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How Much Money Can You Save by Buying Used Gear for Your Baby?

Stroller, crib, bassinet, car seat . . . the list goes on for what you need to buy for a new baby. While gifts and registries can help alleviate the costs for expecting parents, there are often still multiple big-ticket items that have to be purchased before the baby’s arrival. Knowing how high the expenses can get when you have a baby, parents should look for ways to save as much as they can on every purchase. This is where parents should consider buying secondhand gear where they can find quality products at a much more affordable price. But trying to find high-quality items can seem overwhelming to new parents with a large to-do list. And how much can you actually save by buying used gear for your baby?

Where do I find secondhand baby gear?

Facebook groups, neighborhood listservs, friends, and family are all great sources for used baby gear. But sometimes the quality isn’t as great as promised, and it can be hard to search for specific items. You may not be looking for a baby swing from your sister or don’t have the space for a double stroller from your neighbor. Online marketplaces like GoodBuy Gear make it easy to search for specific items you need and do much of the hard work for you. Their team of gear experts examines each item for safety, cleanliness, and common issues for 20,000+ baby and kid items. They also check for any missing parts, imperfections, or dirt and grime and they never accept gear that is damaged, unsafe or has been recalled.

What items have the biggest savings?

One of the most expensive items when it comes to baby gear is the stroller. Jogging, double, all-terrain . . . the options are endless. Strollers can have more features than your car and often feel like you’re spending as much. While a simple umbrella stroller can be under $50, a full designer stroller can often retail for well over $1000. In addition, with more expensive strollers there are often accessories to buy like travel bags and cupholders which can add several hundred dollars to the overall cost. This is where buying secondhand can be really beneficial because often people are willing to throw in many of these accessories if you agree to buy the stroller or offer them at a steep discount. You can potentially save over 50-70% of the cost by buying secondhand. From Gently Used to Barely Used to Open Box, GoodBuy Gear carries a wide assortment of strollers, at prices you’ll want to pay.

strollers and baby gear

Another area of stress for new parents is preparing for the lack of sleep with a newborn. This is why many parents are willing to spend over $1000 on tech-forward bassinets like the SNOO in the hopes that it will help their babies sleep better. Often bassinets are only used for a few months before a baby transitions into a larger crib so they can still be in great (even almost-new!) condition when bought second hand. Because high-end bassinets are in great condition the percentage savings may be less than a frequent-use item like a stroller. Buying a secondhand bassinet can potentially save you 20-30% of the cost of buying a new one.

Car seats are an essential item for any new parents. Many parents start by purchasing an infant car seat that is able to clip on their stroller. This makes transporting a newborn much easier and convenient. Babies often grow out of the infant car seat within the first year and then parents have to purchase a rear-facing or convertible seat that a child will use for several years. Car seats can range in prices from $100 – $300 but it’s important to remember that price is not indicative of safety. All car seats have to meet US government safety standards. Experts do recommend that you should not buy car seats secondhand. If a car seat has been in an accident it may no longer be safe to use. When you buy a car seat secondhand you may not have the full history and it may not be easily visible if it has been an accident. One option is to buy an open-box car seat. Open-box means just that: a parent purchased a car seat and opened the box but never actually used it and then returned it. It can also refer to floor models that were taken out to show customers but never used in a car. Buying an open box car seat can save you anywhere from 20-40% off the retail price. You can visit a baby retailer and ask if they have any open box inventory or you can check out a site like GoodBuy Gear. GoodBuy Gear exclusively sells open box car seats and inspects all of their inventory for safety, functionality, and cleanliness ensuring you can feel good that you are prioritizing both safety and value. 

The average amount a parent spends on a baby’s first year can reach over $20,000 when you include things like diapers, furniture, childcare, and healthcare. But as you can see from above purchasing items like strollers and bassinets secondhand can save you a few thousand dollars. Those savings can be put towards your child’s college savings, other baby expenses, or allow you to splurge on other items that are more important to you and your family. And with sites like GoodBuy Gear you can do it easily and with the security knowing that you are purchasing high-quality and safe items. Babies grow quickly and buying secondhand ensures that you are not wasting money on items that may only be of value for a short period of time. Taking the time to research what you really need will be financially beneficial throughout your child’s life.

