When to enrol your children in daycare

Sooner or later the time will come to cut the apron strings and send your little one off to daycare. So when's the best time? While you're pregnant? Or after baby is born? Here's some advice to help you figure it out.

When to enrol your children in daycare

In some areas, the best approach to enrolling your child in daycare is to start making phone calls as soon as you know you’re pregnant.

  • If you have a less scheduled way of life, you should at least begin contacting daycares as soon as you can. What’s the rush? Licensed facilities usually fill up fast.
  • It may be easier to find a place in an unregulated home daycare, but even there, it’s still a good idea to plan well ahead.

You may have to add your child’s name to a waiting list and wait for a spot to become available.

  • If you’re moving and need to transfer your child to a new daycare, be sure to get busy before the move and visit the caregivers and daycares you’re interested in.

How do I enrol my children when I’m ready?

When the time comes, you can go about this in several ways:

Learn about the different types of daycare in your area

  • Tally the advantages and disadvantages of each facility after visiting them and talk to other parents who send their children there. That last point is especially important. Make sure you get several points of view before forming your own opinion.

Find out if there are child care subsidies in your province or territory

  • In Quebec, regulated childcare is universally subsidized, while in other provinces access to financial aid depends on your annual income.
  • If you think you qualify for fee subsidies, find out the deadlines for applying and submit your request in a timely way.

Check your provincial government’s website

  • You may find a list of regulated daycare centres or approved home daycares near your home or your work.
  • If possible, check to see if the facilities meet the requirements of their operating licences.
  • You can also check the newspaper or ask around about unregulated home daycares.

Enrol your children on the waiting lists for daycares that suit your family

  • In some cases you can do this online, or you may have to do it in person.
  • Enrolling at more than one daycare boosts your chances of getting a place when you need it.

Prepare ahead of time

  • Prepare a list of questions to ask the caregivers and a checklist of things you’ll be looking for when you visit the premises to observe and talk to staff.

Visit several daycares to compare their quality

  • Some regulated daycares may not take visitors if there are no spaces available.

Talk to the parents of children attending the daycare in which you’re interested

  • Their insight can help you make the right choice.

Don't wait until the last minute!

In short, when you want to enrol your children in daycare, it’s important not to wait until the last minute to take the right steps.

  • If you start early, you’ll have time to check out more than one place and make the best choice for you and your little one.
The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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