So it's that time of year when many of my friends are starting to head back to work after their year of maternity (some thing we work at home mom's luckily don't have to think about) and now they are thinking about where to bring their babies. A few have sought my advice, for some reason they think I have a degree in Mary Poppinsism, well maybe I do, after all (here's where I toot my own horn, feel free to look away), I did run my own daycare centre for over 16 years.
The first thing a parent needs to think about is what kind of care would suit their child best, a large group centre where there are usually 10 children per caregiver, a licensed family centre, where the caregiver has anywhere from 2 - 8 children, which allows siblings to stay together or a smaller unlicensed home, where caregivers can have their own children plus 2. Does your child like more one on one contact or do they flourish in a louder, busier environment? Don't forget there are also Nannies, something I will talk about more later on, for now I'll concentrate on Daycares.
It's a good idea to check out at least 2 facilities in each category, so 6 all together. Once you know what type of place you're looking for, it's a good idea to get on as many wait lists as possible, in some neighbourhoods it can take up to a year before there is an opening, so it's best to be prepared early so you don't feel like you're settling for a less than perfect place for your little angel.
The next step is setting up appointments, some places will be ok with you coming by while they are operating, some won't. This could be a red flag...or not. When I ran my daycare I choose to do the first interview alone with the family (without their child), that way they could have my undivided attention. I also felt it was not fair to the children I cared for to have different people in and out not only taking up my time with questions and away from properly caring for them, but for privacy and respect for the families I had already welcomed into my home.
To be continued....time to check on my sleeping kiddos. = )