Daycare…already?

We are pregnant with baby #2 so you would think we had everything down to a T.  We’ve done this before, right?  I guess there is something to be learned with each pregnancy and sometimes it is the same lesson twice.

In the months leading up to your bundle of joy joining your family there are a million things you are going to think about.  Do I go back to work or stay at home? Do I want my child cared for by a nanny, daycare or mother’s day out? There are so many options.  I recommend you thinking this over sooner than later.  Of course, if you are well on your way and haven’t done this yet don’t fret.  Everything works out, but you should probably get started soon.

Pregnancy #1 — We decided to go the daycare route so at 14 weeks I started looking at daycares near our home.  There were three that I was interested in.  One I was able to easily get in, the second I was 7th on the waiting list for a spot 8 months down the road and the 3rd I had the number 1 spot.  Needless to say, we never got in the daycare where we were first on the list and the one we were in 7th called us a couple weeks after we started the other daycare.

Pregnancy #2 — We were told that parents of existing children were always first on the list so I thought no big deal on time.  I turned in the paperwork around 17/18 weeks and we were told they would confirm us a spot 2 months later than what we actually need.  We are still debating what to do in this situation…

Things to consider when selecting your daycare:

Location

Do you want a daycare near work or near home?  I selected one near home because I didn’t want to be solely responsible for picking up and dropping off every day.  I go into work early every morning so my husband gets the baby ready and drops him off. I like this because it gives them time to bond and helps divide up the responsibility. Then in the afternoon I pick him up and get him ready for bed in the evening.  We each get our time.

I know that some people choose a location close to work because they may not have flexible hours and others because they want to be able to drop in on their lunch hour for a visit and some even go to do feedings. 

I strongly believe in sharing the role, but ultimately you have to do what is right for your family.

Budget

Some daycares you can pay weekly, some bi-weekly and others monthly. Be sure to check with your company to discuss the flex plan offer.  You can take out a certain amount of money pre tax to pay for daycare.  You should definitely consider this because with the money being pulled pre tax you probably won’t even miss it.

Offerings

Is it faith based, do they have curriculum, what activities do they offer, is there an afternoon program for school kids, do they provide snacks and lunch?

Schedule

What are their daily hours, what is their holiday schedule? Our daycare is associated with a private school and they close 4 weeks out of the year.  This threw a kink in things, but we really liked the school so we talked to family members to figure out how we could juggle these 4 weeks.

Policies

Understand their policies.  What happens if I am late picking up? What if my child has a temperature, what if I decide to switch daycares or stay at home what is the process/timing for notifying the school? Potty training, biting, etc?

You can research daycares on the Department of Child and Safety Services site http://www.dfps.state.tx.us/.

I also recommend asking your friends, family, co-workers, fellow church members, neighbors and so on.  Having this network is huge…Leverage it!

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