This article may contain affiliate links. Through affiliate links, we may receive a commission on products or services you purchase. We independently select and share the products and services that we genuinely believe fit the needs of the parents that use our site.

Preparing Bottles for Daycare

When getting your little one ready for daycare, you want to make sure they have all the comforts of home. You’ll want to try to keep them on the same routine while they are away from you, including what they eat. And while there are plenty of things to pack for daycare, preparing bottles can be a bit time consuming. We’re sure your mornings are crazy as is, so the thought of getting the bottles ready is probably daunting. We have compiled some tips to make preparing bottles for daycare a breeze.

Find Out Your Daycare’s Policies

The first thing you’re going to want to do is check with your daycare and their system. See if they have any restrictions about how they want you to prepare the bottles for daycare. Some daycares want you to bring everything mixed and ready to go in a bottle already, while others may say it’s okay to just bring in the formula or milk and empty bottles. Others might even be okay with mixing the formula and milk for you. Each situation will require you to prepare bottles for daycare a little differently.

Also check to see how your daycare will be storing the bottles. Will they have a refrigerator and freezer? Or will you have to pack the bottles in a freezer bag with an ice pack to keep them cold?

If you are still breastfeeding, check with your daycare about sending it in with your little one. Do they prefer it frozen or thawed? This will make it easier to prepare and store the bottles ahead of time.

Prepare the Night Before

If your mornings were hectic before your baby arrived, they might get even crazier now that you’ve added another person to get ready. To save some time, prepare the bottles for daycare at night. Make it part of your evening routine, perhaps after you put the baby down.

If you are breastfeeding, pump the night before and get it into bottles. If you’re using formula, pre-measure it out in the bottles so the daycare can add milk or water to them the next day. And if you need to prepare water and milk too, measure those out as well.

Once the bottles are actually prepared, put them in the fridge so you can easily grab them in the morning. Bonus points if your bag or cooler fits in the fridge too, so you can just pull it out and go!

Buy Enough Bottles for a Few Days

Since preparing bottles for daycare is time-consuming, you might want to buy more bottles to last you a few days. This way, you’re not constantly bringing home the bottles, cleaning and sterilizing them and refilling them all in the same night. You should also check with your daycare about their procedures on letting you keep frozen milk in their freezer for a few days. If this is an option, then you can just bring in the bottles each day.

Prepping Baby Bottles

Label Everything

Just as when you pack other items for daycare, you’ll want to label the bottles and milk or formula. Either a label maker or tape will suffice with your child’s name on it. You may also want to think about adding another label with the times your baby will eat. This makes it easier for the daycare to remember when your baby needs to eat.

Check in With Your Daycare

Once you’ve established a good routine with preparing bottles for daycare, it’s a good idea to check in with them. Ask if you’ve been providing enough formula or milk. See if your baby is eating either more or less than what you prepare, and then adjust accordingly.The key with preparing bottles for daycare is to allow yourself a set time to get them ready and don’t leave anything for the last minute. Communication with your daycare is also important. And once you have a set routine down each day, getting your baby ready for daycare will be a piece of cake.

Tips for Cleaning Out Your Child’s Closet

Having a baby or child at home can often lead to clutter. You may find yourself tripping over toys in your living room, picking up messes in the kitchen, and battling closets and drawers full of clothes that your baby quickly out grows. At times, you may feel overwhelmed trying to figure out how to organize everything. Here are some tips for cleaning out your child’s closet that are sure to help!

Do Laundry

This may sound silly. But to start your clean-out process, you’ll want to do the laundry for your children. This will give you an accurate assessment of just how much clothing your child has. Plus, no one wants to sort through dirty laundry when cleaning out your child’s closet.

Keep, Donate or Sell/Trade

As you sort through your piles of clothes and other items, start thinking about what you’re going to do with them. If you have several children, a good tip when cleaning out your child’s closet is to start with the oldest one first. This way, you can look through everything and decide if some things can be saved for their younger siblings. If you only have one child, you may also want to save things for any future children you plan to have.

