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How did you choose your current child care provider? Did you choose close to home or work and why? What were the three most important elements of a program for you? Did you have any dealbreakers?”

5 replies so far...

  • I had pretty limited options since most places in my area that took babies were full. However, I toured the few that had space or waiting lists while pregnant. We made our decision based on kind of everything. The price for the quality, the proximity to work and home, the cleanliness of the facility, etc. The place that I wanted to avoid was actually the one we ended up choosing in the end. I didn't like it because it had a ton of rules and regulations because it is legally certified as a preschool, but after touring all of them, they were definitely the cleanest and most attentive to the kids. The rules and regulations would just be something we had to bear. There were only 4 babies per teacher (8 kids only under 1.5 years in the whole school) and each group of 4 kids had their own "classroom". The other centers had the same kid/teacher ratios but all the kids of all ages were in the same room and it appeared as if the caretakers were just standing on guard incase something happens while the kids pretty much free played, as opposed to interacting with them in a structured manor and helping them progress. This was the #1 deciding factor.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by oceans mom on 7th July 2010

  • We recently went through this for the first time, and I wrote about it for Work It, Mom, here ( and at my personal blog here ( and here ( The short version is that from a practical standpoint it really came down to what we could afford, but luckily for us the cheaper option has ended up being the best option all around: an in-home daycare five minutes from home (where I work) that offers an amazing range of activities. (Seriously, I sometimes wish I could spend the day there myself!)

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Leah on 6th July 2010

  • I originally chose a home day care. It was wonderful for a small child. If you go with someone who has daycare in their home, make sure they are recommended by a friend. When my daughter turned 3.5 I chose Kindercare. I chose that because they have a fantastic preschool and preK curriculum. The directors and teachers are caring and are genuinly excited about what they do. My daughter entered kindergarten at an above K level. They also have busses that will take school age kids to and from school. However, now my daugter just goes to school and goes to grandma's after school.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Sharon on 1st June 2010

  • I assume you mean out-of-home daycare, which my kids started at age 2.5. Because I work mostly at home, I needed a place pretty close to home, as well as a full day schedule (ours is open 6:30-6:30). Environment was important to me. I have a daughter who, especially when younger, would not do well in a chaotic, crowded environment, or with caregivers who were either too harsh or too lax. An academic orientation was important to me, as was an organization conducive to respecting individual needs. Although I wouldn't have known to look for it, the offering of enrichment activities (dance, karate, etc.) onsite during the school day was a huge plus. I also wanted a place that would grow with my kids. Ours goes through KG and they have an elementary school in the county. Oh, and diversity, especially since my kids are nonwhite.

    I did some internet research and visited two nearby daycares. One was a "Montessori" and the other was broken into small classrooms. Both were priced about the same (half of what I'd been paying our nanny). I got a really good feeling at the classroom place. They were very welcoming and open, organized, quiet, laid-back, and sensitive to the individual kids. The Toddler II kids were reviewing alphabet cards when I walked by, each tot classroom had a little bathroom, and the kids all seemed happy. I was already mostly sold, but I visited the Montessori just to be sure. The Montessori one was loud and chaotic; they boasted that they normally had 51 kids in the single-room 3-5yo class. The 2.5-year-olds were crammed into a small office cubicle watching the teacher assemble a baby puzzle. They didn't have accommodations for potty-trained 2-year-olds. There was a big difference in the menu, too. The kids seemed happy enough, but my daughter is a bit of an oddball and she would have been completely overwhelmed in the Montessori.

    A few things I've learned to notice as a good or bad sign: how they deal with misbehavior, minor injuries, and sickness. I recall the first time I toured our daycare, and one tot was having trouble with sharing. The teacher quickly and calmly managed the situation and the boss lady commented, "__ isn't used to sharing; his only sibling is 8 years old." That told me that they really care to get to know each child and what makes him tick. Since then I've seen all the teachers deal with some really challenging stuff, and they help each other and don't get unduly ruffled. I've seen the boss lady step in to help manage a pair of difficult twins. . . which reminds me - our daycare makes a point to advertise how well it treats its staff - paying for college and such. It's nice to see they prioritize the care of their key assets, and you can sense it in the staff.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by SKL on 26th May 2010

  • Current child care provider was a no-brainer; on site at the school. Who could ask for anything more? Well, it would be nice if they opened 1/2 hour earlier but I make it work. Enrichment programs are available every day of the week (extra cost, but really low cost, like 1/2 the cost of lessons outside - even when given by the same companies).
    When she was younger there were not a lot of spaces available in the price range I could afford. So we took the first one I felt comfortable with. And it turned out wonderful. My only requirements were I felt comfortable with the discipline forms, there were indoor & outdoor spaces to play. When I was looking dealbreakers were too far from public transit downtown (no more than 5 minute drive), too restricted hours (needed to be able to travel downtown, work an 8 hour day and get home - an 8:30-5 daycare wasn't conducive to that). There were no available day care slots downtown so that wasn't even a consideration. I could now because most places have built out more space in the last 2 years but we were at the beginning of the boom.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Mich on 26th May 2010