(Closed) The daycare decision…where to start

posted 7 years ago in Babies
Post # 3
Member
3176 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

It’s not to early to start looking at daycares IMO. We had parents who were trying to conceive come and view our center when I worked there. There were a lot of parents who didn’t really understand daycare and the concept that their child would not be the only one in the room but would instead be in with 8 other little ones and only 2 teachers. Actually seeing it might help you decide. We had a massive waiting list for our center. OUR policy (and everyone is different) was that you had to pay the reg fee to hold your spot and then if the spot opened before the baby was born and we had others on the wait list you had to pay the tuition to keep the spot.

Post # 4
Member
2512 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2011

Personally, 12 weeks to me seems too young. That’s just how I feel. My daughter went to daycare when she was 9 months and I bawled like a baby. I think if you can, wait it out a bit.

When it comes to choosing a daycare, well I went with an in-home daycare provider when she was that young because I felt it would have a more “homey” feel. I really regretted that later though. The provider had some good references but as time went on I realized she was nothing like she said. The whole talk about “no tv, lots of activities and home-cooked meals” is bs. The kids watched a bunch of tv while the parents were at work, they ate tons of hotdogs and didn’t really do many activities. The last straw was when I came to pick her up early once and heard her screaming at one of the kids from a few houses down. I later heard that a few months after we left she hit one of the kids. So really be careful with in home providers because they are alone with no other adults.

Anyways, I hope I helped a bit. Good luck!

Post # 5
Member
1820 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

It’s definitely not too early to start looking!  Where I live, everywhere has a huge wait list – you have to get on ASAP.  Looking will also give you a real sense of where your baby will be, who will be caring for your child, and how much it will cost.  (You might be surprised by the last one – the cheapest options here seem to start at about $1,000/month.)

Post # 6
Member
3176 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

To add, the price is usually ridiculous for a good center. When I left about a year ago our I/T rate was 295/week and I’m sure its more now. We had one couple with two kids that paid more in daycare than they did on their mortgage. Sometimes its cheaper not to work than it is to put your kids in daycare. Also you should make sure to find out how long the teachers have been there. Most places have a high turnover rate, also asking about ratios and checking how they keep track is important. I never lied to parents but I never brought up negatives about the center unless asked either, so you should ask a million questions.

Post # 8
Member
1820 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

@shelbifox15: Sorry for the cost comment – it sounds like you have very good idea of the daycare “investment.”  I read your OP to say that you were anticipating $400/month, and that seemed really low (although I have no idea how much things cost in SC!).

Post # 9
Member
801 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2008

For us it came down to my career goals and my personality making the decision of if I would be a Stay-At-Home Mom or a working mom.  If I were to be a Stay-At-Home Mom, I would want to do it until baby enters 1st grade so it would be at least a 5 year committment.  If I didn’t go back to work after baby I would lose quite a bit of momentum I have going with my career and it is important to me that I keep a majority of that.  Also, I have a personality type that truly needs outside interaction beyond mom groups and outings.  I need the time away to focus on something else even though in the beginning it will be one of the hardest things I ever do.  You may want to evaluate beyond the financial aspects, though I imagine you probably already are.  One child in a high end daycare in our area still allows me to bring home a large percentage of our income and we aren’t willing to give that up at this time in our lives.  My additional income will allow us to move to a better school district in a few years, save for our child’s education and fully pay for it, etc.  Those are things that are tremendously important to us.  It can be a very tough decision and whatever you decide will be absolutely right for you and your family.

In terms of when to start looking at daycares, a lot of what I heard was around the 5 month mark is good for our area where the really good daycares have a 6 to 8 month waiting list.

Post # 11
Member
2066 posts
Buzzing bee

I don’t think its too early for you to start researching your daycare options.  You sound like you are pretty analytical, so you will probably rest easier when you have all the facts before making your decision.  Talk to working and SAH moms to get their perspective on how they do it.  At the end of the day, you and husband have to do what is right for your family. 

Post # 12
Member
14186 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2009

I actually JUST went through the cost comparison for my area.

Nannies: ~$500/week

Daycare: ~$200

In-home daycare: $25-$30/day

I think a lot of women work is so they can maintain a lifestyle and have the income. I don’t loooove my job, but it’s okay and when i think about how we’d probably have to move into a smaller home/not as nice of an area, give up lots of things (getting my hair colored probably!), and be living more paycheck to paycheck than I am comfortable with, well, it cements my decision to work. There are things we want to do to the house, too–home improvements certainly take money. Plus, i remind myself that it’ll afford us the luxury of putting our kids through college. I’d say that’s a lifestyle choice, too. There are certain things i want to do/get our children and they ain’t free!