Another thing to keep in mind when sorting through the clothes is the condition they are in. If they are gently used, consider donating or even selling or trading them. There are plenty of charities that need donations. You may also want to donate to a friend or another mother who needs the clothes.There are also plenty of websites and consignment shops that will help you sell or trade your clothes. The Swoondle Society is a great site that actually sends you a pre-paid bag to fill with all of your child’s outgrown clothes. They will assess the items you send and give you credit that can help you buy new items for your child. They even put together this great chart that can easily help you identify what to keep, donate or sell!

Let Your Child Help

If your children are a little bit older, make them part of the cleaning out the closet process. This will teach the early on how to organize, as well as give them a voice on what they want to keep or get rid of. Depending on the age of your child, you might even ask them to make separate keep and donate piles. Just make sure you go through those piles.

You can also make them part of the process when it comes to donating the clothing. If you are donating the clothing to a charity, have them help you put the items in the bag. If you are donating to another friend or mother, have them join you when you make the drop-off. This will be a good lesson on helping others.

Cleaning out your child's closet

Pick Your Supplies

You’re going to want to get all of the supplies you need to get organized. This includes bins, labels, hangers, hooks and shelves to name a few.  Whether you use bins, drawers or hangers and hooks will not only depend on the size of the closet, but also the age of the child. Newborns and babies might not have a lot to hang up, so organize any bins or shelves by type of clothing such as onesies and shirts on one shelf and socks on another. As they get older, hang up the shirts, dresses and pants. You can also keep an empty bin or bag to dump the clothes that your child has grown out of. The Swoondle Society’s shipping bags are reusable and hanger-friendly, so you can just hang them in your kid’s closet and put items in there as they outgrow them. This will make future closet cleanings much easier.

Organize by Use

You’re going to want to keep the items you use most somewhere within easy reach. So, decide what will work best for you. If you’re using bins, keep things like onesies, shirts and pants toward the front or middle so you can easily pull one out and go.

If the closet is on the smaller size, rotate the clothing by season. Put the most current clothing you need in the closet and store the other seasonal items in a bin.

If you love using bins, make sure you label them accordingly. This will make it easier for you and your partner to remember where everything is.

Stick with the Organization Plan

Sure, it can be easy once you’re on a roll with your organizing. But once you’ve tackled the task at hand, you’re going to want to stick with the organization plan. This will make it much easier every time you clean out your child’s closet. All of those piles you made based on the type of clothing the first time around will now be sorted in drawers.

And just like you did with cleaning out your child’s closet, you will want to get your child involved. If they see you organizing and see how you have arranged their toys and clothes, they will be more inclined to stick to the system.

One of the last tips for cleaning out your child’s closet is to remember to do it at least twice a year. And if you’re really feeling adventurous, even four times a year based on the season. But a good recommendation might be at the start of the new year and then some time in June as the weather gets warmer. Put a reminder on your calendar so you don’t forget!And remember, relax and tackle one thing at a time. Seek the help of groups or companies that will help, like The Swoondle Society! They’ll take all the guesswork out of what your child’s clothing is worth and give credit to get new stuff to organize. Before you know it, your child’s closet will be organized and clean!

This article may contain affiliate links. Through affiliate links, we may receive a commission on products or services you purchase. We independently select and share the products and services that we genuinely believe fit the needs of the parents that use our site.

Best Mom Hacks for Working Mothers

Being a working mom means you might feel as if there’s not enough time in your day. And let’s face it, working from home during the pandemic had its perks. No more long commutes, extra time with your little ones and savings on childcare. But as things start to open up, more and more businesses are asking people to head back to the office. And though it may seem that you’ve just gotten your new work from home routine down, you have to get back into your old routine. Or maybe you had a new baby and have been home for a while, and now it’s time to create a new routine as you get ready to head back to work. Either way, we have some best of the best mom hacks for working mothers.

Getting Ready Tips

If you don’t want your mornings to feel rushed here are some mom hacks that every working mother should adopt into their routines.

Lay Out Clothes

It might seem tedious, but we can spend precious minutes in the morning trying to figure out what to wear. Take some time at night to choose your outfit for the next day. If it needs ironing, break out that ironing board while you catch up on your favorite TV show.

But laying out clothes doesn’t stop with you! Have your partner get their clothes ready the night before too. This way, you’re not spending time trying to find their favorite belt or tie. And don’t forget the kids. If your little ones are older, have them lay out their clothes too.

