Looking for a daycare facility can be one of the toughest searches you experience. There is so much to consider and you always want to make sure you make the right decision when it comes to your little ones care. If you are going back to work because you want to or because you have to you will put a lot of thought into the daycare you choose and the choice won’t be as simple as centre, home daycare or nanny. There are some additional requirements that should be considered when looking for daycare for your child. Here are just a few extra things I learned to look for when making the daycare decisions for my family.
Proximity to home: Sometimes it might seem like a good idea to find care close to your place of employment. You get to spend a little more time with your little one each day, even if it is commute time. You are most likely closer to them if you get those dreaded emergency calls in the middle of the day. It gives you peace of mind knowing you are close to them and can be there quickly if you need to. There is, however, a flip side to the coin. I know us mum’s are not supposed to get sick, however if you do and really need a day in bed to recover, getting your child to a daycare close to the office might not be as easy as if your caregiver was just around the corner. The same goes for vacation days, most of my vacation days are taken to enjoy extra time with my family, however sometimes I do need to take even half a day to run errands or attend appointments for myself. I’d really rather not bring my two year old with me while I get a physical. In those cases I always find it easier for my children to be in a daycare close to my home.
Language: It’s not something that might be at the forefront of your decision making during your search however it is something that should be thought of. If English is not your first language spoken at home, you might want to search out a facility where your native language is spoken. Or perhaps it’s just the opposite, maybe you are looking to introduce English to your children and would like English to be the main language of the caregiver. You can find centres and home facilities alike that offer care in many languages; French, Spanish, Chinese amongst them. With Mr. T, his first daycare provider was not a native English speaker, he was the only child in her care besides her own son and for that reason she spent a lot of time speaking her native tongue. It was only after we changed daycare providers that we realized it was impeding his speaking ability. Within a week at his new facility, where English was the main language spoken, his vocabulary exploded. The main language spoken during care is something you want to think about before beginning your daycare search and you should have many options available.
Food: Some care providers require you to bring lunch for your child and some prepare meals and snacks for them. If you have a preference you will want to search out facilities that cater to your preferences. If your daycare provider will be preparing their meals you may want to ask for some sample menus. It was very important to me that my kids eat homemade food as much as possible so that was one of the first questions I asked in all of my interviews. We were so fortunate to find someone who made homemade meals each and every day. My kids were treated to delicious homemade soups, pasta sauces and even perogies! Sometimes they would prefer their meals at daycare which definitely took a little getting used to!
Facilities: Taking a tour of the facilities is necessary. Will they be in an area with a lot of light and space for them to play? I wasn’t comfortable with my children being in a dark basement all day long but I did prefer home daycares over large centres. Is there a quiet, comfortable place for them to nap? Take a look at the toys and craft supplies available, are they clean, well-cared for and age appropriate? Ask about where they will be spending time outdoors. Is there a park nearby? Will they be going for walks and if so are there safe walkways available? IS there a back yard available for when they just need a few minutes of fresh air? Is the bathroom easily accessible to kids? Potty training little ones are often in a rush to get to the bathroom! Making sure the facilities are up to your expectations is very important and you should make time for a thorough walk through.
Searching for daycares really is emotional. It is scary and requires a lot of thought, research and interviewing. Go into the process with a good idea of what you are looking for. The types of facilities that you are comfortable with. How do you imagine your child’s day to be when you aren’t there with them? It’s not as simple as home daycare of large centre. You have to take into consideration so many little nuances that may not be as obvious. I had opinions I didn’t even know I had until after we had begun the search and some even after my children were already in care. Your transition from stay at home mum to working mum will be difficult regardless of how happy you are with your daycare choices, but it can be made a little easier if you take even minor details into consideration.