Finding childcare can be an intimidating task. There are many factors to consider, such as cost, location, hours of operation and your child's needs.
Here are a few strategies to keep in mind when starting the search for childcare:
- Begin the search early. The best childcare providers fill up quickly, so it's important to start searching early. This will allow for plenty of time to compare options and find the right fit.
- Research is good. There are many different types of childcare available, including daycare centers, preschools and in-home childcare. Doing research and comparing the available options will help in making an educated decision.
- Childcare can be expensive. It's important to factor in the cost when making your decision. Consider using a childcare subsidy program if you qualify.
- Consider the location of the childcare provider. Are they easy to get to in an emergency? Does the location change your regular commute?
- Check the hours of operation. Does the availability of the childcare provider match your schedule needs?
- Visit and see for yourself. Once options are narrowed down, it's important to visit potential providers in-person. This will be one of the best chances to see the facilities, meet the staff and ask questions that are on your mind.
- Trust your instincts. When going out to visit different providers, pay attention to your feelings as you go. If something feels uncomfortable during a visit, there is likely a reason, whether it is clear or not. Don't be afraid to move on until you feel confident in a decision.
Explore local and national resources for assistance on your childcare journey:
- Childcare.gov offers free tip sheets for choosing quality childcare.
- Childcare Aware of America can help distinguish which type of childcare might be best for you.
- Colorado Shines, from the Colorado Department of Early Childhood, has tools for families to help navigate childcare including offering free referrals.
- Colorado Kids Pediatrics covers the different types of childcare along with suggested questions for a potential provider. They also display guides for staffing ratios, preparing your child to start childcare, and other useful resources.
- Healthychildren.org supports choosing a childcare center with a checklist, common questions to ask a childcare provider and additional resources.
- Universal Preschool Colorado is currently accepting applications!
Tips to Make Your Search Easier
It's important to remember that you are not alone. Lean on your community and social groups to help find that good fit.
- Ask your friends, family, and co-workers for recommendations.
- Check with your local government or childcare resource and referral agency.
- Look for online reviews of childcare providers.
- The provider should be someone you feel comfortable with and who you think would be a good fit for your child.