Finding quality childcare is one of the most important issues facing parents. There are many choices, and the task can be overwhelming, especially for first time parents. The top three childcare options for Connecticut parents are family members, childcare centers, and home daycare providers. Today we will look at how to find childcare, and when to start looking.
Where to look? That is a question parents frequently ask when they need to find care. The state offers "211 Childcare," a free phone and Internet referral line for childcare options in Connecticut. To contact them, simply dial 211 from your phone, and follow the prompts, or on the Internet at www.211childcare.org.
If you are interested in a home daycare, you can check out www.southingtondaycareproviders.com, the web address for the Southington Daycare Providers Association. The most popular way to find childcare is to ask other parents. If you have friends, family members, or coworkers with children in care, find out where they attend and why.
When should you start looking? This is also a very important question.
Parents should start looking when they know they will need care. Infant spots are harder to find, and parents who know they will be going to work after the birth of their child should start looking in the beginning of the third trimester. That will give you plenty of time to find a comfortable place and complete almost all the paperwork before the baby arrives. If you have a toddler or older child, you should try to give yourself a month to find care.
Although you may be thrilled with the first place you visit, you should plan to visit at least three places so you can compare them and make the best choice for your family. As soon as you have decided on a place, let them know. Many places require a deposit to hold the spot for your child, and just as you are visiting places to find a spot for your child, they are talking to other parents in an effort to fill any spots they have available.
Finding childcare is a process almost all parents go through. It can be difficult if parents are not prepared, or if they do not allow enough time to find a quality place for their child. In my next blog, we will talk about things to look for at a quality center or home daycare, and questions parents should ask before signing up.