With so many factors to consider, making a decision about daycare for your child and knowing what to expect throughout the process can seem overwhelming. Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to be prepared beforehand. Here’s everything you need to know about enrolling your child in daycare, from finding the right facility to understanding what information you may need to provide during enrollment.
Streamline Your Daycare Decisions
Approach your daycare search as early on as possible. Beginning your quest six months in advance isn’t too soon, especially if you live in a larger city where slots may fill up quickly. Streamline your child care decisions by weighing the following factors:
1. The Type of Facility You Want
Determine which type of daycare facility will work best for you and your child. In-home daycare, family care and child care centers each offer different types of services.
2. A List of Your Top Priorities
Before beginning your daycare search, write down a list of preferences and expectations you’re looking for. Do you want a daycare center close to work? Do you want your child to be able to interact with lots of other children or do you prefer a smaller setting?
3. Operating Hours and Vacation Schedules
Assess how well the daycare center accommodates your regular schedule. Does the facility’s operating hours and vacation schedule work for you and your family?
4. References and Accreditation
Personal references are the best kind. Ask family and friends to put the word out that you’re searching for a new daycare. Don’t hesitate to consult with other parents whenever you visit a potential daycare, too. Verify that the facility adheres to local licensing regulations, and inquire if it’s obtained accreditation from a respected authority.
What Information Will the Daycare Require?
Just as every daycare is different, each one may require different information and paperwork upon enrollment. Basic information you may be asked to provide could include:
• Proof of your child’s identity and age such as a birth certificate, Social Security Number or passport
• Your contact information
• The contact information of individuals authorized to pick up your child
• A list of emergency contacts
• Medical information, including vision and dental check-ups
• Immunization records
A daycare facility may ask for more than basic information in an effort to better facilitate your child’s individual needs. Examples of questions you may be asked when filling out a daycare enrollment form include:
• How does your child express emotion?
• Have there been any major changes in your child’s life recently that might cause a shift in behavior?
• What is your marital status?
• Does your child have siblings?
Getting your child top-notch care while you’re at work is your number one priority. Hopefully, the above information will help you identify the right daycare for your child and help you navigate through the enrollment process with greater ease.