Finding a daycare for your child can be overwhelming. Although children usually quickly adjust, are well entertained and highly stimulated, the steps taken to find the right daycare will be fraught with decisions. Here are a few tips to consider when researching daycares near you, in no particular order.
Location: For me, this is an important one. I would suggest picking a daycare location that fits your family’s needs. Does it make sense to have the daycare close to home so others can help with pick up and drop off? Or would having the daycare closer to work make more sense, so you can get to your child faster if there is a need in the middle of the day. If a daycare seems exceptionally amazing but located 20 minutes away, it might end up being a lot more work than it’s worth logistically.
Cost: This can be a huge deciding factor for families. Make sure you ask about all fees including extras like early late drop off, lunch, extra programming fees, etc. Note that in Ontario now, daycares can no longer charge a wait list fee.
Waitlist: Check to see what the wait times are to get your child in. Some of them are over a year and may not meet your timeline.
Rules & Protocols: Be sure you take a close look into what the daycare’s rules are about things like naps, eating, and discipline. Do they let the kids nap as your child needs (two naps a day) or one prescribed nap per day? Does it matter if the food is organic? Make a priority list for your must-haves and your nice-to-haves.
Programs/Curriculum: Check out the room your child will be in. Meet the teachers. What does a typical day look like? Do the kids get gym every day? Take a look at what type of teaching they do i.e. play-based learning vs. Montessori.
Reviews: One of the best ways to determine if a daycare is right for you is to ask parents whose children attend or have attended that facility. Also consider joining mom groups on Facebook and candidly ask about people’s experiences.
After checking all these boxes, ultimately it’s about trusting your gut. Happy Hunting!
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