As a mom who decided to go back to work after maternity leave, I found there were a few very easy steps in selecting the right daycare:
- Research all 77 daycare centers within a 5 mile radius of your home.
- Spend weeks touring the centers that meet your ridiculous criteria, meet a million providers.
- Ask questions like “What’s your peanut policy?” and “How often will you feed my baby?”
- Read through epic packets of information and still end up with questions like, “What’s your peanut policy?” and “How often will you feed my baby?”
- Pay deposits of $100+ to all the top contenders-because, clearly, you need to do this before you’ve even found out the gender of your baby. (Hey, daycare enrollment is competitive!)
- Fill out forms about the fetus you’re still referring to as “it,” until your hand cramps and you need a cookie.
- Eat a cookie (or 3).
- Receive countless follow up emails, calls, Tweets, and carrier pigeons from the centers you’ve visited begging you to enroll your precious gremlin there.
- Sleep on it. (Toss and turn and agonize over every detail-Don’t actually sleep.)
- Finally you’ve made a decision! Call your first choice and tell them to sign baby It up!
- Realize you forgot to submit your deposit to #1 choice when they tell you there are no more infant spots for the month you are planning on enrolling It.
- Call your second choice and tell them how wonderful their facility is and how they were your first choice.
- Realize you submitted your deposit to the branch of your #2 across town by accident, and cry when you find out the other branch won’t transfer the deposit to the branch two minutes from your house.
- Cry again when your local #2 tells you they are full at the time It will enroll, but that they will gladly refer you to their branch across town.
- This could go on a while…
Ok, so the above was not my experience, but I listened to many of my fellow working mamas describe the hunt for a daycare as grueling, stressful, and ultimately terrible.
We were so fortunate to land on Children’s Academy, and it happened to be the first place we set foot in. We did visit several other facilities that were equally convenient to our house, but none of them stacked up.
I was hesitant to look at 4 star facilities at first-after all, you want the best everything for your little one. After touring four 5 star daycares in our area, it was clear that our little gremlin goose would be joining the Children’s Academy crew. The 5 stars were often stuffy, formal, almost too structured for our taste. Hell, one even had a dress code for infants+. What!? Yes, you read correctly, a dress code for infants.
I met Amanda, the Director at Children’s Academy, and instantly felt at home. She took me around to the different classes, and we ultimately landed in the infant room, where I found 8 adorable bright eyed babies who were totally content, and in that fleeting moment, none of them were melting down. Bonus!
I talked with Miss Tonya and Miss Margeala about a daily schedule, expectations, and even popular baby girl names. I felt like I was talking with friends. While they attentively answered my questions, they also diapered, fed, bounced, and entertained the little ones with efficiency, confidence, and ease.
I said my goodbyes and went on to tour the other facilities I referenced above.
I went home that evening with a ton of information about all the facilities I’d seen, but couldn’t stop thinking about the bright murals on the walls, the friendly staff, and those adorable, happy babies at Children’s Academy. After talking with my husband, we decided to go with my gut. A few days later, I went to Children’s Academy and put down the deposit to secure our spot.
As the year marched on, I developed a glorious bump, we found out our gremlin would be a girl, and all was right with the world.
After I had our daughter, some weeks into maternity leave, I called Children’s Academy to make sure we were all good. Amanda offered to let me bring Noa to the infant room to hang out several weeks before she would start, just to get acclimated and to meet Miss Tonya and Miss Margeala.
The visit went great, and a few weeks later, I left our tiny, not quite 3-month-old beauty in the care of Children’s Academy for the first time. Gasp! Of course, I was hysterical for most of the day, but she was just fine.
She loves Miss Tonya and Miss Margeala, and is so worn out from all the stimulation she receives with all those babies doing their thing. She’s developed a routine that the staff follows without question. They are easy to work with when that routine needs to be modified, and as developmental milestones are met. I never worry whether or not she’s cared about or cared for while she’s there.
So, here’s another thing. Babies get sick. Not just babies who go to daycare-all babies. Our pediatrician says that daycare babies get sick more in the beginning of their lives because they have all kinds of goodness being thrown at their immune systems. Noa has been sick several times since starting daycare. When she’s out, they always text to find out how she’s doing, and even send kisses her way. They also help us maintain whatever follow-up to sickness is needed when she returns, whether it be saline mist or boogie patrol.
They have been lifesavers when it comes to general baby advice-sleeping, eating, socializing, etc. They are quick to tell me that “every baby is different” and that someday Noa will grow hair. And teeth. 🙂
I can’t say enough wonderful things about Children’s Academy and our experience with the Infant Room and all those associated with it. I’d definitely recommend Children’s Academy for new moms, and plan on enrolling any future babies we may be lucky enough to have there as well.