How to get on childcare services waiting lists

Enrolling in daycare services can be time-consuming and make you want to bang your head against a wall. Before it ever gets to that point, here are some hints to help you secure a place for your child.

How to get on childcare services waiting lists

Enrolling your children in daycare can be a lengthy process. In many areas, the spots in the best and least expensive daycares get snapped up right away.

  • Waiting lists for these childcare services are a given, so sometimes it’s necessary to add your child’s name to several waiting lists at the same time in order to ensure a spot. The best advice? Work in advance and start contacting daycares before it becomes urgent. And be patient. You may have a few phone calls to make!

Online registration

Fortunately, in some parts of Canada there are online waiting lists that help you save valuable time.

  • Ottawa and Manitoba offer centralized waiting lists, and in Prince Edward Island, the Early Learning and Child Care Registry allows parents to access regulated daycare waiting lists online. Quebec is also implementing a province-wide one-stop waiting list for subsidized daycare.

Finding a daycare you like

Before you can start thinking about waiting lists, however, you first need to find a daycare. That task is not always easy, especially if your children have special needs or if you have an atypical work schedule. Consider the two main types of childcare and decide which you're most comfortable with:

  • Regulated child care. Consult your provincial or territorial government’s family services website for a list of regulated daycares and their contact information.
  • Unregulated Care. The best way to find a good unregulated daycare is to rely on personal recommendations. You can also look through your local weekly newspaper classifieds or local Web classifieds for home daycares. While there are no guarantees of the quality of care with an unregulated caregiver, talking to parents who send their children there is a good way to assess if it’s a fit for your family.

A little patience

Childcare services and waiting lists may seem inseparable, but just because the process is long doesn’t mean it’s a complicated one. In short, you just need to get on the ball and start signing up on waiting lists early.

  • Even though you may have to invest a bit of time in finding an available spot, there are also tools and resources to help save you time. With a little patience, you’ll find the perfect caregivers for your little one.
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