Tag Archives: decide

Cyber Monday Deal on Baby Signing Time

daycare-babyOne of the most frustrating things to both parents and their children is not being able to communicate properly. It takes children years to learn how to talk. As a parent you don’t have to wait years to learn to communicate with your child. How do you talk to those that can’t? Through sign language of course!

Sign language is something that your baby, even an infant can learn to use. It is comprised of basic motions and movements which are much easier for your baby to learn then a speaking language. Using sign language to communicate with your baby is a great way to ease much of the frustrations that come with early parenting and your child’s early years. Parents are able to ask infants basic questions aabout what they need and why they are sad. Infants are able to tell you want they want and when they need it.

Teaching children sign language before they can speak can have a profound impact on the rest of their life.   By enabling early communication, building vocabulary and building a strong relationship with your child during the first three years, you are helping your child to develop the foundation for language and learning that will benefit them for the rest of their lives. Teaching sign language helps you to do this.   There is a growing body of research that suggests that signing has many benefits, including:

  • Strengthens parent/child bonds
  • Enables early language, vocabulary & expression
  • Reduces frustration and tantrums
  • Helps parents to be more observant and responsive
  • Promotes positive emotional development
  • Builds confidence and self esteem

Sign language is something that can and should be transferred over to your daycare provider. In fact many daycare providers already know and use sign language. If the teaching and use of sign language is used at home and at daycare you will see dramatic a dramatic increase of your baby using it.

Baby Signing Time has some great holiday deals going right now and there isn’t a better time to get started. This would make an amazing gift for any parent, grandparent and daycare provider.

Holiday Special!! For A Limited Time Only, Save 35%
Holiday Special!! For A Limited Time Only, Save 35%

I have used sign language with my children and it has helped dramatically in trying to calm upset infants. It works great to know if they are hungry, thirsty, or tired. It really is amazing how well it works. I know it has surprised many parents, it did me, that their tiny little infant has much more to say about the world around them then you ever knew. Sign language helps them to say these things. When parents use this at home and their daycare providers use sign language it can really help make the first few years before they learn to speak much better. It gives them a head start on learning, and gives parents, daycare providers and anyone else taking care of your children more tools to insure they are taken care of well.


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Can You Be Your Own Daycare

daycare_chalkboardThere is so much thought and effort that goes into figuring out all the particulars of daycare that I think many parents skip right over the simplest question of all, “Is daycare right for our family?” Decide on Daycare will help you evaluate if daycare is right for you. It may be surprising how much of your income goes into paying for daycare while you are at work. More importantly, you may be missing the most crucial time in your child’s life.

Perhaps it’s time to take a step back and examine the situation from a whole new perspective.

The Social Cost of Daycare

Other People Raising Your Children

Daddy, Do My Socks Match?
Daddy, Do My Socks Match?

One major factor to consider is that your daycare provider will become a very influential and powerful force in your child’s life. This can be both good and bad but the fact of the matter is that this daycare provider will be a huge influence on your child’s life, and will aid in the raising of your child. Your child will spend 1/2 to 3/4 or more of their waking hours with this daycare provider. This means they will be learning, growing and developing under this daycare provider’s guidance. Do you have the confidence that the daycare provider will do a good job in this very important role? Do you think that as a parent, you have the confidence and knowledge to provide the proper care for your child in this fashion? These might be tougher questions to ask and even tougher to answer. However, no question should be off limits when your child’s well being is at stake.

Your Child’s Formative Years

Most child psychologists agree that the first few years of our lives is the most important to forge who we are and our attitudes, ideas and morals throughout adulthood. This can be so important and it is your responsibility as a parent to make sure these years are done right. Whether you choose daycare or not you must be sure that whatever your choice is, you are secure in the fact that whoever it is that takes care of your children do so in some sort of accordance with your own wishes. This is something that all parents must take on a bit of faith should they have daycare for their children. It is something that parents that take care of their children don’t have to worry about.

Forging Bonds That Last a Lifetime

Parent Handbook on Getting Children Ready for Learning
Parent Handbook on Getting Children Ready for Learning

The first few years of your child’s life will set them on their path throughout their life. These few years are also when they will cement their bonds with those around them. Many mothers and fathers choose to stay home during the early years of the children’s lives to make sure their focus is on their children. Time does go by quickly, and in only a few short years your baby will be attending school all day. Most parents have about a six-year window with their children and choose to focus on that, while putting a career on hold.

The Cost of Daycare to your Sanity

Can you be a stay at home parent?

