Post # 1
My husband and I are having our first baby! I am due March 31st and plan on taking three months off work, but then going back full time.
My question is when did you start looking for childcare? and what type of questions did you ask? Also, besides word of mouth, how did you find someone that you felt comfortable with?
Post # 3
I’ve actually already started looking now and I’m not due till April 30th. I know of some places that have over a year wait list. So I was looking at some places and just emailing them to see if there is a wait list.
Word of mouth, local mommy boards and local boards on the bump.
State certification would be a big thing for me.
I would ask to see if I can sit in with a class for a little while.
It’s my understand that each facility has their own “children raising” philosophies. Whether they do holidays, how they handle children conflict, etc. Make sure your comfortable with their philosophies.
ETA: I’m OK with our baby being in a “glorified babysitter” day care up until 18 months. But once they are past that I want them in a center that actually teaches, ie Montessori, etc.
And I just assumed you meant a center not nanny?
Post # 4
I think a lot of this depends on where you live. I started looking near the beginning of my second trimester, and some of the places I called estimated an 18 month wait for a spot in the infant room. We actually ended up placing DS in our second choice of daycare (which was a great center, just inconveniently located) since our first choice didn’t have any spots for us after we got on their wait list when I was about 7 months pregnant. So I guess I’m voting for “the earlier, the better.”
I visited a ton of centers, and after seeing a few I had a much better idea of what I was looking for. Ultimately, one of the things that sold me on our first choice of daycares was just the overall atmosphere: it wasn’t the nicest facility by any means, but the kids just seemed so calm and happy and secure there, whereas some other centers just felt hectic or more on edge. One thing I really liked was scheduling my visits right around pick up or drop off time when I could accost other parents and ask them about their experiences with the center.
One place I started was the NAEYC website, where I looked up accredited centers. Then I searched around on various forums and parent listserves in my area for recommendations and comments.
There have been other posts on this topic on these boards (I’m pretty sure I actually started one a while ago!) that may be helpful too.
Post # 5
@tallgal: I don’t have kids but I am a childcare provider and so I thought I would give you a few tips on finding childcare.
First, I would start looking only after you’ve given birth so then you can get a feel for what you really want/need in terms of childcare. This way you’ll be able to express to possible childcare providers your baby’s needs and personality.
Second, I’m not sure where you live but in my area in Canada, many daycare facilities do not have a lot of space for really young babies. This will probably mean that you may have to consider a private, home daycare run by another mom or something who has fewer kids under her care and therefore can pay more attention to your child.
Third, if you do go the route of a nanny, make sure you have face-to-face interviews obviously, and ask LOTS of questions. You want to know about any childcare provider’s experience, how they would react in certain situations, what they plan on doing to entertain your child, their views on health and nutrition, even their religious views. You’ll also want any documents that are necessary (criminal record check, CPR/First Aid, as well as anything else you can think of). Here is a sample interview sheet to give you a better idea about the process: http://www.babycenter.com/0_nanny-interview-sheet_1450905.bc
I’m not sure what else to mention, other than that there are many great nanny agencies online and many not-so-great ones. I would go by word-of-mouth first and then branch out if necessary. Feel free to PM me if you have any other questions!
Post # 6
Here in Seattle, I heard you have to look a year before you plan to have them in daycare. So for me I should be looking for childcare now since I plan to TTC at the end of this year. Crazy!
I’m going to wait til I get pregnant because I’m not planning on finding a daycare in Seattle. I live outside of the city so hopefully it shouldn’t be too hard. (I hope.)
Post # 7
When I worked in childcare we had numerous families come in to tour the center well in advance of the baby being born, we had a very long wait list. I’m in the “sooner-the-better” camp.
Post # 8
I think it depends on what type of care you’re interested in, so that’s probably the decision you have to make first. We had a private nanny, when I first went back to work, so we didn’t start the hiring process until our daughter was about a month old (i.e. two months before I went back to work). If you are looking at daycare, you then need to decide if you want a center or an in-home daycare. Centers tend to fill up more quickly and have longer waiting lists, while in-home daycares are usually easier to get into. Hope this helps!
Post # 9
I just started looking earlier this month, and I’m due in 6 days. That being said, I will not be needing daycare until March/April 2012. I think we have ours picked.
I heard a lot of stories about long waiting lists, but we’ve had no trouble. Every center we’ve looked at (except one, that I didn’t want to use anyways) has had an opening, and will hold it for us if we provide a deposit.
We briefly considered an in-home daycare, but we quickly decided against it. Most of the in home daycares in my area are one person shops that can only take 1-2 infants. The centers we looked at have room for 5-10 infants and have multiple people assigned to just the infant area. Also, the hours are a little more flexible (we both work early and commute, we’d need to drop her off around 6 am).
Post # 10
Depends. I am in NYC, and Fiance and I have already sort of planned our childcare plan. I plan to get in an application as soon as we plan to start trying to have children. The city is brutal and you need the right nursery to get you into the proper preschool and most importantly into the right Kindergarten.
In NYC, its all about the funelling system. If you want your kid at Nightengale or Horace Mann, you need to get them in the right nursery school.
Post # 11
I am due next april but already started calling places to get an idea of prices etc.., you dont want t wait til the last minute and then be stunned by how much it costs, plus some places you have to register early.
Post # 12
I’m due April 16. I wasn’t planning on looking yet, but then my friend who used to work for the Daycare Council of New York said I should start looking now, because some places have waitlists of a up to a year.
This one place we liked is $1900 a month, which pretty much freaked us out because that’s more than our rent.
Post # 13
@mrsjazz: Yeah, my fave is 30K…thats more than I earned at my first job before taxes!
Post # 14
I started looking about a month before the baby was born. I was taking 8 weeks off after the baby, but then going back full time. I met with a lot of sitters in home dacares as well as chlild care facilities. I went with a home daycare, and asked around about her. I called the state office to see if there was anything that was ever reported against her. There wasnt lol. I then met with her again. she was a certified nurse to that helped me knowing that she has some medical knowledge. I then between the time that I had the baby and when he needed tostart going to the sitter I would just pop in to see the house. To make sure that it wasnt just clean when she knew I was coming. I stayed a few hours one day to see how she ran things and how the kids interacted with her and eachother. It took some time for me to be completely comfortable. I still cried the first few times I dropped him off at the sitter. Its hard to leave your baby, but do your homework and find someone that you are comfy with.
Post # 15
@tallgal: It depends on the kind of childcare you are looking for. Are you going to use daycare or employ a nanny? We didn’t start seriously looking for childcare until after the baby was born. We went the nanny route and found a wonderful woman through a coworker of my husband. In my area, there are a lot of nannies available but they are often looking to be employed immediately so there wasn’t much we could have done very far in advance. But when you do start speaking to possible childcare providers, from a practical standpoint, there are certain administrative things you should absolutely ask or discuss at the very beginning. Like, what the hours will be, how and when she will be paid, number of vacation and sick days, overtime, what other chores might be expected, etc. When you have a nanny, you are very very dependent on this one person, so you really need to make sure everyone has the same expectations at the start.