I was extremely fortunate that after the birth of our daughter I was able to take a year off from work & stay home with her during such a crucial period in her life. It offered me the opportunity to be there for all of those beautiful milestones that I might have otherwise missed out on. It gave me the ability to nurse her for a full year, to take daily naps with her, to grow our bond & to just soak up every second of her short infanthood even with all of its difficulties. What was even luckier than that was when I was ready to re-enter the workforce I had a mother-in-law that was willing to take on our child care responsibilities.
Under her Nanna’s care, Mai flourished. Together they would read books, go the park & library, do puzzles and built forts. Our daughter is bright, imaginative, caring and so happy & I know that it is largely in part of her time with her Nanna. There was only one thing missing during these past 2 1/2 years, social interaction. Sure we would play with her friends on occasion, but being an only child I found that Mai lacked a certain understanding in regard to waiting her turn, not always being the center of attention and sharing.
When we made the decision to put her in daycare a couple of days a week, I am not going to lie it freaked me out. It still is and she hasn’t even started yet. Being the helicopter mom that I am, I am extremely paranoid about entrusting my heart to a stranger. Choosing a daycare has been very stressful. I found that many were full or that they didn’t have the days available that I needed or the hours did not work with our schedule. Then I also found that I myself had reasons that I did not like the facilities. When you are picking a place that it going to be caring for your most precious of packages, you better be sure. It turns out I found one that I liked. I interview with them next week.
Here is my checklist in finding a daycare…
1. Figure out what is most important when choosing a facility. Is it distance, cost, curriculum, # of children? For me I wanted her to be in a smaller more intimate daycare where there was more attention to each child & the same educational values as we have with her at home.
2. Make sure that they are licensed & accredited. You can find this info online by state. Believe me that I stalked each daycare to make sure they were legit.
3. What hours do they operate? Is there a fee if you run behind? I discovered that many of the daycares hours were outside of our needs. With my husband and I’s schedules we would have to juggle a few things to make it work. What I did not realize is that some places will charge you an additional fee for picking up your child even a few minutes late.
4. Do they have a set nap schedule? This is something you should find out ahead of time. Mai is on a nap as she gets tired schedule. Many daycares have a set nap schedule. If you are thinking of putting your munchkin in daycare you might want to start them on a mid-day nap schedule right away to make the adjustment.
5. How many children do they have & how many workers? I opted for a smaller home based daycare. The one I am interviewing with next week only has 4 children at a time.
6. What kind of activities do they do? I was pretty certain that I found a winner when I saw all of the things that this child care professional did with the children. She puts a lot of focus on nature activities, does nature walks, lots of crafts and alphabet & number lessons. When I saw the photos on her site, it looked like things that I would do with Mai.
7. Meet the caretaker in person & check out the facility. This I will do next week. We have spoken several times on the phone.
8. What is the daily menu for meals and snacks? If it is Pop Tarts and Spaghetti Os 5 days a week than it is not for me.
9. Do they have a policy on toilet training. We are still in the process of potty training. We have taken a more natural approach and have been doing it slowly. Some daycares will not accept a child that is still in diapers. Be sure to find this out up front.
10. Don’t be afraid to ask a million questions. If they don’t want to answer then you probably do not want them there anyways.
I had to put Emma in part time daycare when she was only 8 weeks old as I had to go back to teaching. Hardest thing I ever did, but like you I made sure to ask tons of questions and was thankful that the we have found a great place for her. Although, I ended up losing my teaching position with the economy and budget cuts during my second pregnancy with Lily and have been home ever since. I didn’t do daycare, because of it after that, but I made sure to enroll both girls in extra-curriular activities, such as dance and soccer by the time they we a little over two each and even put them both in pre-school at 3 years of age for the socialization. So, I do agree whole heartedly about doing something indeed to help better them at a young getting better socialization skills and bringing them out of their shells by exposing them to different people and places.
We do gymnastics and swimming with Mai and she has a hard time understanding that she has to wait in line. “Let Mai do it” she says. You have to wait your turn. She definitely needs more one on one. It is nerve wracking though. She needs a brother or sister. Lol
I read somewhere that toddlers age 2 to 3 really think they are the centre of the world, so it’s actually a quite normal behaviour. But yea, I know your concern. Mine has been very selfish too, but the last weeks/months she becomes much better in socializing. Perhaps due to her attending the pre-school (since 2 yo), our daily visit to the public playgrounds and many books telling the socializing stories. Give also positive examples. I used to approach and talk to other kids when we’re at the playgrounds, offer them to share our toys if we bring some, and so I hope to show what I mean to my daughter. Finally, I think your daughter will enjoy her time at the daycare. Maybe not the first few times (mommy’s heart will break again, for sure!), but believe me, once she knows the fun of playing together…you might have a hard time bringing her home! 🙂
Thanks! I don’t think she will have an issue with daycare even from the start. Once other kids are there she could care less about mommy. She is very outgoing and loves to approach other kids and she is decent with sharing to a point. She will hand over a toy no problem, but she will not come off a bike to let the next person use it. In organized events and classes, I wrestle with trying to teach her that it is not all about Mai, other get a turn too and she need to wait. I hope daycare helps with this. Thanks so much for all your input. I love hearing what others have been through and what they did. Socializing books is a good idea.
I agree question question questions!!! Oh and pop up visits!!! I did that when I was searching for child care. I set up an appt. but I also just showed up unannounced. I wanted to make sure that what I saw was genuine and not cleaned up for my visit. Great share 🙂
It is nerve wracking for sure. I will definitely be that pain in the ass mom. LOL I will be questioning everything. That’s my baby they are watching.