Shower at Night

If you can, shower at night. Make it part of your nightly routine, as you give your kids baths too. If your hair doesn’t always cooperate when you shower at night, find a good dry shampoo or other products to make you look your best in the morning.

Invest in a Smart Coffee Maker

Purchase a smart coffee maker, or at least one with a timer. This way, you don’t have to worry about rushing into the kitchen to start your coffee. When you finish getting dressed, it will be hot and ready for you. If you don’t have the money to invest in a smart coffee maker, a great hack is preparing the coffee the night before, this way, all you need to do is plug it in and turn it on.

Pack the Night BeforeDo you bring a bag or briefcase to work? Get it ready the night before. The same goes for your partner. If your child is heading to daycare, get his or her bag ready at night too. Not sure what to pack? Click here for tips on what to pack for daycare.

While at Work

We all get a lunch break right? Or at least some downtime during your day. Make use of those spare moments while you’re at work to get things done to give you free time when you leave.

Shop on Your Lunch Break

Whether it’s a run to the grocery store to pick up dinner or a full out Target run, spend your lunch break shopping. Need to get a gift for a birthday or holiday? Make a list and then run out on a break. Use that time wisely!

Surf the Web

If you are allowed to during working hours, surf the web on a break to make plans. If you need a vacation, look up hotels or flights as you eat your lunch at your desk. Shop for essentials that you can easily get delivered if you don’t have time to head out. Or just pay bills. Just make sure your company allows you to search the internet.

Make Those Phone Calls

If you work a 9-to-5 job, it can be hard to schedule appointments or make phone calls when you get home from work – as places and offices are usually closed. Use your time on your lunch break to make doctors’ appointments or even catch up with a friend.

Working Mom

Everyday Hacks for Working Moms

The best mom hacks for working mothers don’t just stop when it comes to getting ready. Here are some other great hacks you can try to save time every day.

Invest in a Good Calendar

Whether it is a digital calendar or a big wall calendar, invest in a good one and use it. If you have several kids who have several activities, color code the calendar so you can keep track of everyone and where they need to be. Make sure to check it often and keep it updated. It will be your best friend. And make sure to share it too!

Make Lists

Sure, it seems OCD, but making lists can help when you have a lot to do with little time to do it. It can be especially helpful around the holidays or big events. You can put everyday things like, pay bills or clean, to bigger things like shop for baby’s first birthday on your lists. The possibilities are pretty much endless when it comes to lists. And you’ll feel very accomplished when you get to cross things off!

Meal Prep

Want to save time in the mornings? Prep your lunches at night. Want to save time at night? Make a meal plan at the beginning of the week and stick to it. It saves the hassle of the age-old question, ‘what are we having for dinner?’ And if you have that meal plan, you can prep some things in the mornings before you go to work so things can be ready to pop into the oven when you get home.

Consider Your Daycare Location

If you are putting your child in daycare, or need to pick them up from school or aftercare, consider the location when choosing the right one. Is it more convenient for the daycare to be closer to your work or closer to your home? If you have to sit in traffic, make sure you can make it to the daycare on time to pick up your child.

Involve Your Family

Are the kids slow to get ready in the morning? Make a game out of it. Whoever gets ready the fastest gets to pick what to watch on TV! What about cleaning the house? Give everyone a task so it gets done quicker. And don’t forget grocery shopping! Make it a family event – just make sure to stick to the list.

Make Time for You

Love taking a spin or Zumba class? What about reading? Your favorite TV show? Sometimes we forget to make time to do the things we love. If you love reading, why not try books on tape or a podcast? Listen on your way to work to relax you. DVR your favorite shows so you can skip the commercials – suddenly an hour-long show turns into 42 minutes. And if you love to exercise, most gyms have a class schedule. Make a point to get to one. If you have something to look forward to, it makes the me time more special and not rushed.

Use Your PTO

As women, we are constantly on the go. Always trying to prove ourselves at work. And oftentimes, at the end of the year, we’re losing precious paid time off. Check your PTO bank throughout the year – and use it! Take a mental health day or schedule days off around your child’s daycare or school schedule. This way, you can spend time with them on their days off and you won’t have to worry about rushing home from work.

