Choosing a daycare for your child can be a daunting task. You want to make sure that you are getting the best possible care for your child, but you also know that there are many other factors that come into play. While obviously the teachers and the facility are very important, a lot of the choice will come down to your budget and location. There could be a great school for your child, but if it’s all the way across town or is so far out of your budget, it’s just not going to happen.
So how do you find the perfect daycare for your child? Here are six things to think about:
1. Location, location, location. Does it make sense to drive 15 minutes out of your way every day to take your child to school? Is there a comparable facility right near your house or on your way to work? Let’s face it, we want the best school for our children, but do we want to be completely inconvenienced by it?
2. Cost. How much are you willing to spend? We spent over a $1000 per kid for one highly accredited program, but we also found a great facility for under $600. It’s important to find that perfect balance.
3. What kind of curriculum do they offer. Is your kid going to be sitting on a swing all day or are they going to be learning? We always got a sheet from the school telling us what they did that day. I can’t be so sure that my ten-month-old child actually painted a picture, but it was nice to know that were actually doing something with him instead of having him sit in a corner somewhere.
4. Is there an outdoor space? I was very happy that two of the schools/ daycare facilities that we used had excellent outdoor spaces. It gives the kids a chance to run around instead of being cooped up inside all day. This can be hard to find in inner city locations, but kids need air and space.
5. Are they flexible? You need to know if their hours match up with yours. If you know that you are going to be late for pick up, will they accommodate you? Your hours aren’t always the same, so you need to find a place that can adapt to your schedule as much as possible.
6. References. ALWAYS ask for references. Whether it’s a friend or someone that the school offers, make sure you find out exactly what the school is like. For us, this was an easy task. My nephews attended a preschool in town and if it was good enough for my sister-in-law, it was good enough for me. This might take a little digging to find out everything that you need to know, but will be well worth it in the end.