Need to find daycare for your baby? Here's what I learned:
· Get a list of daycares from the state department. They can run a list based on location and other details.
· Most daycares are open weekdays sometime between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. If you're needing evening, night or weekend help, consider family or friends or get creative to find daycares that might specialize in those hours.
· Daycare costs depend on the location and setting. Our in-home daycare in the midwest is $125 a week. Facility daycare is often the more expensive of the two.
· At-home daycares have a personal touch, but avoid any that seem like a glorified babysitter. The thing we liked about ours is that she also gives the kids a structured schedule like dance time, teaches them colors and even some sign language, etc.—personal and educational. She also has a section of her house specifically for her at-home daycare, which caught our attention.
· Daycares have different closing/sick policies. Facility daycares usually have subs if a worker is sick so don't close. There was one or two days that our at-home provider had family emergencies and asked if we could get someone else to watch Brylee. This may be a deciding factor for/against a daycare, or just be prepared with a plan b. (Family member or talk to work about their personal day policies.)
· Daycares are very limited on the number of infants they can take because of the one-on-one time they need. When we started looking in May '08 (Brylee was 5 months old) most providers didn’t have openings until summer '09. Don’t wait until the baby’s born to choose a provider.
On a personal level:
· I go back and forth between loving and hating the working-mother thing. At minimum, I usually want to change up my schedule so I can at least get afternoons with Brylee. Or, ideally, I’d like Daniel and me to stagger our schedules so Brylee wouldn’t have to go to daycare at all.
· Even when my mother-instinct says that she isn't sick, we'd still have to stay home because, in that case, daycare rules.
Baby Center is a recourse I’ve used a lot. They have lists and articles to help consider things that might otherwise be overlooked. It also sometimes helps to see responses of other people in similar situations.