Very frustrated with trying to find a suitable daycare option - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 17 Old 06-05-2011, 07:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The time has come in our family that both myself and DP will be working FT outside the home. Please no flames, it is unavoidable at this point.  greensad.gif Now that we have a time frame about when I will be going back to work we have started trying to secure care for DS.

 

DP is pushing for an in-home daycare, he spent the first years of his life from 6 weeks dizzy.gifto kindy in the same home daycare and says he has fond memories of it and the provider, and apparently it was like a second home, and he made some great friends, etc. His provider seems like a pretty cool lady, she attended some of his major life events like HS graduation, recitals, etc. She is still doing care today, but only accepts a certain age group which is younger than DS. Okay that's fine, so in the last week or so I have started an intensive hunt for daycare for DS. I went through tons of ads on CL and kijiiji for home daycare in our area and sent out a massive round of emails with a few questions about what we were looking for. So far I have literally not received a single response!!!

 

 

I asked what they practice for discipline and stated our preferences. We do not do "time-outs" here, and would not feel comfortable sending our son to be in the care of someone who does. Redirection, offering alternate choices, and occasional natural consequences work for us.

 

 

I asked for detailed information about their menu, meal planning, and nutrition. We are organic, vegan, GF. I don't expect the provider to be all that necessarily (we are currently NOT in a progressive community ) , but want to know that DS will not be in an environment where he is eating the good stuff from home while his buddies are eating frozen chicken nuggets, day after day. bigeyes.gif

 

 

I asked if they have a regimented nap time, and stated that we would not be comfortable with forcing DS to adhere to that. (In my initial research I found it was not uncommon that daycare kids "must" nap every day from 2-4PM.)  At our house we sleep and nap when we are tired, or when our day is done. If that means DS stays up "too late" because he was busy at play, that is fine. Maybe he will nap the next day. Maybe not. We will never ever say that every day from 2-3 PM or whatever, he must sleep. irked.gif

 

 

 

There were a couple of other questions I asked but this is the gist of the issue. And like I said, not one single response. Are these questions too complex, or what? headscratch.gif If so, talk to me about other care options so I can present that to DP when daycare falls through. I was actually thinking it would be cool to hire an au pair. I don't know!!!

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#2 of 17 Old 06-05-2011, 08:30 PM
 
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It's too bad you haven't heard back from anyone, but it sounds like you are asking for a lot of information from them before you've even met them.  Day care providers are busy people.  I would start with a more simple and direct question - do you have space for my child that works with my schedule?  If they do, give them a call, or better yet, make an appt to go and meet them in person.  Bring along your child - spend some time seeing how the day care provider interacts with the kids in her care and ask your questions then. 

 

It takes time and effort, but you will learn so much more than you would get from an email.  The simple "do you have space" question will rule out quite a few up front.  From there, work with who seems the most flexible and who your child seems comfortable with.  Look for a provider who is nurturing, flexible, and willing to work with you.  Hopefully the other bits and pieces will fall into line.  You might also think about what is critical and what is simply desirable. 

 

Good luck with the transition back to work.  A good day care provider makes going back to work so much easier - I wish you the best of luck in finding the right fit your child. 

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#3 of 17 Old 06-06-2011, 04:26 AM
 
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i would have to say------that being in a similar boat, food/discipline/nap/philosophy-wise, and having sought out childcare options, even in a progressive area, that they are quite limited. i think that perhaps you have not gotten a response because your e-mail indicates you will be a trickier- maybe even "fussier" parent to please. please know i mean no harm in saying so, i am one of the fussy parents, too. i think it is a good thing. i think you will have better luck finding a nanny or au pair that will adhere to your family's form, if that is in your price range. good luck in finding the right care for your kiddo and your family! it can be incredibly challenging.


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#4 of 17 Old 06-06-2011, 08:48 AM
 
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I know how frustrating the search for good care can be!

 

A couple thoughts-

 

First, I agree with others that you're asking for too much information up front. Start simple- do you have space? What are your costs (if this is a deal-breaker for you). Then, take it from there.

 

Second, how old is your DC? My DD started daycare at about 15 months, and it was so great for her. She was so ready for a more structured, social environment. I feel your pain on leaving your DC, but know that sometimes, daycare can be fabulous.

