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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am about 22 weeks along with my first child. I know that I will be taking 18 weeks of maternity leave, and will have a somewhat flexible schedule until my wee one is 12 months old. I have already found a dcp that I am hoping to go with once she is a year, but between 4 - 12 months, DH and I are going to need to find a dcp all day on Monday's and Friday's.

I have gotten the general impression that an in-home provider would be a little more flexible with both our part-time status as well as dealing with a breastfeeding, co-sleeping, cloth diapering family.

My issue of the moment is trying to actually FIND an in-home provider. What resources are available? I've looked at craigslist and, frankly, it freaked me out a bit. There's a little too much anonymity with something like that. I've asked friends with wee ones, but all of them are either SAHM or WOHM that have just recently returned and their children are older. (My support community is wonderful, but a bit small and full of kids mostly 4+.)

So how did you find your in-home daycare provider? What kinds of questions did you ask, if you were not referred to them by a known acquaintance? Is it reasonable to ask about a one or two week trial with me staying for a few hours, and possibly severing the business relationship if we don't feel comfortable? And for anyone in the Seattle area, what is a reasonable cost for both full and part-time care of an infant for an in-home provider?

Thanks in advance for any and all comments!
 

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I found an in-home daycare by talking to my neighbors. I stop by everyday at lunch to nurse my ds. I've learned a lot about my son's care by stopping in for 20-30 minutes each day.

If you can't find an in-home daycare, you may want to consider a nanny. IMO the care is much much better, but of course it's more expensive.
 

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Step 1) Talk to everyone you know - even parents who are mostly SAHM sometimes know someone.

Step 2) You can get a listing of child care providers in King County at http://www.childcare.org/ - the only problem is that they give you a list of EVERYONE in a given geographic area. We ended up with a list of 75 or so providers in our general area. Youch! At least you have a lot of time to call and go and visit providers and check out the vibes. The thing that helped the most for me was to hang out at the dcp's house for awhile and see how she interacted with the kids and how my son liked it.

For price, when I was looking in Seattle 2 years ago for care for my 1-year-old, most places were about $35-50/day. I only found one lady who charged $35 - most were more than that. Centers were generally higher than that, and less flexible in terms of hours.

I didn't have any trouble with cloth diapers. One in-home provider even subscribed to a diaper service.
 

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I've always just asked around, references turn up pretty easy.

And you should feel free to ask for anything you need to feel comfortable about leaving your child. Your one or two week trial idea is perfectly reasonable.
 

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You can call the day care liscensing division of your city (or county?) government -- they'll tell you where you can call or email to get a list.

Referrals are always best. Ask EVERYONE if they know anyone good. When 2 unrelated people recommended the same dcp, I knew I was on to someone good. And she was! And she was in my neighborhood!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you so much for the childcare resource. I am definitely going to ask around (and around and around), but this gives me a backup to use. What a great thing! The price range sounds about rate for in-home care as well. It's a bit overwhelming to think that daycare can cost as much as a mortgage payment. Oof.

Thanks again... the site is bookmarked!
 

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I found a lot of references from friends and coworkers & my parents' SAHM neighbor (her friends did some babysitting, but not FT).
But - the dcp I decided on was actually recommended by someone in my tribe here on MDC. I'm in Bellevue & just popped over into the WA tribe and asked for leads. I was specifically looking for a center based dcp, not a home provider, and got several replies from other eastside moms. (you could search for my old thread - it was probably around last April)

Good luck! I've been searching for dcp's for nine years and I still think it's the hardest darned thing in the world (and I've given BIRTH........ TWICE
).

As for price, I pay $800/mo for DS2 - when he was an infant, it was $980/mo. That's in Bellevue, not far from downtown.
 

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Look and see if your town or nearest large city has a Child Care Resource and Referral agency. This is what they do! They have very detailed information about every licensed daycare, whether it be a home or a center-rates and everything.
If you can't find the CCR&R in your area go to the governement offices for your town or county and ask to speak with the daycare licensor-she will be more than willing to give you a list of daycares in the area. She of course can't tell you which one to go with, but once you are armed with list you can start making your calls and go from there-most of the time you can eliminate almost 50% right off the bat, just with the kind of care you will need--infant, toddler, preschool, school age.

