7 Tips for Dealing with Being on the Daycare Waitlist

You’ve done all the tours. You’ve read all the reviews. You’ve finally chosen the perfect daycare. Only one problem . . . there are no spots available and they’ve put your child on a daycare waitlist. It’s an incredibly frustrating and disappointing experience to find a daycare that checks all the boxes on your list only to find out that there isn’t room. Here are seven tips for dealing with the situation.

1. Check-In Regularly

While many daycares boast of multiple year-long waitlists people’s situations change all the time. A family might have to relocate for a job or they change their minds and go with a nanny instead. Putting your name down leaves the possibility of you getting a spot when one becomes available. Make sure to check-in with the daycare every 1-2 months to see if anything has changed and to show that you are still interested.

2. Choose a Different Location

Some daycares have several locations. Consider taking a spot at another location while you are on the daycare waitlist. If the location isn’t too inconvenient it might work as a temporary solution until your child can transfer to your desired location. 

3. Re-evaluate Your Second and Third Options

Think about what you really loved about your first choice and give your other options a second look to see if they can offer the things that matter to you most. Also, consider reaching out and asking if they are willing to accommodate certain requests. They may be flexible and willing to make adjustments if they have a spot to fill.

Children at Daycare

4. Wait it Out

Consider a temporary solution such as a nanny. While having a nanny may not have been your original plan it can be a way to cover childcare while you wait for a spot to become available.

5. Adjust Your Schedule

Daycares often give priority to children that can fill their schedule. For daycare directors, it’s almost like playing a game of Tetris! So if you were only looking for three half-days see if a daycare will move you up the list if you are willing to do 3 full days.

6. Offer to Start in the Summer

From June – August daycares see a lot of shuffles in their enrollment. Some kids are graduating to kindergarten or pre-k and some infants are moving up to the next room. Also, some families just decide to leave daycare during the summer because one of the parents is off. Starting daycare in the early summer may be the way to a spot.

7. Seek Out New Options

Try visiting a few centers that you may have overlooked in your initial research. Upfront makes the research process much faster by allowing you to view daycares by zip code and price and we’re always working to add new daycares to our site to give you the most comprehensive childcare information. 

Finding the right daycare for your child can make you feel like you are on an emotional roller coaster with all the ups and downs. A daycare waitlist can seem like an insurmountable obstacle when you are a new parent who is returning to work. By taking some of the tips above you may be able to snag a spot sooner than expected. If not know that many parents have been in your position and eventually do find a solution that works for them, sometimes even better than they thought possible.

Tips to Teach Mindfulness to Toddlers

Toddler emotions can range from intense calm fascination to extreme frustration all in the span of a minute. When your toddler is in the middle of a tantrum it can seem like you can do nothing right and you’re at a loss as to how to help them. Teaching your toddler about mindfulness is a tool that can help both of you get back on track. Think mindfulness is just for adults? Actually, mindfulness can be helpful at any age, and here are some tips to teach mindfulness to toddlers.

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the ability to be fully present where you are completely aware of what is going on in the moment and you are allowing yourself to experience things as they currently are. At first, you may think that mindfulness and being a toddler are at completely opposite ends of the spectrum. But the truth is that toddlers are naturally great at being mindful. Ever go on a walk with your little one and they decide to watch a caterpillar cross their path? That is a toddler’s way of being present in their environment, observing things as they happen.

What are the Benefits of Mindfulness?

Mindfulness has been shown to reduce anxiety, improve memory, increase focus and enhance your overall well-being. Specifically, for children, mindfulness can help teach them how to manage their emotions and increase empathy. Toddlers, especially, are realizing many new experiences and often lack the communication skills to convey their frustrations. Teaching your toddler about mindfulness can help them manage their reactions even when they are unable to verbally express how they feel.

Practice Labeling Emotions

Though your toddler may not be able to verbally communicate what they are feeling they can still understand when you use words to express emotions. Try modeling how to verbalize emotions in specific situations. For example, if they are angry at you for not taking them to the playground you could state that you understand that they may be yelling because they are mad that you said no. Then make some suggestions for how they can deal with that anger. Could both of you make a plan for when you can go to the playground? Could you have your toddler leave their shoes and coat by the door so when it is time to go you are able to leave faster? When toddlers hear you verbalizing emotions regularly they will better understand how to identify their own emotions.

Mindfulness Through Play

Toddlers learn best through play. Play is naturally hands-on and fun and is both an enticing and effective tool to teach toddlers. For example, practicing breathing exercises is great for calming ourselves and bringing down our blood pressure when we are upset. But explaining that to a toddler can be difficult. Instead, let them practice blowing bubbles. Have them blow both gently and with all their force so they see the different ways to breathe. When they are upset you can remind them to practice their breathing by imagining they are blowing bubbles. 

Another great activity for toddlers is sensory bins. Sensory bins allow toddlers to explore and play while utilizing multiple senses. Simple materials like dried beans or rice mixed with a few scoops and cups are all you need (although there are many more elaborate options on Pinterest). By allowing your toddler to explore through senses like touch and vision you will find they are much more likely to be engaged in play for a longer period of time. This will build their focus and attention as they spend time observing all the things they can do. For toddlers filling and emptying a container over and over again is their way of learning through doing. Concentrating on one activity for a long period of time (which for a toddler may just be 5-10 minutes) improves their ability to focus overall.

Toddler exploring nature as a way to increase mindfulness

Incorporate Nature

Mindfulness is about observing and living in your present environment. Nature provides a great environment for toddlers to observe because it involves all your senses. There are different sounds and smells and things to touch like grass, leaves, and dirt. Being in nature has the added benefit of incorporating gross motor movement which toddlers need a lot. Help your toddler focus by asking them to point out five things. You can even go further by asking them to find things in specific colors. With older toddlers, you can create a visual checklist to help them keep track of what to look for.

Read about Mindfulness

Stories are an easy way to help your toddler visualize mindfulness techniques. Just like how seeing a favorite character wear a mask or brush their teeth seeing a character deal with challenges and react to diffuse situations can help a toddler recognize ways they can self-regulate. A few books that could be helpful for your toddler are “Puppy Mind”, “My Magic Breath: Finding Calm Through Mindful Breathing,” and “The Color Monster: A Story About Emotions.” As you read to your toddler talk about what the characters are experiencing. Ask your toddler if they can act out the same emotions or if they can identify different feelings by looking at the facial expressions. When your toddler has a big reaction to a situation remind them of the story or keep a book handy to remind them of the techniques the characters used.

Toddlers’ brains are growing rapidly as they try to soak up every bit of each experience in this world. This can be incredibly overwhelming, especially to a child that isn’t able to always express how they feel. Using the tips above to encourage your child to slow-down and recognize their emotions can help both of you work through even the worst tantrum. The truth is that mindfulness can provide the foundation for balancing emotions and keeping focus, which will be beneficial for their whole lives.