It doesn’t matter how much you love your job — putting your baby in daycare is hard. Finding the daycare  that fits your family, offers your child the opportunities you want, and provides a safe place for their development to grow, is all what every parent wants.

So, how do you go about finding that perfect daycare?

It’s quite easy! Doing your research and asking the right questions will help with finding the right place for your child.

One thing I would like to stress first is, please be courteous to the provider! Providers work very long hours and are giving up their (very tiny) free time with their family to meet and welcome you into their home. If you cannot make it, please give them plenty of notice and if you don’t end up going with them in the end, PLEASE LET THEM KNOW! Sorry, that’s in all caps, but please answer follow-up texts or emails from provider to let them know. We are more than providers, we are people too.

Okay, off my soapbox!

Now, on to the 5 helpful tips when looking for a daycare.

Do your research.

Get recommendations from other parents (at work and among friends) and your pediatrician. If you don’t know other parents, consider asking those you meet in your OB-GYN or pediatrician’s waiting room, the playground or a mommy-and-me class.

Ask questions.

Make up a list of questions of what you want to know about the daycare. Here is a Childcare Checklist  you can download that has the most common questions parents ask providers.

Make sure there is a daily routine.

Children learn best through repetition and structure—this is why nursery rhymes are so effective. So, in the daycare setting, a scheduled routine is best to help children engage and understand their new setting.

Check References.

If you feel better about hearing from past families that have used the provider’s services, ask for references. A reputable provider will have many happy families that would love to brag about how she was with their children.

Relax.

I know there is nobody that can take the place of you, but if the provider has been in business many successful years and comes with great references, you can feel safe that they are going to be taken care of and loved like their own. And, it’s good for baby to get the socializing he/she needs to get them ready for when they go off to school!