We were so lucky to meet fellow daycare lover K.D. Brown this past summer and have been anxiously awaiting her Cribsters Contributor post ever since! K.D. is a working mom by day and a children’s book author by nap time. In addition to her children’s books, Four Lucky Leaves and Hi, God, she writes a funny new mom blog called “Babies, Boobs, and Blowouts: A New Mom’s Journey” and is also a contributor for the Tampa Bay Moms Blog. She lives in Tampa, FL with her husband and 1-year-old daughter and they have another baby on the way. Like her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter!
How to Find the Perfect Daycare Center
Some moms choose to go back to work post-baby. Others, much like the tiny tots they’re raising, find themselves kicking and screaming against the necessity of returning to their jobs for financial reasons. Either way, when a new mom becomes a working mom, the search for the perfect daycare center begins.
Personally, I was fortunate in that I was able to take my daughter to work with me most days until she was crawling. Those days when she wasn’t with me were spent with a good friend whom I trusted completely. But when my infant became a crawler (and my babysitter accepted a full-time job), my bubble popped and I was forced to find daycare.
For a new mom who dreaded the idea of anyone else caring for my baby, this sucked worse than the four straight weeks of breastfeeding growth spurts I endured early on. And that sucked. So, for moms with no daycare experience, how do you know what you need as opposed to what you want in a caregiver? The short answer is: being in love with the place (or at least having a really, really good feeling about it).
I enrolled my daughter at a local childcare center that seemed to be a good place. The staff was friendly and everyone was good with the kids. But I had this tiny little feeling that I just wasn’t totally in love with it. Unfortunately, I had limited time and even fewer options since my little ragamuffin was still shy of her first birthday. So off she went.
After a month of back and forth with the staff (who were great with the kids, but terrible at communicating with me), news that the location was closing cinched it. Now that she was a year old, I could transfer her to my first choice.
I fell in love with this preschool the first time I took a tour. I loved the playground, the classrooms, the agenda, and the staff. My daughter, usually shy around strangers, even let the director carry her as we walked. There was also that inexplicable feeling of rightness that this was, without a doubt, the one.
My daughter has been going to her preschool now for five months and we couldn’t be happier. Her teacher tells me all about her day before I ask, they send home art projects with tiny footprints (which is great since I’m not a do-it-yourselfer and still haven’t even put together a baby book for my now 1 1/2 year old), and I can tell that the staff all genuinely love the kids.
For me, I had a list of expectations going in to my daycare search. Outdoor play, story time, good communication (i.e., tell me what the heck my kid did today and whether she ate), etc. However, the most important lesson I learned was that I absolutely needed to love (not just like) the center where my daughter spent most of her day. Without that sense of confidence and assurance, I was a wreck. And nobody wants to find a new mom crying in the bathroom at work.
If you have doubts at all about a daycare center, just move on. Eventually, you’ll find the one that’s right for you and your child. You’ll be glad you stuck to your guns when your child is happy and you’re not stressed out and worrying. Happy hunting!