Making daycare work for your family can be a challenge for working moms. There are challenges to finding the right daycare, to making sure you keep on top of everything that’s going on at daycare and making sure that the daycare is providing the best possible care. To make things easier, I have put together some daycare hacks for working moms.
Decide, In Advance, What Type of Care You Need
Some parents prefer a licensed, in-home daycare. This gives more of a family feel. If the daycare participates in the USDA food program, then you know they are getting healthy meals. In-home daycare may be a better option if you only need part-time daycare, if you need irregular hours, or if you have kids who have never been in any daycare. A daycare center tends to have a more structured schedule; kids may learn more in a daycare center. A center may be a better choice for children who have been in daycares before, and whose parents work a straight nine-to-five type schedule.
Be Strategic About Baby Gear
One of the most significant challenges of daycare is losing gear. Every morning you are packing bottles and butt cream and diapers; it is time-consuming, and it is easy to forget something somewhere in the loop. Ask your daycare provider if you can bring a set of gear that stays at daycare. Bottles, diapers, formula, and duplicates of favorite toys or blankets are all easily stored in a cubby or bin. These can be refreshed weekly or monthly instead of every day. You will lose much less gear and keep baby happier.
Inevitably, something will get lost, even if you have a full set of baby gear at the daycare. If you put your baby’s name on all the bottles, each piece of clothing, and every other piece of baby gear that you take to daycare, you are much more likely to get it back. Usually, when an item gets lost, it is because both Bobby and Johnny have the same coat, and someone made a mistake. Having your child’s name on everything will help your items get back home if they accidentally go to the wrong home.
Find a Daycare that Provides Meals
Once your child is eating regular food, having a daycare that provides all the meals will make your morning flow much better. Trust me when I tell you that a last-minute stop at the gas station for a Lunchable will get old, quick. Most daycares provide healthy meals, so there’s no worry that your kid will be snacking on bologna and cotton candy.
Find a Daycare that is Close to Your Work
There will be a day when you have to stay late for work. It may only be a few minutes, but most daycares are strict about their late policy. Show up just a few minutes after their posted closing time, and you will rack up some ridiculous late fees. If your daycare is close to where you work, then you are less likely to run over on those days when you end up spending a bit too long finishing up.
Make Drive Time Fun
If your daycare is close to work, then you may have a bit of a commute with your kiddo in the car. This is a great time to have some fun. Play the license plate game, or put together a playlist with fun kid-friendly songs that you can sing together as you drive. If your commute is on public transportation, try to buy a new book every few weeks, and read together on your way home.
Have a Backup Plan
You will need an emergency childcare provider. Whether your daycare provider gets sick, or she is going on a vacation that she has planned for months, there will come a day when someone else will need to take care of your child. Some centers allow for emergency drop-offs; you will need to have registered in advance, so don’t wait until you need this service. You will also pay a premium for this type of service; if you can enlist a grandparent or trusted friend, that may be a better option.
Plan on Gifts
Around the holidays, a gift is an excellent idea for your daycare provider. Great gifts include gift cards for coffee, luxury items such as a massager, or get together with other parents and buy a gift certificate for a spa day. This lets your daycare provider know that you value the role she plays in taking care of your child! For a large center where your child may be taken care of by several providers, a tray of cupcakes or home-made cookies will always be well-received.
Overall, daycare is one of those things that working moms cannot avoid. However, using these daycare hacks will help make the daycare experience less stressful for you.
More Mom Hacks