Are you deciding on a daycare for your child? For me, staying at home with my children would be ideal. (And in a way, it is what I would like to do.) But, I actually find pleasure in sending my kids to daycare! My husband and I are full-time working parents, and childcare is a necessity for our family. While it provides our children care while we are working, it also gives us the chance to take a much-needed break when we don’t have to work to simply enjoy a quiet house!
But finding the right daycare was not an easy decision for us. Who was going to take care of my kids the way I would? Would they be patient, teach them the essentials, and encourage their growth? And how would my kids respond to a new environment and new people — for a whole day?
Factors when Deciding on a Daycare
After seeking recommendations from friends, family, and acquaintances, I realized that I had to do my own research when deciding on a daycare. I wasn’t buying a new television. I was sending my precious children into the arms of someone I didn’t know for an extended period of time. There were certain things I found vital in making the right decision for my children and family. And I realized that beyond seeking out the perfect caregiver — I needed to ask myself what was important to me.
1. Location, Location, Location
You hear it all the time: “Location is everything!” And it is. Having a daycare that’s close to your home or work is key! It allows you the opportunity to pop in when you might be needed. Because … it’s always needed! It’s important for the daycare workers to know you are present and will be present whenever you feel the need.
When your child is sick and needs to come home, being close allows you to get to your child in record time. And it decreases the stress of worrying about if you can make it to them or not.
2. Daycare Decor
When I toured daycares in the area, I took note of how I felt when I walked in. I wanted my children to feel happy and excited simply from the ambiance as soon as they arrived. I said it — a daycare should have an ambiance. Bright colors, pictures, paintings, and more! Studies have shown that our moods and behaviors are dictated by our environments. And while my young children’s moods change like the wind, they need an environment that promotes happiness and joy. I wanted their daycare to be a place that creates a conducive learning environment to continue their growth.
3. Daycare Curriculum
I think that daycares should have a curriculum. Many centers call themselves “Learning Centers” to indicate they are not just babysitting services, but centers that incorporate education. No matter your child’s age — from infant to toddlers — they are ALWAYS learning. So, it’s important to know what curriculum they use to educate your child.
Do you agree or feel comfortable with the curriculum? Does it line up with the values and desires you have for your child? Some of the more popular curricula I’ve encountered in my research include the A beka and Creative curriculum. Some centers even incorporate both.
4. Teacher Longevity
Children need stability. When I do a tour and hear that multiple teachers have been there greater than 5 to 10 years, it speaks to the center and their ability to take care of their teachers along with the teacher’s satisfaction with their job.
At one daycare, I experienced my daughter being switched to a different classroom. The next week, the teacher quit. As a mom, I was a bit devastated. She was working with my daughter on potty training, and getting great success. She was an awesome teacher, but now we were back to square one! Her next teacher was simply not the same and it took a while for both my daughter and myself to adjust!
5. Daycare Tuition and Fees
Did I say location is everything? Well, the price is a close second. And let’s be honest, the price of childcare could turn you into a stay-at-home mom!
Depending on your child’s age and potty training status, the price can fluctuate. While every family’s budget is different, it’s important to look at everything the tuition includes. Does it include breakfast, lunch, and snacks? Does it include before and after care? Are there curriculum fees, registration fees, uniform fees, or late fees? Fees, fees, fees — oh my!
If you’re like this working mom, choosing the right daycare is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make concerning your child. Take your time. Do the research. Trust your gut. Figure out what’s important to you. And know that you are a great mom, whether you stay at home or choose to put your kids in daycare!
What factors did you consider when deciding on a daycare?