 

In terms of some of your other concerns, you may need to figure out what your dealbreakers are, and what things you are willing to be more flexible on. Our DD's first daycare was willing to do our cloth diapers, was right on-board with our gentle discipline approach, and had all the parents send in lunch, so we had control over DD's main meal. On the downside, they did more processed snacks than I would have liked (animal crackers, cheezits, etc.), but I decided that this was something I was willing to let go of. With regard to naps, most licensed daycares are required to provide a certain amount of nap time for each age group. Both of the centers that my DD has been in asked that children try to lie down and have quiet time. You didn't have to sleep, but you did need to rest. I honestly think you'll have a lot of trouble finding a center that doesn't have scheduled nap times. I think the question to ask is, If my child isn't readily resting, how will you handle that? I'll also say that my DD did things at daycare that she NEVER would have done at home, so I wouldn't be completely surprised if your DC sees other kids lying down to rest and does the same thing him/herself.

 

Good luck! Also, FWIW, the center we ended up in was not advertised anywhere and had no web presence. I heard about it from someone I met in a toy store and called on a whim, and it ended up being a perfect fit. So, be persistent and just start calling places.


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#5 of 17 Old 06-06-2011, 09:00 AM
 
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I run an in home daycare, and if I knew anybody in Eastern Tennessee, I'd give you their names.

 

I think all of what you are looking for is perfectly acceptable, except the nap time.  I don't know a single provider who doesn't do a nap time at the same time every day.  It's not just YOUR child, it's all the other children too.  If she has six kids, she can't let one stay up and play while the others nap... and she can't just say "Oh, when Billy is tired, we'll all take a nap".  The only way to do it, is to have one nap time for all the kids.  Your son can sleep, or lie there quietly and look at books.  

 

So, for me, I'd probably answer you, but not make an appointment for an interview, because I won't give up our nap time for the benefit of one family.

 

Also... and, this is going to come off completely rude, judgmental, and unfair to the wonderful people of Tennessee.  ( But, I have a LOT of family and friends in Tn, so I'm just basing my information on them).. anyway, I have noticed that they tend to eat pretty unhealthy foods all the time.  It seems as if fried foods, or fast food is the norm.  So, in your questioning, were you saying you are willing to bring his food for him? 

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#6 of 17 Old 06-06-2011, 05:35 PM
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Since you got no responses, yes, it's clearly too complex or demanding for a starter email/post. With all possible gentleness, the fact that you are requesting no flames for being a two working parent family on the Working and Student Parents board suggests that you may have some issues to get through about being a working parent and putting your child in care of someone else. Those issues may be coming through in your emails.

 

I second pp's recommendations to start slow. Remember that although this is ultimately an employer-employee relationship, they have to want to take the job in order to create that relationship! You don't want to scare them off right away. Also keep in mind that if you are the first parent to ever ask about something, they may not know quite how to respond, whereas if you bring it up after a little more in the way of introduction and getting to know each other, you might get a better response.

 

How old is your DS? If he's under 12-18 months, then I can maybe see asking for a flexible nap schedule (though I'd be surprised if you were to get it with many places.) If older, I'm sorry, but that's just unreasonable for someone who is watching multiple children and may want to sit down herself for a few minutes.

 

You may want to consider prioritizing what is essential for you vs. what is a nice-to-have. For us, when we put DS in care at a year, the essential was that he be with someone who treated him with love and gentleness. Everything else went down in importance from there. So if she wanted to work to get him into a nap routine, that was acceptable to us, so long as it didn't involve CIO.

 

Best of luck to you with childcare and your work.


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#7 of 17 Old 06-06-2011, 06:39 PM
 
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We could not find a provider who was willing to adapt to our food preferences, but could find one that did naps when kids are tired rate hr than scheduled.  It's such a struggle!  I agree with the pp - if you want to continue to pursue home daycare make a list of must haves vs. nice to have.  I'd also say look into Au Pairs if you're already interested in that - more control and cultural exchange too!  we'll be going for it next year :D

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#8 of 17 Old 06-06-2011, 07:14 PM
 
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I would agree that a nanny/day care inside your home with your child only might be a better option for you.

 

As a like-minded-AP mama -  who is also a daycare provider to 9 - I would have a hard time responding to your email.  I would feel overwhelmed, which is (admittedly) fairly easy for me these days.  But I probably would let your email go.  There is a shortage of daycare providers in my area, so I actually don't have to take on every client that comes my way. I can pick and choose what families I take on into my daycare. 

 

That being said - I thought I would give my two cents on your requirements for a daycare. Not to argue, because I agree with you (personally) on your points, however professionally there are other things to consider as a licensed daycare provider.

