Finding good reliable child care is one of the hardest parts of being a Career Slay Mama. You can't slay career goals when you're worrying about your kids.
Reading is so 2019! Soundcloud audio version available at the end of this post.
We are so fortunate in #Canada to have one year and upto 18 months of parental leave. I was a PhD student when I had my first so I didn't have paid employment and couldn't really benefit from this but living in Quebec, childcare was much more affordable thank the rest of Canada.
I was a crazy first time mom so one of the hardest parts of to do HANDS DOWN was sending my baby to daycare. I sent Josiah off gradually from 7 months and he was in full-time daycare from 9 months while I stepped up my job hunt. I had so many worries and concerns - would they know that he likes to be rocked at a certain angle for him to sleep? Could they make his food just right in consistency and temperature? I can only imagine how much more stressful it is for parents looking for childcare during a pandemic.
I am sharing 7 things to do when looking for a daycare.
1. Get on waiting lists ASAP
The minute you find out you're pregnant, get on waiting lists for daycare. Sounds extreme? Finding a spot at a daycare is really hard especially larger daycares that take older children (18 months and over). There are some localized lists so google spots near you and get on the list as soon as possible.
2. Talk to other parents
Try and find out from parents in your circle both personally and geographically to get reviews on daycares. A beautiful building does not equate a good daycare. You would be surprised at how much knowledge there is and also what warnings there are about daycares which are to be avoided at all costs. This can help you eliminate a daycare from your shortlist.
3. Visit every daycare on your list
Try to physically visit every daycare that you are considering. Most daycares should allow you to have a walk around when the kids are there. With COVID19 there may be restrictions but they will likely still allow you to visit with a mask on. Take note of the state of the building - cleanliness, number of kids vs care givers.
4. Prepare daycare tour questions
When you visit the daycare you will want to ask a lot of questions. Some questions to ask include:
Opening and closing times
Food policy - bringing in food vs. prepped meals in the daycare
For babies: breast milk that is pumped vs. formula; premixed bottles vs powder
Policies: contract policies - cancelleation policy;
Payment schedule: monthly/ biweekly
Subscribe to Career Slay Mama to access this free download of Daycare tour questions.
5. Ask for references
Try to find a way to contact parents and ask about the daycare. No two children experience a daycare in the same way. However, it is very helpful to know about red flags, repeated patterns. Get on local mommy Facebook groups and ask about the specific daycares you're considering. I almost sent my kids to a couple of daycares but after feedback from mamas on my local Facebook mommy group I got insider red flags that I would never have gotten from the daycare website.
6. Research different approaches
I'm a montessori mama all my kids have gone through montessori and I love it. I will share on my montessori experience but look into which of the approaches aligns with your values - montessori, waldorf. This is more relevant for toddlers 18 months and over but circling back to point number 1 of getting into wait-lists, look into approaches early and get on lists.
7. The secret ingredient is always LOVE
My kids have been in their fair share of daycares from brand spanking new buildings to places that could do with a little more TLC. What I have learned through the years is that kids floursh most where they are LOVED. As the daycare provider speaks to you listen in between the lines for how much they are dedicated to the children and how much love they show to them. Send your kids where they will be loved and doted on. It will give you much needed peace of mind while you slay your career goals.
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