Having a full-time job can be tough, but having a full-time job and a family can seem impossible at times. But finding the best mom hacks for working mothers is just one more thing that you’re awesome at! Once you find your routine, you’ll be spending more time with your family and friends and sharing your own hacks with them!

Estate Planning for New Parents

You’ve created your baby registry, set up a beautiful nursery, and packed your bag for the hospital. But one of the most important things you need to do doesn’t involve any adorable booties or sweet crib mobiles. It’s estate planning. Estate planning is often the item that is left off the checklist because it’s not the first thing that comes into parents’ minds but it’s actually an essential part of preparing for a new baby. It ensures that you have everything in place in case something happens to you, your partner, or your child. Without proper estate planning your child is at risk of not receiving your assets or having a legal guardian in place. Here is a short primer on what new parents should be thinking about when it comes to estate planning.

What is the first step?

One of the first steps of estate planning is putting together a will. A will is a legal document that contains your exact wishes for the distribution of your property, management of your accounts, and the custody of any dependents (aka children). You may already have a will in place from before you were expecting but it probably needs to change when you have a child. Start by putting together a list of all of your assets such as property, insurance policies, vehicles, bank accounts, jewelry, etc. Then determine who you will receive these items if you were to pass away. The other big decision in a will is who will become the guardian for your child/children.

What should I think about regarding guardianship?

Choosing a guardian is an incredibly important and personal decision. When evaluating options consider factors like a child’s age, geographic location, religion, and willingness to accept the position. Have a discussion with your potential choice of guardian to make sure they are willing to accept the position and that you are both on the same page in terms of your wants on how you want your child to be raised. Also, make sure to identify a backup option just in case and have that option listed in your will as well.

Estate Planning for New Parents

Do I need a trust?

A trust is a fiduciary arrangement that allows a third party, or trustee, to hold assets on behalf of a beneficiary or beneficiaries. With a trust, you can be very specific about who, when, and how you want someone to receive your assets. You may be able to make similar specifications in a will but a will has to go through probate court which is an expensive and time-intensive process. Typically a trust is appropriate for someone that has greater than $160k in assets and has a specific vision of how they want those assets to be distributed. There are many different types of trusts that are based on things like who the beneficiary is or what the assets are. Historically trusts have been associated with the extremely rich because they often can be costly to create and manage but they can actually be a useful tool for anyone that has more specific needs than a will.

Is there anything else I need to look into?

Separate from a will you will need to make sure you designate the beneficiaries on any insurance policies, retirement accounts, and other financial accounts. You want to make sure that who you have listed as a beneficiary on the account matches whomever you have listed in your will. However, if by chance, this ends up not being the case the beneficiaries listed on the actual account will supersede the who is listed on the will.

How much does estate planning cost?

The cost of putting together a will depends on how much you do on your own and how complicated your assets and accounts are. At the low end of the range, it can cost a few hundred dollars and can go up to thousands of dollars. Other factors that can impact the cost are the state of residence, the size of your assets, whether or not you are utilizing a lawyer, and how many beneficiaries you have. Trusts are often more expensive than wills because they are more complicated and are much more customized to the individual. In addition to the initial fees, you will want to revisit and review your plan every few years to make sure that it still matches your needs. Any updates will incur additional costs.

Who can help me with estate planning?

While it can seem like the cheapest option is to write your own will and do all of your estate planning on your own, it can become costly in the long run if there are mistakes made. However, many new parents are not equipped to pay a lawyer thousands of dollars to help with estate planning. One affordable option is to use a service like Trust and Will where you can create a customized plan in less than 15 minutes. They have plans starting at $39 and are backed by a team of experts to make sure your plan has everything you need. You can start by just answering a few questions and have Trust and Will help you figure out what type of plan is best suited for your needs.  

Once you have established an estate plan, keep several copies in a safe place. Remember as you grow your assets to make additions to your will so it is accurate and up-to-date. Having an estate plan will ensure that your children are taken care of and protect your assets should anything happen to you. It should be part of every new parent’s to-do list.

This article may contain affiliate links. Through affiliate links, we may receive a commission on products or services you purchase. We independently select and share the products and services that we genuinely believe fit the needs of the parents that use our site.