 

As far as gentle discipline - I think you need to be much more clear with what you are expecting.  Try to imagine that you have never heard the term Gentle Discipline. I think I'm fairly gentle with my daycare kids - I always work through positive reinforcement and redirection.  However, most of the time - natural consequences are not an acceptable solution for me. Logical - perhaps - especially for the older kids (over 2-3). But put yourself in my shoes for a second.  Your 2.5 year old son was just bit by another child, because your son took his toy. Biting is a natural consequence to taking a 2.5 year old's toy, however its a completely unacceptable option for a daycare provider.

 

I don't know exactly what to say about the meal planning & nutrition.  Most licensed providers in Utah work with the Child and Adult Care Food Program, which is sponsored by the USDA.  So I'm required to serve milk at least twice a day.  If I'm a member of this program, I cannot NOT serve your child milk unless I have a DOCTOR'S note that he is allergic.  Your personal preferences mean nothing to the USDA.  (Boo Hiss, I'm going to try not to rant here, because its irrelevant)  But that might be turning off providers right away.  Now --- if you wanted to provide all of your son's meals, I would accept you into my daycare program, and simply not enroll you in my CACFP.  It wouldn't be a problem for me, but I could see how it could be for another provider.

 

And as another poster mentioned - most state licensing board's require kids have a "rest" time each day - I think my state says under 5.  In my program, they are not required to sleep, but they are required to be quiet.  Sometimes we watch a movie during that time.  Sometimes we have music on.  Sometimes its books and puzzles.  But its quiet and its required.  This, by the way - would be an absolute deal breaker for me.  I work 11 hour days, 5 days a week.  Taking a family into my program that would take away  *MY* daily quiet time --- and ONLY break would simply not be an option.  I NEED that break. The kids NEED that break.  I can't imagine being able to function while doing daycare without a guaranteed hour that I could SIT DOWN during the day. Because during the other 9-10 hours a day I'm up interacting with the kids and redirecting their behavior, etc.  I'm not one to sit on the couch and yell. :)

 

 


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#9 of 17 Old 06-06-2011, 07:48 PM
 
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If I were a daycare provider I'd be *terrified* by your email.

 

I found a really great home childcare provider when I first started back to work at a temp job. I found her on craigslist and asked some really basic questions about costs, what was provided etc. Then I set up a time for us to meet (just me and her). Then I came back with my son and met with her again. It was within these meetings that I grew confident that she would be a good person to care for my son. It wasn't until towards the end that I brought up some of our nontraditional things (though I was also flexible). Later when trying to replace her I visited a lot of home care situations and finally gave up and went with a daycare.

 

I've also done a little subbing for a childcare in TN and I can tell you there are all sorts of rules and some of them are so hard to believe. Naptime is a requirement. My children usually had flexible nap times at home, especially when I only had one, but they adapted to nap time at school. Most of the time they'd start by looking at a book then drift off to sleep. The children are required to have a rest mat that is 2 inches thick. It cannot be 1 in. thick, must be 2. This is written out in the rules. When meals are served, the teacher MUST stay seated at the table. One time I subbed for a class and was told that DCS would probably be there to observe at lunch time because earlier in the week the teacher had gotten up for a moment to grab a kid a napkin. I'm not joking.

 

So you can imagine how well your email would go over with an already overworked and underpaid childcare provider. I'd start sending much simpler emails and determine what things are non-negotiable and be flexible with the rest. If your children are anything like mine, they will adapt and come to love their new environment.

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#10 of 17 Old 06-06-2011, 09:35 PM
 
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I think you probably are not going to find a care provider who provides childcare the same way you do in your home. You can't really, when you have a large group of kids to care for. That doesn't mean that it can't be gentle and respectful but it may be different. And sending a long list of requirements sort of sounds like you might be a pain and most people just rolled their eyes and deleted it. If you want care provided in exactly your way you probably need to hire a nanny.

 

If you have a place that is recommended to you, I would call and find out what they offer. Children are pretty adaptable and many AP parents find that their kids are just find in a slightly more scheduled environment. Nap time is often part of the routine that all the children are following. If they don't sleep then the play in another room, etc. Most providers also have to follow a lot of specific rules that don't always make sense.

 

In the end, we choose a nanny. It was a lot easier for a conflicted mama. But now that my kids are older, I can totally see the other side of the tunnel and can appreciate more schedule.

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#11 of 17 Old 06-07-2011, 09:44 AM
 
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It sounds like a nanny/baby-sitter would be a much better fit for you.  I have a sitter come to my home roughly 25 hours a week to take care of my two younger boys and she is easily able to accomodate things like letting them nap when they are tired.  Child care centers just don't have that kind of leeway (and the providers need a break as well!).  Although my sitter is awesome and has both my boys do a nap at the same time each day, so she gets a bit of down time as well.


