Navigating the Early Journey: Finding the Perfect Daycare for Your Little One

February 12, 2024
Daycare teacher and new mom discuss daycare options

Welcome, soon-to-be parents, parents-to-be, and seasoned parents alike! Is there such a thing as starting daycare too early? How do you secure that sought-after spot at your top choice? 


With the recent buzz about lengthening waitlists at childcare centers, it's natural to wonder when to kickstart your search. The ideal timing varies for each family, but one golden rule remains: the earlier, the better. 


Consider beginning your research and putting together your 'must-have' list as soon as possible, as early as your first trimester of pregnancy. This early start allows ample time to explore options and navigate any potential waitlists.


Post-pandemic, employers have implemented hybrid or fully remote schedules, but are mandating children remain off zoom meetings. As a result, quality childcare has become paramount and unfortunately, longer waitlists have become a reality for many families. The stress of securing a spot is palpable, with some even inquiring about registering unborn children!


Tips for Starting Your Daycare Search


So, you're just starting your daycare search? Fear not! Here are some handy tips to ease the process:

  • Start Early. Begin your research as soon as possible. See what options are available in your area and make a list of ‘must-haves’. 

  • Tap Into Community. Turn to your local Facebook group for recommendations from fellow parents. Ask others to share their experiences and feel free to ask questions. 

  • Be Flexible. Consider alternative schedules or temporary solutions while waiting for your ideal spot. Waitlists can change rather quickly – families can move, home/work needs change, starting with a part-time program can help you to get your foot in the door. 

  • Expand Your Horizons. Explore various options within and beyond your immediate community. 

  • Prioritize Needs. Identify your non-negotiables and be prepared to compromise where necessary.

But what if you're fashionably late to the daycare search party? Don't panic! Here's how to catch up:

  • Embrace Flexibility. Keep an open mind regarding schedules and availability.

  • Cast a Wide Net. Explore your options and leverage personal networks for referrals.

  • Stay Persistent. Regularly communicate with daycare centers and promptly complete paperwork to demonstrate your commitment.

Lastly, when evaluating potential daycare centers, prioritize your child's comfort and well-being. See if the center will allow you a playdate or trial visit to observe the environment and interactions firsthand. After all, finding a nurturing space where your little one can thrive and is safe is the ultimate goal!


Whether you're planning ahead or playing catch-up, the key to childcare success lies in early preparation, community connections, flexibility, and unwavering persistence. So, embark on this adventure with enthusiasm and confidence, knowing that the perfect daycare spot for your precious bundle is within reach. Happy searching!


To learn more about Lightbridge Academy programs, and how we can be a great fit for your family, schedule a tour today!