When you first start looking into daycares, you’re going to get extremely discouraged.
The average day care takes about half (sometimes more) of your pay check.
It’s important to shop around and to make sure that you know all of your options.
I mean, not only are they super expensive, but they’re taking care of your little mush!
We got lucky enough to stumble across a baby school that is decently priced and all around AMAZING.
…and by reasonably priced, I mean $245/a week that quickly was raised to $265/a week…
My mushy absolutely loves it there and really looks forward to going to school.
She is currently enrolled in and REALLY learning sign language, Spanish, and Zumba.
I’ll never forget when my 9-month old got infuriated that I didn’t understand “more” in sign!
She loves her teachers, classmates, and even her boyfriend! Yes, she met her first love!
That being said, a day care is supposed to get less expensive the older that they get.
Well, Mushy started at 3mos old, and the price tag keeps on growing. I feel lied to!
When I learned that this September I was being hit with another 10% increase, I panicked.
As much as I didn’t want to leave the school that we all loved, I started shopping around.
That’s when I compiled my list of Day Care Non-Negotiable Items to help weed out the losers.
Luckily for you all, I decided to share my obviously genius list. You’re welcome!
Ten non-negotiable items to consider when choosing a day care.
1. They need to be reasonably located.
Don’t even bother looking into a facility that isn’t in a prime location.
You want a day care that’s either along your route, or only minutes out of the way.
We already have a bazillion things to do before work, let’s not add 20 minutes to our travel time.
2. They have to have a flawless reputation.
Before even stepping into a facility, make sure you do your research.
Look online and ask around to make sure that this facility your considering is top-notch.
Just one bad review means that the place isn’t good enough for my little mushy!
3. They need to have a serious security system in place.
The day care must have a way of filtering who goes in and out of their facility.
In addition, they must have cameras, fire drills, evacuation plans, emergency contacts, etc.
This is really important. Make sure you inquire about all of these. Safety is #1 priority!
4. Their teacher to student ratio needs to be reasonable.
Make sure their ratios are not only compliant to state laws, but reasonable.
In addition to primary teachers, there should be plenty of “helpers” assigned to each class.
At our daycare, the teachers communicate via intercom how many kids they have. Love it!
5. They have to be reasonably priced.
You need to figure out how much you make and how much of that you’re willing to spend.
Remember that you get what you pay for, but don’t get taken advantage of either!
Bills need to be paid, but there is a price point where it just doesn’t pay to work anymore.
6. They need to include food and decent meal plans.
While I expected to provide diapers, wipes, and crib sheets, I refused to bring food also.
Tuition must include formula, milk, water, and healthy meal plans or it isn’t worth the money.
Besides, the last thing I need to do is worry about packing four-course meals and snacks!
7. They need to have a real curriculum with real results.
Ensure that they have a curriculum for each class. You need to be comfortable with it.
Your baby will be spending everyday there, so they need to be stimulated and learning something!
Our day care is amazing at this. She really has learned more than I would have been able to teach.
8. They must give you a daily, DETAILED report.
Ask for a sample copy of their daily report, and make sure it includes all necessary information.
You want to know what they ate, when they were changed, and what activities they did.
There is an application called Tadpoles that is amazing with this. Ask if they use it!
9. They must handle “incidents” properly.
There are many incidents that can occur in a day care including accidents or small fights.
They must file a DETAILED incident report, have all parties sign it, and keep it anonymous.
You don’t want to find out their policy sucks after the incident happened. Make sure you ask!
10. They must have everything recorded.
To protect your children and to protect their caretakers, it’s vital that a daycare records everything.
It’s helpful when researching an incident or if someone files a formal complaint.
Besides, it’s amazing when you get a picture of your mushy sent to you every day!
What are your daycare non-negotiables?
**Note: After the daycare caught wind that I was looking elsewhere, they offered to keep me at my current rate. We’re SO happy because we really do feel comfortable with our baby girl in their care.**