A New Childcare Survey Reveals What Parents Want When Sending Their Children to Daycare

For most parents of young children, back to school has a whole new meaning this September. After an unprecedented year where many parents were left with no childcare while continuing to work from home, parents are desperate for some return to normalcy this fall. However, as companies call workers back to the office and uncertainty grows with the spread of the Delta variant, parents are becoming increasingly uneasy about their daycare options.

“Finding safe, affordable childcare was a challenge prior to the pandemic, and parents are now even more stressed out about their options,” said Dana Levin-Robinson, CEO and co-founder of Upfront. “The Upfront Childcare Survey highlights the anxiety that parents are feeling about making the decision to send their child to daycare either as previously enrolled child or for the first time.”

Key Insights from the 2021 Upfront Childcare Survey

  • The majority of parents want mandatory vaccination for daycare staff. 77% of parents want mandatory vaccinations for all staff and 72% of parents are willing to share the vaccination status of their household with a facility.
  • Parents don’t want kids to have to quarantine unless absolutely necessary. Only 30% of parents are comfortable with quarantining for one week if their child shows at least one COVID-19 symptom. That number increases to 53% if their child is showing multiple COVID-19 symptoms. 
  • Masking is not as critical as vaccination. Only half of parents want masks to be mandatory for staff and children 2+ indoors.

What protocols do parents want childcare facilities to implement regarding COVID-19?

  • 79% of parents want notification of potential COVID-19 exposure
  • 50% of parents would like smaller class sizes or reduced capacity
  • 48% of parents are supportive of daily temperature screenings
  • 44% of parents want childcare facilities to require mandatory quarantine after travel
  • 34% of parents want facilities to conduct virtual-only tours for prospective families

What protocols are families willing to follow regarding COVID-19?

  • 87% of parents are willing to inform facilities of potential COVID-19 exposure
  • 75% of parents are willing to share out of state or country travel plans
  • 72% of parents are willing to share the vaccination status of their household

Parents are willing to pay more for daycare facilities that have some or all of these protocols in place. In fact, over 70% of parents are likely to pay more for daycares with desirable COVID-19 practices in place such as mandatory vaccination for staff, mandatory masks for staff and children 2+, and reduced capacity.

Mother putting mask on son

Parent Sentiments

The survey also asked open-ended questions about the impact of COVID-19 on careers and what parents are looking for in any future employers. 

A few themes emerged:

  • Without consistent child care parents, especially working mothers, have been forced to make unwanted choices about their careers. Multiple parents described having to refuse career opportunities, reject new clients (thereby limiting their income), or take forced unpaid leave because of lack of childcare. 
  • Now more than ever parents expect that any career or job includes some level of flexibility. Parents want careers that allow them to be home with their children on an as-needed basis. But by prioritizing flexibility parents are being forced to sacrifice things like personal goals and money.
  • Pre-pandemic, finding affordable childcare was a huge challenge for parents and now it’s even harder. Parents are confronted with reduced capacity, increased costs, and shorter hours, yet the expectations from work have stayed the same. The lack of options has forced parents to choose options that require a longer commute or completely stretch their budgets.

What should parents do if they decide to send their child to daycare?

  • Ask for written documentation of all COVID-19 policies and make sure you understand what the facility is actually requiring families to do versus recommending. 
  • Figure out the best options for your child to be COVID-19 tested before you actually need it. It may be your child’s doctor’s office but there may be other options like pharmacies and urgent care facilities that can provide faster results. 
  • Plan all travel only when you know the policy for families from your facility so you can allocate time to getting tested or quarantining upon your return.
  • If possible request information on the vaccination status of staff members or at least any caregivers that will be in direct contact with your child.

How to Communicate with Your Childcare Provider

Dropping your child off at a daycare can be an anxiety-ridden experience. Your childcare provider will be spending just as much time as you do with your child. So, it is natural to have a lot of questions. But how do you effectively speak with your childcare provider without coming off pushy or demanding? We have some tips on how to communicate with your childcare provider that may help.

Keep Lines of Communication Open

Childcare providers want to speak with you just as much as you want to speak with them. They are caring for and teaching your child daily, in most cases, and they want to keep you in the loop about their progress or any issues that may arise.