In-home daycare only ends up being about 15% of my current take home salary, plus it’s tax deductible. Frankly I thought it’d cost more–doing some research really paid off =]. Saving money is never a bad decision…if you hate your job, though, you could always look to go with another firm that is more flexible. We have accountants and finance people at my company who have flexible schedules and lots of family-friendly benefits. You can always quit down the road if it doesn’t feel worth it, or go part time.

eta: early retirement. that’s a big one!

Post # 13
Member
2090 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

I don’t think its too early to start looking – it’s a really important decision, and lots of places have long waitlists.

You could start with checking out daycare centers that are close to your home/work, just to narrow down some choices. I would then call and make sure they were licensed/insured/etc. (not sure which state agency in your state would do that), and see what the ratios of children:teachers is, and what sorts of activities they provide. Once you have a few choices, I would go and visit with them – see what sort of vibe you get from the staff, the kids and the rooms themselves.

My husband and I are also really big about what the child would be doing there during the day and what they would eat (this mostly pertains to toddlers, as with babies you bring their food with them). I don’t think TV is the devil, but I don’t need to pay someone $1k a month to sit my kid in front of a TV and feed them junk. We want a daycare that’s really more school-centered (craft activities, languages, reading development, etc.), so that they are learning while they are there and not just wasting time.

I totally hear you on the “fluffy”ness of others. I have a friend who makes considerably less money than my husband and I, and has 2 kids. When I asked her about college she’s like “meh, that’s a long way off”, whereas we have just started saving for college and are not even TTC yet! I also hate the “everything will work out” mentality – things generally work out for the best when you work at them.

I don’t think its selfish/crazy to want to maintain your lifestyle either. In talking about TTC, my husband and I are having very similar talks. We could live on his income alone, but not if we wanted to maintain our “lifestyle”, which we enjoy. We also wouldn’t be able to save money for college, for retirement, etc. which is super important to us.

Post # 14
Member
6009 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: May 2009

I don’t love my job, but it pays well, and I never thought I’d want to be a stay at home mom because I’m typically not very self-motivated.  But the moment I had my daughter, I couldn’t imagine leaving her.  It was so SO hard to go back to work after 3 months maternity leave, and it hasn’t gotten that much better.  I think if you’re in a job you love, or a career you’re really passionate about, it’s easier.  Not really the case for me, and within a month of coming back to work, my husband and I started planning for me to stay home.  We have a nanny, and even though I know Addie’s getting the best of care, it stills kills me to leave her every morning.  🙁  I can’t wait until I can stay home and spend more time with her.

I don’t think this is true of everyone; some people hate their jobs and still would rather work than be at home all day because of their personalities.  But I firmly believe you’re not going know what you really want until that little person comes into the world because having a child changes you and changes your priorities.  As far as planning ahead, I think it’s a great idea to have a couple different plans in place depending on what you decide you want after tha baby is born.  Most daycares will let you “get on the list” without a firm commitment or placement fees, but you should ask the daycare to make sure.  Another option might be finding out if you can work from home part-time or full-time with your current job.  And if you’re concerned that you would be losing about 1k/month (the “extra” $400 + the $500-$600 for your husband’s insurance) to stay home full-time, maybe look into work from home or freelance jobs.  These suggestions are, of course, based on my experience, so they might not work for you.  🙂

Post # 15
Member
540 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

I was a stay at home mom/full time university student for the first year of my daughter’s life and it wasn’t necessarily by choice. I couldn’t fathom her being watched my a non family member and we simply couldn’t afford it. Needless to say I was lonely, resentful of my husband for his free/adult time and hated not bringing home my own paycheck.

Now I work part time and go to school full time and my daughter is in a home daycare. She loves the lady and so do I. She’s affordable, I work and get to maintain my sanity and we actually have extra money at the end of the month. 

In your case I’m not sure how I would feel about leaving my baby at 12 weeks. At one years old I was able to tell if something wasn’t right with my daughter. If I were you and I had the option to stay at home and still be financially secure and have a nice social life…I would stay at home.

Hope this helps!

Post # 16
Member
2538 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

I’m 15 weeks today and my husband and I have talked about daycare. Wombat, our baby, will be going at 12 weeks because I’ll have to go back to work and he’ll, hopefully, be in grad school. He’s unemployed at the moment, so there’s no choice, but me working and him doing whatever happens in the next couple of months. Because we’re in need of some savings, if he does have a job or grad school, I’ll still have to work. Yes, 12 weeks may be early, but sometimes there’s no other choice. I say start looking so you’re not pushing it opff and off and then, all of a sudden, you have a baby in need of daycare.

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