Choosing Between Daycare Near Work or Home
My Daycare Center Dilemma: Do I Choose a Daycare Near Me at Work or at Home?
If you are in the process of picking a daycare for your child, my guess is you’ve asked yourself, “Should I pick a daycare near me at work or one that is near home?” For different reasons, I have actually chosen both for my two girls. Here are some of the reasons why, and what the pros and cons of each have been.
Our First Daughter’s Two Child Care Centers
When our first daughter, Fiona, was born, I was working at a job that was 40 minutes from our house. I wanted her to be as close as possible, so we picked a daycare near me at work. I loved knowing she was close by and that if she needed me, I could get to her within minutes. There was also a certain amount of guilt, though, that I was so close and yet not with her. We quickly found that center didn’t work well for our family on the days that I traveled…and the number of times I was being asked to travel started to increase.
For that reason, we decided to transition to a new daycare. We moved Fiona to a Bright Horizons center in Lexington, MA that was five minutes from our house, allowing my husband to share in the drop off/pick up routine more easily, especially if I was out of town. We also found that, because we were closer to our home, Fiona made friends with other children who lived in the area – some of whom we still see. She had a great experience at the center. One downside was with our own schedules; when we were both caught in bad traffic (a common Boston occurrence) it resulted in stressful calls assuring the center that we were on our way and someone WOULD be picking her up. Fiona has happily graduated from daycare and moved to kindergarten.
On-site Child Care with Our Second Daughter
When our second daughter Hannah was born, I stayed home with her for two years. When I decided to go back to work, I was beyond thrilled to get a job at the headquarters of Bright Horizons, which has a child care center across the parking lot. Since the commute to work is only 15-20 minutes and I took a position with no travel, we decided to once again to go with a daycare near me. I love having the commute time alone with her and really treat it as our special one-on-one time together during our busy life. My husband’s work, though not across the parking lot, is only three miles away (15 minutes in traffic). Luckily, if I’m home sick, he doesn’t have to go too far out of his way to get Hannah to school.
Because the center is across from our office, she also attends daycare with a number of my co-worker’s children, which has been a fun way to get to know others outside my department. Meanwhile, Fiona attends an after-school program in our town, so my husband can easily pick her up while I’ve got Hannah – a perfectly planned “divide and conquer” strategy. Our plan is to have Hannah at this onsite daycare center until she goes to kindergarten.
How to Choose a Daycare Center
For our family, we have had to be flexible with daycare center locations in order to accommodate changes in career and life. Location should and will play into your decision. Below are a few important questions to ask yourself while you’re considering different child care options.
- Does one parent travel a lot?
- Is one parent doing the majority of drop-offs and pick-ups?
- How long is your commute?
- Do you want your child to be very close in case they need you?
- Do you have another child’s schedule to take into consideration?
- Does this location work for my family (even if it’s the most amazing place)?
Did location play a big part in your child care decision? What factors were most important to your family?
I am many things to many people, but my favorite role of all, is as mom to my two girls, ages eight-and-a-half and three. I have pendulum swung between being a work-aholic mom and a stay-at-home mom and am currently trying to find the right balance of both worlds one day at a time. I’m pretty good at not sweating the small stuff and use the quote “Be silly. Be honest. Be kind.” from Ralph Waldo Emerson to guide me through life.
- Find a child care center near you.
- Read more about daycare and child care: Choosing & Starting Child Care, and Baby’s First Day in Daycare
- Family Matters Webinar: Quality Early Education: Choosing What’s Best for Your Child