To get your child into some of the most popular programs, your search should begin during pregnancy, but if you’re just starting out, begin by pinpointing the type of care you need.
“Simply by knowing what kind of schedule is needed on a weekly or monthly basis makes a world of difference,” says Lauren Hardy, Owner of Sitting Made Simple Cincinnati. Determine if you need part- or full-time care, because child care is a giant expense and that will make a big difference to your monthly budget.
What Can YOU Afford?
Know your numbers when you start looking for care so you can comparison shop based on what you can afford. You may believe that the dynamics of group day care will be best for your child or you may decide to pay top dollar for a nanny to care for your baby only. Costs vary by the age of your child, the maintenance required and the number of children in care, according to care.com. Also know that while costs can be relatively high, it’s not necessarily true that high cost means best care.
The “quality” of your child’s care boils down to who directly cares for him. Regardless of what type of care you choose; i.e. in-home group care, part- or full-time child care or a nanny, you need to feel OK about your care providers first, and work to form a strong relationship with them.
Identify a good care center by its director and the number of years it has been in business; its up-to-date credentials; clear rules and regulations; firm operating policies; and pickup and drop-off times. A great care situation has all of that plus long-time caregivers who keep up with current training and early childcare research.
Word-of-mouth is your most powerful resource during your hunt for care. Ask friends and family; ask your OB-GYN; ask at your church and review the resources here in “The Everything Lists.” Good luck!