So…WHY should I let you watch my child?

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?

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6 Responses to So…WHY should I let you watch my child?

  1. Sara says:

    You also want to ask if they feed breastfed babies on demand. This is a deal-breaker. What do they do if you run out of pumped breastmilk? What do they have in place to prevent you from running out of milk? What is the provider/child ratio? What happens if the baby starts to cry and they are attending another child? What is their idea of “discipline?” (You want to make sure they don’t think it’s acceptable to swat a baby for “disobeying.”)

    Just a few more. I’ll keep thinking.

  2. Danielle says:

    These are good, Meghan! Ask if they do anything to track developmental progress. Christopher’s daycare workers hung stuffed birds from the ceiling and watched to see if the babies would track them with their eyes in developmentally appropriate ways, for example. You can never have too many people evaluating that kind of stuff. Also, ask about pop-in visits…good places will tell you that you can walk in to see your kid without advance notice whenever you want. You might want to ask for parent references when you narrow it down to two or three places. You can also check inspection reports; most states require they be filed and available to the public.
    Good luck!

    • meghanmuses says:

      Thanks so much for the advice, Dee! We went to our first appointment last night and we absolutely LOVED them! We had a ton of questions and they were great about taking the time to answer them and walk us through the typical day for the kids. Thankfully, they still had an opening, so we’ve reserved a spot for now. But we’re still going to look at other places before we officially decide – next tour is Thursday. I’ll definitely be asking your questions 🙂 Thanks again!

  3. Katherine says:

    Meghan,
    I’m (a lot) late posting a response but if you haven’t found a place yet consider this. Now this is the pediatric nurse in me talking, but find out what first aid certifications they have! They should all be CPR/AED certified through either the Red Cross or American Heart Association. Also, make sure that they’re renewing they’re certifications every year because it’s definitely somewhat of a “use it or lose it” skill.
    Good luck!

    • meghanmuses says:

      Thanks for the advice, Katherine! We did find a place we love and I made sure to check that all the caregivers were certified – it was a high priority for us! We even took a friends and family class to learn the basics just so we were aware; it’s always best to be prepared!

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