Anyways, hope this helps you!
 

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I would agree that a nanny is much better, especially for an infant. I just could not get used to the idea of leaving my babe w/ someone who had several other kids to watch. If you're the type that would never let the baby cry and is super-sensitive to his/her needs, just try to imagine doing that with kids of varying ages (including relatives and non-relatives) running around w/ needs of their own. It just seemed very stressful for everyone involved.

You sound very (extremely) prepared, but it's hard to prepare for the feelings you will have for your first child. I'm speaking from experience here - completely unprepared!! We finally found an AWESOME nanny who is doing 2 days a week now but will probably go to 3 when I change jobs.

I did the whole CCR&R list and combed through home daycares, but came up empty. The 2 I interviewed were not ideal because: First one had to pick up & drop off her DS at school everyday, and since she was close to my work, which is a 20 minute drive each way, I felt this was too much time for DD to be in the car exposed to dangers from accidents, not being responded to, germs, etc. The second one was close to my home but I didn't get a good vibe. She was a single, older white woman who had adopted 3 african-american children with some major health problems, which I TOTALLY respect. The problem was I had to pry it out of her. Being secretive I don't think is a good quality in a DCP.

The way I found my nanny was to list on the 2 local college job boards. I actually didn't get ANY leads from them directly, but one of them automatically sent the listing to a local public job placement service. My nanny was relatively new in town so I guess that worked to my advantage b/c otherwise someone would have snatched her up.

Regarding questions and training: I just tried to keep in mind that if there was anything I thought might be uncomfortable for her to answer (say, if she had any health probs or such), then that was basically a signal to me that I owed it to DD to ASK it. Get background checks, motor vehicle records, drug tests, ANYTHING you think could weed out someone bad for DC. If they have nothing to hide, then they won't have any problem complying.

I think it is IMPERATIVE to spend time w/ the DCP/nanny prior to leaving your DC w/ them. A couple week trial would be great. Just keep in mind that you need to pay them for this time. I pay $10/hr, which is expensive, but actually below average for my area. I didn't think I'd be able to find a nanny for < $12.50/hr. My nanny doesn't seem to really need the money... She has a nicer, bigger house than I do, and she & her husband own 6 investment properties. Otherwise I might be leary of her not demanding pay at the higher end of the spectrum.

Bottom line, make sure that all the info you're getting from applicants ADDS UP. Don't let any instinct go or any question in your mind sit unanswered. And make sure you, DH & other relatives can drop in often. Not because you want to catch DCP doing anything bad, but because it will a) give you peace of mind, and b) keep her "honest" knowing that she could be walked in on at any second.

HTH! Congrats!
 

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You may have a hard time finding someone willing to do temporary care like that. Continuity of care is important for the child AND the provider. It breaks my heart when my daycare families no longer need me. I get children as babies or toddlers, then keep them until they outgrow the need for daycare.
 

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try calling your local federal food prgram called CACFP Child and Adult Care Food Program to see if the local inspector would be willing to give you some refferals. I know that the woman who visits my program gives out names and numbers with the providers permission and also has a very good idea of the quality of the homes she visits. Also check bulleton boards when I started out I only did flyers with business cards attatched in areas that other ap families frequent as I am picky about my clientel. Also ask around at LLL.
 

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Child care has got to be the toughest thing about being a parent.

Wanted to say I don't think a home daycare provider with a few other kids is a bad choice. It depends on the range of age of the kids, somewhat. But I have had some opportunities to observe that kind of setting and I think people would be surprised to see what it actually looks like. It's not like there are ten babies screaming and only one adult to try to take care of them one at a time. If there is an infant, and a toddler, and a 3-year-old, and a 4-year-old...it actually can be really fun and interesting for the baby to watch what the bigger kids are doing. The older kids even often do things WITH the baby, like hand it a toy, play peek-a-boo, etc. I think a baby alone with an adult can be really, really hard. The adult ends up having to do a LOT of 1-on-1 to keep the baby from getting bored/cranky, in my experience (i'm sure all babies are different). Or else put the baby in front of the TV, which I've seen people do, but I don't agree with that.

