I’m the first to admit it: sometimes I don’t know what the hell I’m doing with this whole “Mommy” business, and the whole picking-out-a-daycare thing is one of those times.
I’ve been religiously following my checklist on The Bump, and apparently I’m a little behind in interviewing potential daycare facilities. I really didn’t think anything of it at first because, honestly, I didn’t think it would be THAT hard to find a great daycare near my house. Apparently I was wrong. On so, so many levels.
First, there are NO daycares in my town which offer an infant care program. I’m going to have to drive to neighboring towns to find a place. This isn’t too bad for me because I live in a fairly populated suburban area, so by expanding my search a few miles, I was able to locate several reputable facilities within a 15-minute drive.
Second, and third, and fourth: I should have started looking at places WAY sooner than now. Apparently infant care programs are in high demand and there are waiting lists at most places. Also, scheduling tours of the facilities was harder than I thought it would be. Come on, people. I’m looking at daycares because I need someone to look after my child during the DAY; you know, when I’m at WORK. So when your facility only offers tours from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., it makes it a little difficult for me…because I’m at WORK. And speaking of tours; WHY is taking a tour and meeting with people the only way I can get information on your tuition rates? Sneaky bastards. Say the tour is fabulous and I absolutely love the facility and all the people who work there, then BAM, you hit me with a tuition that’s more than double what I can afford. I wouldn’t have even bothered to schedule time out of my work day to visit here if I knew I couldn’t afford it. Sneaky, sneaky.
After coming to all of the realizations in a mode of panic, I calmed myself by making plans. And by making plans, I mean making appointments. For the damned tours. Another part of my plan? Having the hubs look over our financial situation to see what exactly we can afford in a daycare. OK, so the tours are scheduled and we have a range of tuition fees we can afford. I felt a little better.
Until I realized the first tour is this afternoon and I have no idea what I’m supposed to do when I get there. I mused aloud to the hubby last night and came up with a list of things we should be looking at when we go to the facility, along with some questions I should probably ask. But I know I’m forgetting a crapload of stuff, so I’d really appreciate any feedback from other parents who have already gone through this process. Here’s what I came up with:
- The overall look of the facility – is it clean, how many rooms are there, how is it set up, what is the parking situation, etc.
- Do the infants have their own room?
- How many children are in the infant care program at a time?
- How many adults are working with the infants?
- What sort of activities are planned for the infants? (i.e. tummy time, music, sensation stimulation, etc.)
- How do they keep parents informed of a child’s progress?
- Facility policies: tuition, sick child, hours, etc.
- Information about other programs (toddler, pre-K, etc.)
What am I missing? Is this a good start?