Be available for any meetings your provider wants to schedule. Providers like to show you what your child is doing on a daily basis. They don’t want to keep you in the dark, as they understand how important your child is. This is even more important now with COVID-19 as many daycares are not allowing parents to enter the building so keeping contact will require more effort than before. Some daycare providers will text or email parents daily or weekly. If this is something you would like, inquire before you choose a daycare facility. This way you will know before your child’s first day that those lines of communication are open.

Respect Their Time

Just like you, your childcare provider is very busy, as they are caring for a lot of children. If you are interested in speaking with them about your child, schedule a meeting. You don’t want to start an important conversation during drop-off or pickup, when things can be hectic.

By scheduling a meeting to communicate with your childcare provider, you are showing them you respect their time and, in turn, they will respect yours.

Daycare Provider

Treat Them Like Professionals

When communicating with your childcare provider, no matter how close you are with them, remember that they are professionals and should be treated that way. With technology, such as texting or emailing, it can be easy to fire off a message with ‘I would like to meet with you.’ But try to be specific. If there is an issue that needs to be addressed, let them know ahead of time so they can be prepared. If you would just like to discuss your child’s progress, let them know this too.

Remember, just because you are friendly with them doesn’t mean you can take advantage when issues arise. Treat them with the same respect you would anyone you are doing business with.

Be Prepared to Listen

As parents, we may jump to conclusions when we don’t like something our child says. For example, if your child comes home from daycare and claims their caregiver was mean, don’t immediately place the blame on your provider. Take the time to explain to your provider what your child said, and listen to their response. Perhaps your child was misbehaving and his or her provider needed to discipline them. If this is something you are OK with, then speak with your child and explain that they need to respect the rules while at daycare and listen to their provider. If you are not OK with how the provider handled a situation, calmly explain your feelings and try to come up with a solution you can both agree on in future situations.

The last thing you want to be with your childcare provider is confrontational. Remember, your daycare provider works for you and wants what is best for your child. If something isn’t working, talk it through together. Childcare providers want both you and your child to be happy.

Offer Praise

Something you also want to remember when figuring out how to communicate with your childcare provider is letting them know positive things about your child. Perhaps you only communicate with your childcare provider when there is an issue or concern. Try to remember to reach out and offer praise every once in a while. If your child has a particularly great day at daycare, shoot your provider a thank you email or mention it during drop-off the next day.

The key is letting them know they are doing a good job, and that they are valued.

Ultimately, it’s up to you to build a relationship and how you want to communicate with your childcare provider. Be involved and remember that your childcare provider wants to offer the best experience for your child. And only you can help make that happen since you know your child best!

Preschool vs Daycare: What is the difference?

If your child has been home, either with you or a nanny, is ready for a structured program or more socialization and is around 3-4 years old you are probably thinking it’s time to enroll your child in preschool. Should you just be looking at preschools? Or can a  daycare offer the same thing? How do you decide between preschool vs daycare and what are the differences? We break it down below to help you understand whether or not a program is offering what you need.

It’s All in a Name

Programs often use the names “preschool” and “daycare” interchangeably so don’t just judge a program by its name. You have to actually look at what they are offering to understand if it’s going to meet your needs. Preschools and daycares both need to be state certified as well as meet any other state guidelines and safety protocols. Daycares may offer a preschool like program for 3-5 year olds even though they also provide childcare for infants and toddlers. A center may use the word “preschool” in its name but offer longer hours and before and after care like a daycare would. Look at the specifics of the program and not just the name to find out if it’s the right program for your child.

Educational Philosophy

Probably the biggest difference when trying to decide between a preschool vs. daycare is a focus on a curriculum or educational philosophy. A preschool typically follows a curriculum such as play-based or Montessori focused as examples. Preschools focus on preparing children for kindergarten. They offer more structured days with lessons.  Whereas a full-time daycare is more about providing care for a child during the day. Some daycares offer learning opportunities but children often are also spending time with free play, nap and meals. Both daycares and preschools offer socialization skills for your child, which is important during their time away from you.

Age Requirements

Another big difference between preschool vs. daycare is the age you can enroll your child. A daycare can provide care for children as young as six to 12 weeks old. A daycare can also include before or after school care for children up to 12 years old. Preschool is usually offered for children from 3 years old to 5 years old. A daycare may transition toddlers into a more preschool like environment at their own center at the age of 3. This could include incorporating things like morning meeting or circle time, learning about letters and numbers and teaching kids more independent skills.

