7 Tips for Dealing with Being on the Daycare Waitlist

February 22, 2021

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.

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