to give them some practice with your child and give you a chance to get to know them.
Mentally Prepare as Best as You Can
No matter which route you take, childcare is a stressful part of parenting. It can be very difficult to detach from being a parent and go to work while your child is being cared for elsewhere. Before your child’s first day of daycare or at home with their nanny, you’ll want to take some time to mentally prepare.
Understand that dropping your child off will likely be difficult and it may take some time to get used to this process. If you choose to take the group daycare route, there is a good chance that your child will catch a sickness from the other kids. Luckily, this exposure can help strengthen your baby’s new immune system so ultimately it is beneficial. Try to have patience and give yourself and your family some time to adjust to your new routine.
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