The process of returning to work after maternity leave can be a daunting one for many parents. Add in the pressure of choosing child care for your child while you are at work and it can all seem a bit overwhelming.
It’s a scenario I have faced twice and each time, I’ve learned more about how I could have made choosing child care an easier process.
I’m sharing my tips with you now.
Tips for choosing Child Care:
1. Plan ahead
The biggest mistake I made first time around was leaving choosing child care so late that my options were very limited.
I had wrongly made the assumption that there would be a number of day care centres for me to choose from and I’d easily find one locally.
When I applied for the centre nearest to my home, I was told there was a two year wait list. TWO years!
To get my baby in, I would have had to apply before I was even pregnant. Actually, I would have had to apply before we had even made the decision to start a family.
My advice would be to check out your local child care providers as soon as you start to try for a baby. Get an idea of their application and wait list process and how long they expect you to be waiting for a space.
That way, you can at least look into alternative options if you need to.
2. Consider all options
We knew from early on that our choice was going to be a day care centre. We wanted our kids to have interaction with a lot of other children, the variety of education and a ‘classroom’ environment as they got a little older.
However whilst I was looking for local care, I discovered that there were many options we could consider from babysitters to nannies, family day care to preschools.
Research all options available to you thoroughly to make a really informed decision.
3. Get recommendations
Ask your friends and colleagues with kids for their opinion.
Who do they recommend? What did, and did not, work for them?
Just keep in mind that you need to make the decision that is right for your child and your family but it’s always good to consider recommendations and learnings from the people you trust.
4. Test the waters
When you have made a decision, remain flexible about it.
If after a couple of months, you do not feel that a particular day care centre or carer is right for your child, have a backup plan ready and do not feel bad about making changes.
Rather like trying out a new job, you don’t always know what is going to be right for you until you’re actually doing it. Give it some time and test the waters.
Of course you want to give your child stability, but their overall happiness is often more important.
5. Keep checking in
Once your child is being cared for, keep in regular contact with your care provider.
Feedback is a two-way street so ask them how they think your child is settling in and let them know your thoughts and any suggestions too.
If you have any concerns, address them with your care provider at the earliest opportunity so that they can be ironed out.
Choosing child care for your child is one of the biggest and earliest parenting decisions you will make.
With the right research and an open mind, you can find the right option to work for your child and your family.
What are you best tips for choosing child care? Anything you would have done differently?
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