Choosing Childcare by: Laura Jafarkhani
My name is Laura Jafarkhani and my blog is https://www.Lalatomama.com. I created my blog as a way to create a mom community. Parenting is hard and learning from each other can make it a little easier. My blog is full of tips and advice, recipes and even ideas for family adventures (mostly in Southern California where we live). I am a full-time working mom with 3 boys ages 9, 4 and 20 months. It’s not always easy but it’s always worth it.
Deciding who you want to trust to watch your kids so you can return to work can be very scary and overwhelming. Whether you are a mom that is excited to go back to work or one that is dreading it because it means being away from your child, that choice is not easy. Some parents will have more limited options based on financial means and some may have tons of options. Either way, you want to make the best decision you can for your child or children.
Childcare can be provided in a variety of ways and there are pros and cons to each. Often (but not always) if it is possible to have a family member watch the child, that can be an excellent solution. Ideally, a family member will have a more vested interest in the well-being of a child. This however, can come with it’s own issues. If you don’t agree with some things that this person does, it can be a point of contention.
I have used 3 of the 4 most common forms of childcare with my oldest son. We have used a daycare center, a home daycare and had a family member watch him. At one point we had him in a semi-home daycare 3 days a week and a family member watching him the other 2 days. Thankfully it was a temporary solution because as much as we were grateful that this family member was willing to help us, we found that the inconsistency in schedule was hard on him at 2 years old. Sometimes schedules will dictate what your options are as well. Many home daycares aren’t open as long of hours as a daycare center would be.
From our experiences, if you can find a great home daycare, it is best for when kids are little. Ages 2 and under really need the more nurturing, personalized care. Once they get to 3 years and up, it starts to be more important to have the socialization and really start to learn and be challenged. This is when a daycare center or preschool is more of an ideal situation. A nanny (if you can afford one) is more beneficial when a child is young to get that personalized attention.
One of my biggest tips that I learned is if you are able to make it work with the hours, try to find a daycare closer to home. If you work 40 minutes away from your home, you don’t want to drive that far when you aren’t feeling well to drop your child off so that you can rest and recover at home. Finding a daycare close to work is an option though if you need it. We did this for my oldest son when he was a baby because I felt better about having him closer to me and I could visit on my lunch break. I would even drop off pumped breastmilk for him since I didn’t have a huge supply.
When you are ready to start searching for your childcare, start asking for referrals. You can often feel a lot better about entrusting someone with your child if you know that someone else you trust has already had a good experience with them. If you don’t have any personal referrals, reach out to mom communities. Facebook has some excellent mom groups that you can join and they are often location based. Getting a referral is not the end of the process though. Make sure you do your due diligence by taking tours, checking references and verifying licenses. It is completely acceptable to ask for references and ask any questions that will help you make your decision.
When I have toured daycares, I have tried to grab a parent or two as they go in or leave and ask them their opinions. You will often get more real opinions this way because they aren’t references provided directly from the daycare. You should read Yelp reviews but also remember that most people that leave yelp reviews are either extremely happy with something or extremely unhappy. If someone is content, they usually don’t leave a review. Some reviews can also been encouraged by the childcare provider.
Once you have chosen your childcare set up a time to do a trial run. Plan a day that you aren’t in a rush to get somewhere so you can spend a little extra time at drop off and make sure you have everything ready. Take the time to prepare yourself for going back to work. Ideally, let your child be there until at least midafternoon. You want them to be able to experience drop off, playtime, lunch, naps, etc.
During the first week you go back, feel free to call the daycare and check to see how your little one is doing. If they are able to send you pictures that is even better! It will be tough on you for a while but knowing you picked the right place and your child is being well cared for, will make it easier.
Good luck with your search!
You can find me at