In my state a home daycare provider is limited to 5 children total, and no more than 2 children under age 2, so a reasonable mix of age like I described above is enforced.

That said--most home daycares will not take only part-time, or they will but they will charge you the full-time rate anyway. So it may be that a nanny 2 days a week works out fairly equivalent. It's certainly much more convenient than taking your child somewhere else.

When my son was small DH was sort of a SAHD but he was also doing some consulting, so we needed care sporadically. I tried and tried to find a SAHM who just wanted to do occasional care for a little extra money. I have to say that did not go well. I got a string of people who, while they seemed nice enough, it really kind of showed that they really just wanted to be with their own child, they resented the economic circumstance that made it necessary for them to "babysit," they judged me for being a WOHM, etc.
 

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Excellent points, Wednesday. I admit I am inexperienced in this area. All I can really do is share my story & how I made the decisions I did. Right now I am working on finding enough things for the nanny to do w/ DD, without shoving too many plastic things in her face all day. I guess when it came down to it, my decision on not doing daycare had more to do w/ the specifics of the providers I came across. Probably if I'd had more time to observe, I may have felt differently. Can't say I would have ended up doing anything different, but you are right about having other kids for the baby to play w/ & observe.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by wednesday View Post
Child care has got to be the toughest thing about being a parent.

Wanted to say I don't think a home daycare provider with a few other kids is a bad choice. It depends on the range of age of the kids, somewhat. But I have had some opportunities to observe that kind of setting and I think people would be surprised to see what it actually looks like. It's not like there are ten babies screaming and only one adult to try to take care of them one at a time. If there is an infant, and a toddler, and a 3-year-old, and a 4-year-old...it actually can be really fun and interesting for the baby to watch what the bigger kids are doing. The older kids even often do things WITH the baby, like hand it a toy, play peek-a-boo, etc. I think a baby alone with an adult can be really, really hard. The adult ends up having to do a LOT of 1-on-1 to keep the baby from getting bored/cranky, in my experience (i'm sure all babies are different). Or else put the baby in front of the TV, which I've seen people do, but I don't agree with that.

In my state a home daycare provider is limited to 5 children total, and no more than 2 children under age 2, so a reasonable mix of age like I described above is enforced.

That said--most home daycares will not take only part-time, or they will but they will charge you the full-time rate anyway. So it may be that a nanny 2 days a week works out fairly equivalent. It's certainly much more convenient than taking your child somewhere else.

When my son was small DH was sort of a SAHD but he was also doing some consulting, so we needed care sporadically. I tried and tried to find a SAHM who just wanted to do occasional care for a little extra money. I have to say that did not go well. I got a string of people who, while they seemed nice enough, it really kind of showed that they really just wanted to be with their own child, they resented the economic circumstance that made it necessary for them to "babysit," they judged me for being a WOHM, etc.

That sounds like my home when I have all the kiddos here...I do take part time though bc alot of my ap parents only need full time. One mama whose little boy is only here fridays is taking classes at the alternative med school a mile away and comes every day for lunch....and it's been wonderful. We're gonna barter services...me for her and her for me when the time comes this spring...can't wait...I know that I am an exception to that rule these days. I don't believe having 1 or 2 children in care should cost close to your mortgage payments....

I do my advertising right now on Craigslist. I know that all the postings can be daunting but if you take the time to email who you may be interested in a few times and then set up a meeting, you can get a decent enough gauge before you go and meet them....at least in my area. There are MANY postings for care on the south and east side of town but many on my side of town....

HTH
 

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This is a really helpful thread. I came here looking for info on how to find in-home care (as in MY home) for the kids, and it really seems like a referral is the only way to go. Anybody know any child care providers or sahms in search of some extra money in Pittsburgh?
 
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