If you are a mama who utilizes childcare during the day, it can be daunting to find the perfect daycare! There are so many options! Do not feel alone if you feel anxiety and stress behind finding the perfect daycare for your little one.
There are so many choices, especially in the DFW area. Before you take a stab at finding the right daycare, consider these factors to help you narrow your search to the perfect place.
Age of Your Child
The first time around, I assumed all daycares accepted infants. I was quickly corrected! Not all daycares take children at six weeks old, so be sure to know what age you want your little one to start daycare.
Daycare can provide sticker shock, so take a deep breath and recognize childcare can be a significant part of your budget. Look at what you can actually afford for childcare and how the childcare facilities charge.
Some charge monthly, which can keep costs consistent every month regardless of how many weeks are in the month. Some daycares charge weekly, so months with five weeks will be more expensive.
Additionally, there are other expenses such as administrative costs and supplies that are usually charged once a year.
Schedule of Daycare
Knowing the hours you will need care is so important. Some families only need half-day programs, some part-time, and some full time. If you are a working parent, you may need before-school care and aftercare. Know that these extra hours often bring an additional cost, so take that into consideration.
>> RELATED READ :: Guide to Childcare in the Fort Worth Area <<
Another not-so-happy surprise is knowing that daycares are typically closed on holidays, springs breaks, winter breaks, and more. Ask which school district it bases its schedule on. Make sure you know what its calendar is and plan accordingly for those spring breaks and holiday breaks.
Some daycares follow a very strict curriculum while some have much more fluidity. Spend time with the director of the daycare to understand what the curriculum is in each age group. This allows you to determine how important it is to have more curriculum that is akin to Montessori methods and others that are akin to home-based centers.
>> LISTEN :: The Educate Debate :: Momfessions Podcast <<
Think about the type of environment your child needs and the type of structure that works best for your child’s personality. Does your child need a set routine or more free play?
This may be the most important part of choosing a daycare: The best sources of finding a daycare are from your mom friends and your community! Utilize your network to get real feedback and reviews from parents who have had experiences at the daycares you are exploring. Look these places up on social media and read the reviews. You will learn so much from other moms and dads.
Once you have some schools narrowed down, tour the school. Ask questions about teacher tenure and turnover. Come up with a list of questions that are important for your family and be sure to have a good connection with the director.
>> RELATED READ :: Daycare Options in the Fort Worth Area <<
Do not be afraid to get as much information as you can over the phone before you schedule the tour. Ask them the questions you need answers to, including budget, hours, schedule, and discipline strategies before you go. This will allow you to make sure you spend your time at your soon to be daycare home.
At the end of the day, trust your gut. It will tell you what feels good and what does not for your kid. Happy searching, mama!