When Should You Start Looking For Childcare?- It’s Sooner Than You Think!

mom filling out daycare signup form

It is never too early to start looking for childcare. You never know the waitlist for a childcare facility until you start making some phone calls.

Likewise, the sooner you start looking, the easier it is to determine what kind of childcare you want to use.

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When Should You Start Looking For Childcare?

Sometime during the third trimester of your pregnancy is a good time to start making childcare decisions. If you know you’re going to return to work after the child is born, start looking even sooner. Some daycare centers have a long waitlist, and it can take a while to find a good nanny.

Looking for a Good Quality Daycare?

Find an affordable and qualified daycare center that fits your needs.

Don’t Let This Happen to You

My husband and I looked at several daycare facilities, talked to nannies, and interviewed in-home daycare providers.

However, the truth is, we knew well before we were expecting exactly where our children would go to nursery school.

It’s a very special place that we long dreamed about. What we didn’t realize, until I was pregnant was that it had a three-year waitlist.

My son was on the waitlist for that nursery school the very day we came home from the hospital. It was sheer luck that he was able to get in.

We didn’t wait so long with my daughter. As soon as I found out I was pregnant, I had the paperwork signed.

Do you feel like that is a little premature for daycare? While that may be true, it’s sometimes necessary for the best environments.

Why You Should Start Looking for Daycare Early
I want to re-emphasize that the reason you start looking for daycare early is that many of the good daycare facilities have really long waitlists.

We’ve tried to enroll in daycares before, only to find out they have a 2 or 3-year waitlist. Depending on your area, even the bad daycares may have waitlists.

Don’t take any chances. It’s NEVER too early to start scoping and touring daycares. You can go here to start searching for daycares.

Learn What You Want

childcare spelled out

You may not be sure what type of daycare situation you want for your child. Maybe you want a nanny who will devote their full attention to your child.

Searching early for a nanny will help you narrow down the best one. Conversely, you might find that the best nannies are out of your price range.

What About Daycares?

Most communities offer multiple daycare facilities. Looking early for a daycare lets you explore many different spots. You can compare and contrast them, interview them and ensure they are good enough for your child. The more time you have, the better your decision will be.

You could reach the conclusion my husband and I did. We decided that our children would only go to nursery school part-time and that I would stay home. I had no intention of being a stay-at-home mom until we started looking at daycare facilities in earnest.

Start Budgeting

It’s not unreasonable to start budgeting for daycare services before starting your family. Daycare is incredibly expensive!

Find out the rates for the daycare providers in your area. That might tell you if you can afford daycare or if another option, like grandparents watching your child, might be viable.

Childcare co-ops are good options for parents on a budget. However, they can be confusing and intimidating at first. The sooner you start looking into these situations, the more you will understand how they work.

Related: Daycare vs. Grandparents: Which is Better?

Waiting Too Long

There probably is no such thing as waiting too long to look for childcare. As long as you’re willing to settle for a daycare that isn’t ideal, you should be able to find one with openings with relative ease.

Pro-Tip
Keep in mind that as you have fewer options, you might be stuck with a daycare that is very expensive or has untrained staff.

Key Takeaways

I will always fall on the side of starting things too early. Whether it’s heading to the airport (if I’m not three hours early, I’m late) or searching for a daycare, the sooner, the better.

What are your suggestions for daycare timelines? Tell us in the comments!

Looking for a Good Quality Daycare?

Find an affordable and qualified daycare center that fits your needs.

Have You Read These Yet?

Frequently Asked Questions

Some daycares waitlist is so long you might have to signup 1 or 2 years before your child is born to secure a spot.

Many experts will say that 12 months is a good age to start an infant in daycare?

It’s never too early to start looking for a quality daycare. Most “good” daycares will have a waitlist, and that waitlist can be as long as 1+ years. Start early and scope out which daycare provider you want to use and see how long their waitlist runs.