|Daycare drop-off circa 2010|
Fear not, though a daunting feat, it can be done! Here are some of my strategies for finding a good daycare.
First, you have to list (and prioritize) your needs.
- Do you need someone comfortable with more than one child? Do they need to be familiar with newborns?
- Will you need help with driving kids around?
- A place within reasonable proximity to your job?
- Someone who can make meals and/or help with cleaning?
- Do you have language preferences? I love the idea of someone who could help my kids practice their Spanish...
Next, be honest about your budget.
- Can you afford one-on-one care? Although this would be ideal for many of us, usually this can be a difference of $200-300 per week compared to a daycare center. You have to be real about what you can afford.
- Does the idea of a co-op/swap childcare situation appeal to you or sharing a nanny with another family? This may be more feasible if you have a flexible schedule yourself - not typical of medical school/residency.
- See if your job has child care expense accounts or extra living expense loans for childcare (I had to use those in med school). Make sure the facilities you are looking into are eligible for any childcare related spending accounts.
What else should you consider?
- College students are awesome, but they may leave for the summer/school year, study abroad, or leave. Then you are back at square one. Make sure you specify whether or not this is a long term need.
- Sites like Care.com can help you start a list of possible nannies and/or daycare centers. If you go the nanny route, you can get a background check done for an additional fee.
- If you want someone who can drive, they may need you to supply the vehicle and definitely gas money. You can see how this could get even more pricey.
- What you see on the website may or may not be what you get, so be sure to not put all your eggs in one basket.
Hope this helps!
This is a spreadsheet I have used to organize my list of daycare centers in the areas. Feel free to download and use. Just click the link: HERE