Choosing the right daycare or creche, part 1

So have you spend time looking for day cares or creches?  One of my friends is going through the process right now, and as I was talking about it with her, I thought recounting the process might be of help to others. Though I admit looking for daycare or creches at 6 months is very different from say, at 2 years, but I think there are some common themes to looking for daycares. This is based on the experiences of me and some of my friends, not just while we were looking, but from the experiences we had when our kids were there.

First off, looking for a daycare or creche at 6 months or at 3 months is extremely painful. I think moms have to not only deal with finding the right one, but also the pain of trusting a writhing, cuddly, trusting, non vocal baby with a stranger. One point – if you have word of mouth recommendations you can trust or family members, nothing like a at home carer, but I like some others went the daycare route. I was shocked by all the media horror stories of nannies, and found a larger daycare ‘safer’ and more secure.

The process:

  • If possible begin early. Depending on the rush in your area, the good ones may fill up fast and have long waiting lines. Waiting lists upto 6 to 9 months ahead are not uncommon. This is important, as you do not want your child to go through two sets of adjustments – one to the ‘temporary’ day care and once more to the one your really want. Since kids adjust to the people and environment, as much as they do to staying away from mom or dad, two adjustments creates a whole new set of pain that you want to avoid.
  • Ask all friends and neighbors, and research the web for names.
  • Find ones on the way to work or near work or near home. Trust us, you dont want to add to your commute if possible, and at the end of a long tiring day, you want to reach home fast. If both of you work near the daycare, all the better, because there will be plenty of days when the child is sick or you have that sudden important meeting when you will need backup
  • Google the daycare, visit their website, ask anyone you can, and research word of mouth sites
  • If your state has a website that publishing licensing reports, visit that site. Look through licensing reports for the last year, downloading the PDFs and studying in some detail. Also look out for complaint investigations. For the state site in Georgia, click here. These can be most revealing. I guess they are also available at the daycare for you to see if you ask, but most of us prefered the anonymous route.
  • Schedule daycare visits. Visit all on your list, even though you may have a frontrunner just to see differences. Visit all the classrooms, for all ages, and not just the ones your baby will be in.
  • Talk to the teacher, if possible without the director present. One of us had a strange experience. At a local montessori, during the visit, the director left the room to answer a phone call. The teacher then told the bewildered mom and dad, ‘dont put the child in here, its not the best’. Now vindictive employee or plain speaking teacher I dont know, but the parents never went back there.
  • Ask for parent names and referals. Ask them how they found the day care. See if the school has online discussion boards.

The process is time consuming, but well worth the investment and peace of mind in the end. I will write more in my next post. Ciao…

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3 Comments

  1. winfried

    I was lucky. My mom took care of the kids when they were little. Just at the end we took them part time so they would learn to socialize b4 going to kinder.

  2. Priya

    Winfried,Same with my first kid..but with my second kid, I had to send her to a daycare.

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