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#12 of 17 Old 06-11-2011, 06:22 PM
 
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Having used a few home daycares - Can I suggest that you get the basics via email and then go meet w/ the providers. I found that the home environment, happy kids, clean, safe, and a loving provider were FAR more important to me than naptimes and what types of snacks were provided. The state regulates a lot of stuff, as PP mentioned, so you aren't going going to have luck w/ the flexible naps and such. It just isn't going to happen. Instead find someone who will LOVE your child and who they can love back. You can't suss that stuff out via email and visiting the homes will tell you what you need to know about the environment w/in a couple minutes of walking in the door.

 

 

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#13 of 17 Old 06-11-2011, 07:18 PM
 
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One more option that I do not think has been mentioned - can you ask around or do you know a mom who is struggling to make ends meet who would be willing to care for your DC?  I babysit for my neighbors - have for years. I care for them 8-5 m-f year round.  Because it was only my kids and them we were able to meet specific needs that I could not have met if I had more than one family to care for.  Just a thought - good luck!


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#14 of 17 Old 06-11-2011, 07:28 PM
 
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Here in NY in-home day care must register with teh county - if you call the county...and ill be honest, i dont know exactly WHERE - maybe county clerks office and go from there - anyhooo they should be able to provide you with a list of in-home day care providers.

I agree with many above posters OP - you cant have everything your way at a day care center.   Its more like public school.  Its not necessarily a bad thing, but you have to decide what your comfortable with. 


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#15 of 17 Old 06-13-2011, 09:01 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by annekevdbroek View Post

Having used a few home daycares - Can I suggest that you get the basics via email and then go meet w/ the providers. I found that the home environment, happy kids, clean, safe, and a loving provider were FAR more important to me than naptimes and what types of snacks were provided. The state regulates a lot of stuff, as PP mentioned, so you aren't going going to have luck w/ the flexible naps and such. It just isn't going to happen. Instead find someone who will LOVE your child and who they can love back. You can't suss that stuff out via email and visiting the homes will tell you what you need to know about the environment w/in a couple minutes of walking in the door.

 

 


I agree with the above. Also in my experience, at home we nap when tired (and that means my 3 year old does not want to nap at home anymore). But at daycare he naps very well on a schedule. I know for sure, because I have been to the daycare around naptime and he was always  fast asleep. Daycare's tend to be flexible with naps until 12 months or so, after that it is one nap early afternoon in most places. It might work out fine with your child as well, I wouldn't worry about it.

 

Carma

 

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#16 of 17 Old 06-14-2011, 11:38 AM
 
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Till a few months ago, I was an SAHM - daycare, or any non-family childcare for that matter, was a big adjustment.  It took me a long time to find a provider that I'm comfortable with - even then there are still hard compromises to be made.  

 

If I were you, I'd visit as many daycare places as you can, even a few that did not have any immediate openings - none of them will be perfect but if you're lucky, after every visit you'll learn a bit more about daycare in general - in-home option or otherwise.  Once you visit enough many, perhaps you'll decide that you want a nanny or au-pair, or whatever else.  Oh, and try to go with you DP too.  

 

The main point is, no matter what your final choice is - the adjustment will be challenging.  But if you feel like you have made the best choice there is for your DC, it'll be easier to be at peace with your decision.


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#17 of 17 Old 06-14-2011, 11:48 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ~pi View Post

Since you got no responses, yes, it's clearly too complex or demanding for a starter email/post. With all possible gentleness, the fact that you are requesting no flames for being a two working parent family on the Working and Student Parents board suggests that you may have some issues to get through about being a working parent and putting your child in care of someone else. Those issues may be coming through in your emails.

 

That.  Your op is pretty judgmental of working parents and daycare providers.

 

Most daycare center are licensed through the state, which means they must follow those requirements.  Nap time is required here.  Kids aren't forced to go to sleep or anything but it is part of the day to have quiet time.  Daycares are usually on a USDA food program which has a whole list of other requirements.  Since you're vegan, you'll have to ask about bringing food from home, but ime it's never been a big deal.  Daycares have to have a discipline plan and many use time-outs.  Redirection can be a little difficult if you're running a daycare center (not impossible, but it may be harder to find).

 

Look for a nanny or even an inhome daycare might be more willing to work with you (depending on how you present yourself) than a center.  And your dp sounds like he had a great experience with daycare, I'm not sure why you would look down on that?

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