The Childcare Struggle is Real
You are home from the hospital snuggled on the couch holding your newborn baby. This is your first time and you are taking in all the precious moments. You are so blessed because all of your family and friends have helped to provide you with the best items to care for your child: car seat, toys, clothes, diapers (lots of those), bottles, breastfeeding bras, you name it.
Time sets in, your spouse returns to work, and you start to realize you will have to return soon. You have looked into a childcare provider at home because you don’t want your child to be around other kids (you will soon learn germs aren’t the worst thing in childhood), you have checked with family and friends who are available (I mean we don’t want a stranger), and before you know it you are on the phone calling every local daycare organization to find out that there is a wait list.
Ok, so, how bad could it be? ….. And then they tell you it is 9 months long. NINE MONTHS, you mean to tell me I would have needed to be on the list at the time I conceived! Panic sets in.
So I am here to tell you, the childcare struggle is real. It is already hard enough emotionally to return to work and leave your kid(s) with someone else. Then to add on the financial hardship where childcare cost as much as a full year of college these days! And lastly you add on the stress of a wait list!
So how do we fix this? Well I can’t fix the emotional or financial turmoil, but I can tell you some tips for choosing the best daycare provider for your child.
First off, call well before the third trimester to set up tours. Let’s just say 20 weeks unless you can and want to start earlier.
Second, do your research. What are the nonnegotiable for you?
- Do they have to be willing to do breast-milk? What is their breast-milk policy? (I say this because everywhere is different on how long they will let it sit out before reuse, will they reuse it, how they want is stored and more).
- Do they cloth diaper? Provider diapers? Do you provide the diapers?
- What is their policy on food? Some parents defer table food until a year, some do not. What is the policy of the school?
- Can you drop in and see your kid whenever you want?
- Do they have a transportation policy? (I once signed a contract with a home daycare that never mentioned she would need to transport my kids until the school year started and she gave me an addendum to sign…..no thank you!)
- Medication: do they administer medication?
- What is their policy on immunizations?
- Are they open during inclement weather? School closings?
- What is their policy for sick kids (and staff)?
- What are their ratios for providers to kids (this is mandated by the state) ?
- And safety! You can use this link here: https://www.dss.virginia.gov/facility/search/cc2.cgi to search for childcare organizations and see what reports that have had filed against them and what information their inspection has yielded.
- Do they have a policy for checking the children in and out?
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