If there is one thing that can unnerve a parent about moving to a new town or even just moving into a new stage of life with their kids, it’s figuring out who is best to care for your sweet kiddos.
Those moments as mat leave ends or you simply know that your family life needs to take that next step into a bit of a new world mean tackling the often-daunting task of finding the right child care – not only for your kiddo, but for the whole family so that everyone can settle in to a new routine with ease and even a bit of joyfulness.
When we moved to Halifax at the beginning of the summer, one of the big things on my mind as well as Ken’s was getting our youngest (now almost 2) into an awesome pre-school setting where she could get some face time with other tiny people, our oldest could get back into her own routine, I could head back into the office and Ken would have a sense of peace that all was well with his girls.
Peeking out at the child care terrain from behind the new-kid-in-town curtain proved a wee bit scary for all of us at first and – honestly – the universe did not make this one easy for us.
It was a searching high and low sort of endeavor for all of us. We visited lots of child care centers and preschools. Something just didn’t feel right no matter where we went.
Then, right around #7 on our list we drove up to the center and I said to our oldest as I pulled into the driveway “Holy wow. This one is it.”
We walked inside the house that had been converted into a preschool and just melted. Homemade meals. Focus on creative and outside play. Great teachers. The owner has her kids there too. It vibes. We vibed, and our wee one fell in love too making the transition to three days a week with exceptional ease.
My heart filled with gratitude.
Turning the care of your kids over to strangers is so very hard on the heart. But, I asked our sweet new preschool owner what she thought were the important things to look for and she graciously offered up the following list:
1. Find a facility that fits your philosophy. Whatever you think your kiddo needs, look for it and spend some time there to make sure.
2. Be willing to look outside your neighborhood. Sometimes stretching how far you are willing to drive means a center that suits you.
3. Check out their teachers and spend some time with them. Don’t be afraid to hang out for a day. If a center doesn’t want you there, think twice.
4. Compare prices.
5. What will your kiddo do in a typical day? Make sure it fits with your parenting philosophy.
6. Meals and snacks. What is being served at the center? Here in Nova Scotia, centers are required to serve lunch and snacks according to health guidelines. I have been thrilled.
7. Animals and center conditions. Ask ahead of time if a center has animals and be sure to get a good look at the center including the space where your kids will spend most of their time.
8. Meet the parents. Stick around and talk with other parents. Word of mouth is always the best way to get the scoop.
For us, getting the wee one into a preschool setting that suits her has been a key part of helping us settle in and find our zen again. Our home is gentler and kinder, and I am in awe of the wonderful effect that the hard work of finding the right space has had on all of us.
Now, we all have a little time and space to call our own.
Category: INSPIRED ACTION