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Step 1: Planning
Step 2: Calling providers
Step 3: Meeting providers
Step 4: Final checks
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Choosing the right daycare provider

Selecting the right childcare provider can seem to be a daunting task. However, with a little planning and a little patience, it is quite easy to find the provider best suited to your child's needs.

Your goal is straightforward: find a warm, nurturing and safe environment in which your child will thrive. The time you invest now in your search for quality daycare is well worth the effort as it will ensure your child's well-being as well as your peace of mind. The choice is ultimately yours to make but this article is written to guide you in your search and help you make your decision. It summarizes the daycare search process and lists questions and things to ask your prospective childcare provider.

Step 1: Planning

Start early

To avoid being squeezed by time, you should begin thinking about your childcare options in advance. Typically, you should start looking for a daycare provider at least 2 or 3 months in advance. However, in some areas where daycare options are more limited or where available spaces are scarce, you may want to start earlier, sometimes even a full year in advance!

Tip: Ask other mothers you know or meet how long it took them to find their current provider!

Choose the type of childcare

You'll need to think about the type of childcare that you would prefer. There are 4 main types of childcare providers you can use according to your needs:

  1. Daycare centre / preschool: Childcare provided in a specific facility (this can be by a for-profit business or a non-profit organization).
  2. Family / home daycare (sometimes known as a “Dayhome”): Childcare usually provided by a single individual out of their home.
  3. Nanny / babysitter: Childcare provided in the child's own home, either on a regular (i.e. nanny) or occasional (i.e. babysitter) basis.
  4. Occasional daycare centre (also known as a “Stop-over daycare centre”): Temporary and occasional childcare provided in a specific facility.
Tip: Each type of childcare can have both advantages and disadvantages. Some provide an environment akin to your own home; others will offer more activities or have a flexible schedule. As a parent you'll have to decide what works best for your child and yourself.

Select a location

Decide in which area you'd prefer your daycare provider to be located. Does it have to be close to your home for easy drop-offs / pickups, near your work place so you can easily go check on your child, or elsewhere? You can then use www.daycarebear.ca to check for available spaces in the selected neighborhood.

Tip: Display your search results on a map if you need to quickly see where the daycare providers are located.

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2008 © DaycareBear - Last update 06/16/2008
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