Stuff That No One Tells You

How I Found the Best Day Care for My Family

And what I learned from the process

Photograph by Getty Images

The day my first child was born, I held on to 7 pounds, 5.5 ounces of perfection and cried. I cried tears of joy, tears of fear and, yes, even tears of guilt. I was all too aware in those first few moments of my son’s life that at the end of my six-week maternity leave, I’d be leaving him in the care of strangers. It was official; my back-to-work countdown had begun. I’d had nine months to get used to why I’d have to leave my son in day care; what I hadn’t come to terms with was how I was going to be able to do it.

In what could only be described as a lightning bolt of maternal clarity, I gazed upon my baby boy and instantly knew that the day care center I’d chosen was the wrong fit for my family.

We needed more than just a center to watch our baby. We needed a second family to love and provide for our son when we couldn’t be there. As new parents, my husband and I needed a support system of care and experience. With minimal maternity leave and the limited resources of any young family, I became a mother on a mission, determined to secure a loving day care for my son.

With a little bit of research, gobs of determination and a hint of serendipitous fate, I was able to find my infant son an environment that not only welcomed our family with open arms, but also one that provided the quality of care my son so obviously deserved.

There’s no doubt that choosing the perfect day care for your family can be an overwhelming experience. From the guilt of leaving your child in another’s care, to the fear of missing even a moment of magic, the right child care center can not only ease your fears, but provide an enriching experience for the whole family.

The perfect child care setting is out there. Use these 10 tips to help you find the best day care for your family.

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