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3 Steps for Starting Daycare (+ Tips for Sleep at Daycare)

Updated: Jan 12

Whether your little one is starting daycare at 6-weeks old, 6-months old, or 16-months old, you will probably have some feels about it.

It’s a big step for parents to have their baby in someone else’s care - I GET IT! As both a mom, and a former childcare director and early childhood teacher, I’ve experienced both sides, and can shed a little light on how to make this transition as easy as possible.

I’ve compiled a few steps you can follow to help it go smoothly.

Step 1: Ask Questions and Communicate

As you’re researching potential providers, have a list of questions ready to go to help you rule out places that might be the best fit. Scour their websites to see if you can find answers there first, then, I highly recommend reaching out and actually talking to the director.

Here are a few you might want to consider asking:

  • What ages do you serve and how are the “classrooms” organized?

  • What are the ratios of staff to children at each age level?

  • What do I need to provide and what is included in my fees or tuition?

  • What can you share about the staff…their backgrounds, education, turnover rate, etc.?

  • What does a typical day look like in the classroom my child would be in?

  • How is the classroom set up?

  • Can I send in a sleep sack and sound machine from home for naptimes?

  • How often are feedings given?

  • Can I come in and breastfeed or give a bottle on my lunch break?

  • How often are naps offered?

  • What are the safe sleep guidelines you follow?

  • What if my child doesn’t fall asleep?

  • What time do you open and close for the day?

  • How are payments made?

Simply having a conversation will give you a lot of information, and even some intuition about if this particular provider seems like a good fit.

If at all you feel like something is “off” during your conversation, it’s in the best interest of your child to move on and keep searching.

If you decide this place would be a good fit, then it’s time to ask about registration fees and paperwork, waitlists, and thank them for their time in answering all your questions.

Moving forward, it’s also important to always have open and honest communication. Setting the tone from the start, before your child is even officially enrolled, will help if there are any future issues you need to address or discuss with the provider.

Step 2: Share Gratitude and Show Appreciation

Speaking of sharing gratitude and showing appreciation…

Simply saying “Thank you for your time,” and “Thank you for all that information,” will start the beginning of a hopefully beautiful and long relationship.