There are a lot of things to consider when comparing your child provider. Sometimes it’s tricky because things are not exactly comparable from one to another. Below are some things you might want to consider when you compare them side by side.
The price is usually different from different age group. Some charge by week, some charge by month. Some charge extra for after three clock and / or before nine clock. Some includes lunch. And there’s two days, three day and full week. Think about what you exactly need and the cost to you on a per week / per month basis so you can compare them apple to apple. Number of school holidays / breaks also needs to be factored in. If you are not off during those days, you’d have to either use a PTO or use other care, which would be extra cost and hassle.
While safety is the number one concern for parents, my suggestion is you give a Pass/Fail check when comparing facilities. Some have really fancy things like finger print locks may catch your attention, but you may not want that to be your deciding factor. More importantly, you should look for how their policy is implemented / enforced throughout your tour.
Kids are dirty. And they get sicks easily, especially during the first couple of month in a daycare. Cleanness also is a good indication of how well the procedure are followed and how well the facility are maintained. When comparing them side by side, ground keeping, toy clean policy and hands washing policy are good to check on.
Classroom and playground
Number of toys should not be your indication of how good / bad the school is. Nor did fancy computer screens. Everyone have their own philosophy. Look what they have kids do more give you more concrete understanding of how your kids will spend their time there. Also look how other kids are playing outside and picture how your kids would fit in. This one may play a factor on how faster your kids will adapt to the group dynamics here. Long terms speaking, most kids would adapt to the environment pretty well. And they enjoy to have other kids around them.
Some school may have kitchen of their own, some may have an outsider provider and some small school / family care will require you pack your kid’s lunch. In most cases, when you pack your kids’ lunch, expect to pack a cold lunch. Microwave food for your kids at school isn’t common.
Some school would have enrichment programs that are provided by other provider, most common are painting, Spanish, dancing. Those would be extra cost. While those are complete optional, you kids may end up pushing you to sign up one or two because his/her good friends is in the class.
Drop off and Pick up time
Working parent are bounded by those times. Especially pick up dictates how late you can stay at work with your commute. Some daycare charge one dollar per minute when you are late at pick up. So it can get expensive quickly. Family care usually don’t charge extra for that, or at a much lower rate. Some daycare have dinner and night care program, this could be great when you have unexpected thing coming up at work.