20 Nov The Best Time To Start Looking For a Child Care Facility and Important Factors to Consider
During your pregnancy, there are countless things to think about to best prepare for the arrival of your new bundle of joy. While you are choosing colors for your nursery, paging through endless name books, and searching for the perfect stroller, it’s important that you and your significant other consider your child care options. Although daycare and preschool seem like such a faraway event, it’s essential that you start comprising a list of potential locations. Child care facilities notoriously fill up quick, and the last thing you want to hear is the infamous “you’ve been waitlisted” line. Now, this doesn’t mean that you have to sign your baby up for preschool before you even reach your third trimester, but some planning is advised.
When to Look and What to Consider
The ideal time to start looking for the perfect daycare/preschool facility for your child truly depends on the area you live in and the options available to you. If you live in a major city, waiting lists for top child care facilities can range anywhere from six months to a year. For the most prestigious of child care centers, wait lists can far exceed a year, requiring parents to plan far in advance. While you are waiting for your newborn to make its way to the world, you may want to put your feelers out and start looking for recommendations for the perfect place. We suggest going on a few tours and talk to the employees there to see what your next step should be. It’s probably safe to assume that you can wait for the interview process until the baby comes.
If you decide to take tours of care centers early, here are a few things to be on the lookout for:
- The class size: To ensure that your child doesn’t get lost in the mix of children, it’s important to consider class size. Usually, a maximum of six to eight babies is optimal.
- The environment: A stimulating environment is the key to excellent child care centers. Take note of the verbal and physical communication between children and caregivers, as well as the toys they have available for them. Activities should have plenty of singing, talking, reading, dancing, etc.
- Cleanliness: A clean and healthy setting will only reduce the possibility of your child coming home sick. Don’t be afraid to ask about their routine maintenance, how they sanitize the toys, etc.
If you do decide to apply to a preschool center early and still manage to get placed on the waitlist, don’t fret. Your best option is to remain in contact with the administrators so your baby doesn’t fall off their radar. In the meantime, be sure to have a second and third option if your first doesn’t work out.