If you’ve thought through the financials of this question it is now time to consider if staying at home with your children truly interests you. It is now time to ask one of the hardest questions that I think parents have a hard time answering honestly, “Can I be a stay at home parent?”

This can be a very tricky one to answer but you must look at it from every angle before you make the decision.

  • Can you be around your children 24/7 or do you need and enjoy a break?
  • Are you a parent that can have little adult interaction?
  • Do you have the ambition to stay at home with them?
  • Do you have the knowledge or can you educate yourself on all of the up to date parenting techniques and philosophies?
  • Can you become not only your child’s parent but their teacher too?
  • Will you be willing to have play dates with other parents and children?
  • Are you willing to put your career on hold until they are in school full time?
  • Can you put your career on hold?
  • Will your family have health insurance if you are not working for a company that provides it?
  • Will you resent your children if your choice to stay at home with them ends up impacting your chances if you decide to work outside the home again?

Being a stay at home parent is not easy, but it is rewarding.

School Starts at Home
School Starts at Home

These are just a few of the questions a parent needs to answer before the decision to stay at home can be made. It will be a huge change, but it can be a good one. There is something satisfying about having a career and leaving your children with qualified daycare providers to take care of them and prepare them for school.

However, there is also the option of being a stay at home parent. There is something special about being the one to see them through all of their early life’s milestones. There is a pride that comes with teaching your own child to read, to write, and to count. There is a bond that is formed with your children when you are their parent and their teacher. And there is also the peace that comes with knowing they are with the person you trust the most. Yourself.

It is a responsibility that should not be taken lightly but one alternative to daycare that many parents find rewarding not only when they do stay at home but are rewarded throughout their lives. You will probably work harder, longer hours as a stay at home parent. You will not get breaks or raises. You will not get any vacations. You will, however get a chance to bond with your children in a way few parents do.

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Is Daycare Right For You?

girl_in_grass_2There is so much thought and effort that goes into figuring out all the particulars of daycare that I think many parents skip right over the simplest question of all, “Is daycare right for our family?” Decide on Daycare will help you evaluate if daycare is right for you.

It might seem like a no-brainer but the fact of the matter is, with the cost of daycare, the decline in wages, and the expansion of urban sprawl it may very well be that you are only working to pay for daycare. Some new stay-at-home parents have found themselves looking at this option in a new light after finding themselves unexpectedly unemployed in a bad job market.

Perhaps it’s time to take a step back and examine the situation from a whole new perspective.

Financial Cost of Daycare

The Cost of Daycare Itself

You may be spending more on daycare than you think you are. If you’re spending $250 a week for an infant and $200 a week on a toddler, that’s 450 a week. If you calculate your monthly bill, that’s $1,800 a month, which means you’re paying $21,600 a year! So if you or your partner makes less than $22,000 a year, you are losing money by taking your child to daycare.

The Expense of Going to Work

Don’t overlook the cost of actually going to work and what it costs to have a career. You need to consider what it costs in gas and tolls, wear and tear on your car, clothes, shoes, salon costs, and other miscellaneous purchases. You need to also look at your food expenses. Do you buy coffee every morning? Do you go out to eat with co-workers? These can quickly add up to thousands of dollars more you spend a year just to have a job.

The Hidden or Secondary Expenses of Working

Stay-at-Home-Parent's Survival Guide
Stay-at-Home-Parent's Survival Guide

These can vary widely depending on your career. You may incur extra babysitting costs when you have to work late. You have limited time off from your job, so you may end up taking vacations during peak times where airfare, hotels and entertainment prices are at their highest. There can be many more examples of this type of secondary expense but it is important for you to consider these when thinking of the financial effect of daycare.

Take all of these into consideration and you can easily go through the equivalent of an annual salary of $30,000 to $40,000 a year. If you factor in long commutes, premiere preschool academies and a large amount of work expenses, and the cost can go to $50,000 a year or more. Take it all into consideration when calculating the total amount that working actually will cost you. It’s likely that you may be working just to pay for daycare.

This is just the financial aspect of looking at whether or not you should be a stay at home parent. In the next article Decide on Daycare will go into the social aspects and the more difficult questions to ask yourself.

In the meantime visit the Determining Your Needs for Daycare for a more in-depth look at the different daycare types and great parenting advice on what would be best for you.

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Day Care Locator

daycare-center-climbingAt www.decideondaycare.com, we want to give you the parenting information you need to make the search for the perfect child care provider as easy as possible. Here’s a good place to begin the search. We’ve gathered links to websites for specific states to help you find day care in your area. Most are government-run websites for a child care locator containing certified day care providers. In some cases we were unable to find a suitable government site, so we substituted another daycare resource.

