Tonight, I toured my second daycare since the new year began. This seems odd, since we currently have a great sitter for Sam the two days a week I’m in the office. (I found her through P and E Babysitting in DC Metro area.) But I have decided to get Sam into daycare full time around the time he turns one. He’ll be beginning to be more social at that point, and I will be returning to work full time (which for my job is not 40 hours a week; it can be more like 50 or 60). And I just can’t afford a sitter for that amount of time.
I’ve found that every daycare has a waiting list, and that most waiting lists are six months or more. I’ve even come across a daycare that has a waiting list of two years! In two years, Sam will be ready for preschool! On that note, my coworker suggested that I start looking at preschools for Sam. After all, I need to go ahead and get him on the waiting list.
Perhaps this is the same everywhere, but I bet the waiting lists are longer and stronger in major metropolitan areas. I would probably have to get a baby on a preschool wait list as soon as I got a positive pregnancy test in somewhere like New York or San Francisco. That doesn’t make this search any less annoying — it just is what it is. Eric and I live here because of the jobs, and so does everyone else!
Not only do you have to get your kid on a wait list round these parts, you have to get them on several, and you have to Pay, Pay, Pay, Pay and Pay. The registration fees (really, let’s be honest, “registration fees” are simply bribes to get your kid on a list — and they may or may not get a spot, depending) range from $90-$150. Ouch! And the day care facilities themselves charge a dang pretty penny after your kid starts attending. The average is around $1600 a month for the bigger name facilities, and the cheapest I’ve found for home daycare is $1000 a month.
Ah my dream daycare. It lies just up the street from us. A tiny, obsessively organized lady runs it out of her home. It is immaculately clean, bright and cheerful, and generally just perfect. She makes all organic food, brings in a teacher to prepare the toddlers for preschool, and works on the bigger kids’ potty training habits. Of course, there’s a waiting list. And no, I’m not going to tell you where it is or how to get there. After all, I’m going to need that waiting list spot.
I also toured a big name daycare earlier this month. It was very nice and the ladies working there were very sweet. Children were sleeping peacefully, and everyone seemed to be well taken care of. But … the price was higher and the facilities just seemed … very … sticky. I feel like I’m a home daycare convert after today. I’m quite sure it depends on the daycare, but ah, this place was wonderful.
How do you find the perfect daycare? I have yet to figure out a precise method, but this is how I’ve started:
- Searching Google for day care facilities in the area and reading reviews
- Looking for lists of local day cares in the area (your county government’s webpage may have a list)
- Emailing day care facilities to set up tours or ask questions
- Making a spreadsheet comparing my favorite day care facilities in the area
Of course my dream day care is in the lead, for price and for loveliness, but I’m going to need to make sure we have Sam on several lists so that he can go somewhere when mama returns to her job 40+ hours a week.
I never knew it could all be so complicated!
For all you new mamas out there, make sure you are proactive in finding your perfect day care!
And preschool … I guess I better start looking at those too …
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I’m a liberal feminist that believes that liberal, feminist ideals should gel with embracing your gender and motherhood (if that’s what you feel like doing). I support all kinds of moms and dads and parents. Oh and, although I totally love that natural vibe and not harming the environment, I supplement my organic milk and fresh fruits and veggies with the occasional Twix, the frequent Oreo, and the daily Coke Zero. I’m opinionated, not easily offended, and a loudmouth in person and on the internet. I am what I am. Welcome.