Ideally, the search for childcare should begin when you discover your due date. This gives you plenty of time to research your childcare options.
Depending on the type of childcare you choose, there are several essential items to consider before selecting a provider.
Will you need home care, in which a single caregiver comes to your home?
If this is the type of service you need, remember that many of these providers are not licensed or need to be licensed.
In that case, it is especially important to obtain references from previous employers for at least five years.
Ask for names and phone numbers; do not hesitate to call the parents who used your services.
If the provider refuses or is unable to provide this information to you, proceed. Home caregivers can be left alone with your child; they may not have a license and generally cost more than other types of childcare; care must be taken when choosing this type of daycare.
Another option is family childcare, which is a more casual environment with a limited number of children enrolled and is generally less expensive than daycare centers. This type of childcare requires that you leave your child at the person’s home.
Often, fees are charged if you arrive late when picking up your child; the caregiver is more of a nine to five business and can strictly enforce this rule.
These types of child care providers must be licensed, and the kind of care provided is left to the individual; therefore, again, references from other parents are crucial. Still, another option is a daycare center, which must be licensed.
Your child will be among more children, receiving less individualized care than the two previous types of childcare mentioned.
However, there are many benefits to these types of longer operating hours, less stringent rules on pick-up and drop-off times, and more activities with more children to interact with.
The downside may be that the more children are exposed, the more chances of illness and other problems resulting from interacting with many young children at the same time.
Before having your baby, it is the best time for you to visit your child care providers.
Take a notepad with you; make notes of positive or negative items that you want to check later. The checklists provided by various websites can be printed using your notes for comparison.
If you return to work after maternity leave, having multiple suppliers lined up will make your introduction to work less stressful.
Whether you work outside the home or work part-time, it is still beneficial to have a child care provider on call for emergencies. This would be a provider that can be called at the last minute and is an on-call provider.
Having a childcare option will also give you some time to get back to the post-baby routine.
Even a few hours a week, you can have time to shop, have medical appointments, have lunch with a friend, or just leave the house for an hour.