Just click on your state’s name. The link will lead to an external website to help you find day care providers in your area.

We cannot warranty or guarantee the accuracy of any information on any of these websites. This list does not constitute an endorsement by www.decideondaycare.com . Our hope is that this list can help you get started in your search for quality day care.

We hope that you find the information here helpful in your search for quality day care providers.  If you have any questions or comments concerning this list please feel free to contact us at www.decideondaycare.com by using our contact us form.

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Daycare Research Spreadsheet


When I first tried to find daycare for my children, I realized how difficult it was to keep track of my findings about each of the daycare providers, and it wasn’t easy to compare the different providers.

I learned so much information as I interviewed them over the phone. There were many questions I asked the daycare providers as I interviewed them on the phone: Does that daycare have a preschool curriculum? Did that daycare have any pets? What was the childcare provider’s discipline style?  Were there any smokers in the house?  What were their hours?  So I created a spreadsheet to track all this information I collected during the phone interviews.  I also collected information from the local United Way and other organizations that had information on daycare providers specific to my area.

Ecosystem Grid Journal
Ecosystem Grid Journal

This tool became invaluable. I realized I could look at different daycare providers at a glance and see which ones fit our needs better.  When I became tired of calling providers, my wife could see where I had left off, call more providers on the list, and fill in the information we needed. It was such a helpful tool for us, I hope that it can help you in your own search for daycare. The spreadsheet includes costs, extra fees, and some of the more common questions you’ll ask. There are also several places for miscellaneous daycare information for any specific questions you may have.

Download the spreadsheet and save it to your computer. Fill out as much detail as you’d like…I would suggest being very detailed.  You need to have enough information on the sheet to make a decision between many daycare providers.  If your notes are too generic it will be difficult to see differences between providers. Specific references to the conversation may jog your memory about the provider.  It is possible that you may need to return to your daycare search sooner than expected. If it hasn’t been long since you started, your spreadsheet will be very helpful to you, and providers who didn’t have openings when you began looking may have an opening six months later.

Make sure to have this spreadsheet open and ready when you start making your phone calls and start investigating the specifics of each daycare provider.  This spreadsheet can be used for preschools, daycare centers, nannies and even babysitters.

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask.  We would also love to hear any feedback you may have, including suggestions about items that we could add or change to make it more useful.

Good luck tracking down your perfect daycare! This extra effort will be well worth the reward of finding the perfect daycare or preschool for you!

Click here to download the spreadsheet. (This does not have any macros in it.)

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Daycare Features at a Glance

daycare_kid_mousingMaking the decision between a day care center, at-home daycare, and a nanny is difficult work. This chart shows some of the main features of different types of childcare. If you would like further information regarding specific items, please check the articles under Types of Daycare.

Child care Features

Daycare Center

In-Home Daycare


Government regulations Yes Yes No
One-on-one attention No No Yes
Chance to interact with children of own age Yes Yes No
Multiple teachers Yes No No
Frequency of infectious illness Yes Yes No
Caregiver turnover Yes No Yes
Individual focus on special needs (food allergy, etc.) No No Yes
Flexibility in the child’s routine No No Yes
Extended hours of operation Yes No No
Backup care if a provider can’t work (vacation, illness, etc.) Yes No No
Personal relationship between parent and provider No Yes Yes
Possibility of preschool curriculum Yes Yes Yes
Budget-minded Yes Yes No
Supervision of provider Yes No No
Family privacy Yes Yes No
Socializing with other children Yes Yes No
Convenience No No Yes
Home-like environment No Yes Yes
Control over rules and values No No Yes
Employee taxes and benefits, living arrangements, etc. No No Yes
Chance to meet other parents Yes Yes No
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Deciding on a Nanny

daycare_shadowBe sure to do a thorough job checking the nanny’s background and references.  Make sure you and the nanny are clear regarding expectations of discipline, childcare style, pay, and benefits. If your children are old enough to have a say, be sure to get their opinion on the candidate.

You’ll need to draft a work agreement. The agreement should be specific and include the following:

  • Compensation
  • When performance reviews will be held
  • When raises or cost of living increases will be administered
  • How taxes will be handled
  • Holidays, vacation, and sick days
  • Insurance
  • Details on living arrangements for live-in nannies
  • Schedule
  • Duties
  • Transportation of children
  • Details of the parenting philosophy
  • What the nanny needs to do in case of emergency
  • If there is a trial period, how long that is
  • How much notice is required for either the nanny or the employer to terminate the contract

You can get a sample work agreement online with a quick search. There are many different styles and preferences.  Find one that suits your needs.

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