Finding good child care can be challenging, yet it is a priority when you make a household move into a new community. Here are some tips for finding daycare or other forms of child care in your new neighborhood.
Start looking as soon as you know about your move. Some areas have a shortage of reasonable care, especially for infants who require a smaller child-to-adult ratio. Doing your research and applying early improves your chances of finding a slot in a highly-rated center.
Determine Your Child’s Individual Needs
Every child is unique and has unique needs. If you are already using daycare, you may know the types of programs that work best for your child. However, consult your pediatrician before deciding if your child has a chronic physical condition, such as asthma, diabetes, seizures, or allergies.
Use Apps and Websites
Various apps and websites can help with your initial search. Childcare.gov will link you to state child care search websites. Other apps include:
- Winnie, a marketplace of daycare and preschool programs that is available on a site and an app
- Sittercity, a Web-based platform to connect parents with sitters and nannies
- Momni, an app that offers global care-sharing
- UrbanSitter, an app and Website platform that provides sitters, nannies, and tutors
- Care.com, a site that helps you find nannies, babysitters, tutors, and daycare facilities in your neighborhood
Visit Each Program
Visit each finalist in person to see what the classrooms and play areas look like, how teachers interact with students, and what a child’s typical day will be like. If you hire a nanny, interview the finalists carefully and see how your child and the prospective choice interact.
Specifically, look for things such as:
- Can teachers always see the children?
- Do teachers look the child in the eye when they speak to them?
- Are both indoor and outdoor spaces used for play? And does the program offer a variety of toys?
- Do you hear laughter?
- Are areas clean and clean-smelling?
Ask questions, such as the program’s philosophy, how they handle challenging behaviors, and staff turnover rates. Ask how often children are allowed to play outside and how the program lessens the spread of disease.
Check Quality Ratings, Accreditation and Licensing
Not all states require daycare programs to be licensed, but the best programs usually are. Even among states that require licensing, New York requires a five-to-one adult-child ratio for 2-year-olds, but Florida requires an 11-to-1 ratio. Be sure you understand what licensing means in your new state.
Some child care programs are accredited through professional organizations, such as the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Accredited programs will also meet specific quality standards.
Finally, check quality ratings. Most states use symbols, such as stars, to indicate quality. The provider earns more stars as they meet additional quality standards. Remember that each state has its own quality standards and rating system, so research what each rating means in your new community. Your state’s resource page can provide more details about ratings.
Online reviews are another way to gauge whether a program is doing a good job.
Making the Move
Are you planning your relocation? You undoubtedly face a lot of work and tough choices during your move. Let us help with your relocation. We can handle the packing and heavy lifting. Contact us today for a free quote.