Daycares typically separate children based on their age groups, and provide age-appropriate activities. Preschools also have classes based on ages.

Teachers and Staff

For a center that is preschool only it will likely have teachers who have degrees in early childhood education. And while a daycare will have certified staff members, teaching degrees usually aren’t required. Keep in mind that the licensing requirements are the same so a preschool doesn’t have to require teachers to have a degree in early childhood education. 

The staff-to-children ratio can be different at a preschool vs. a daycare depending on how the daycare is set-up. As children get older the capacity limits increase and the child: teacher ratio also increases. Both a daycare and a preschool are allowed to have upto twenty children in a classroom with a minimum of two teachers. A center-based daycare may look very similar to a preschool in class size and teacher ratios. However an in-home daycare is often much smaller and has a range of ages and will not necessarily have a separate room for older children.

Preschool vs. Daycare

Hours

A preschool will most likely follow a school calendar. This means it could be closed on holidays, weekends and even summer months. The hours are different too, and could be much shorter than a daycare. They usually run for several hours a day. And children may only attend a few days a week.

Daycares offer full-time care for children. The hours can vary. Some even offer extended hours to accommodate parents who have longer workdays. Most are not closed on holidays, and offer care during school breaks, which is a perfect option for working parents. In addition, a daycare may offer great flexibility. Perhaps you only need before or after care for school. A daycare can provide that.

Services

Since a daycare is a place for parents to leave their children to be cared for, the services offered are different from a preschool. Meals may be provided at a daycare, whereas a preschool, since it’s a shorter program, might only have snack time.

Daycares usually offer drop-in care, where a preschool, since it is more structured, usually has a set start and end time.

Preschools, since they are for older children, require students to be potty-trained, whereas daycares offer diapering services.Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide what is best for your child and your family. Do you want a more structured environment that will get your child ready for kindergarten? Or do you need full childcare while you head back to work? You should also compare pricing when looking at a preschool vs. daycare. You can use this guide to evaluate the value of a preschool vs. daycare.

What to Pack for Daycare

The time has come! It’s time to prepare your little one, and yourself, for daycare. Adjusting to a new routine of daycare drop-off can be stressful but making sure your child has everything he or she needs can make life and the transition a lot easier. Here are some tips on what to pack for daycare. We’ve even broken it out by age to make it easier for you. Take the stress out of worrying about what to pack for daycare by checking out the list below.

0-3 Months

While it might not be the ideal situation to put your newborn in daycare, some parents have no choice but to go back to work before 12 weeks. Here is what to pack for daycare for an infant.

Diapers & Wipes

You’ll want to make sure you have a good supply of diapers to last throughout the day. Figure out how many diaper changes your newborn usually has and add a few more for good measure. If you don’t feel like making sure there’s enough diapers each day, you could buy a box and drop it off on a Monday to the daycare.

When it comes to wipes, it’s best to pack a full package of at least 50 wipes as well as a refill. Make sure to check in with the daycare to see if you’re supplying enough wipes and adjust accordingly. Many daycare providers have recommended amounts that they expect parents to provide.

Ointment or Creams

Whatever you use on your newborn during diaper changes will need to be packed for their time at daycare. You can probably pack a tube of this in the bag, and check it a few weeks later to see if it needs to be replaced.

Medicine

If your newborn is on any medication, you’ll want to make sure you have enough packed. In addition, you’ll want to leave instructions of how often your newborn needs the medicine. It’s best to speak to the daycare, but also write it down for reference. In addition it may be helpful to include a doctor’s note if this is a prescription to ensure that the instructions are specific and clear.

Naptime Essentials

Blankets, mats or even a cot or bassinet. Check with your daycare to see what your newborn will need to sleep in during the day. If you need to send a cot or bassinet, make sure to pack sheets. Keep an extra set of sheets at home so if you forget to do laundry one week you have a set ready to go!

Formula or Breast Milk

Depending on what your newborn is eating, you’ll want to pack enough formula or breast milk for the day. If items need to be refrigerated, check with the daycare if it has a place to store the milk or formula. If not, use an insulated bag to keep the milk or formula cool until it’s ready to be used. And while you’re packing your newborn’s meals, make sure to toss in any feeding accessories, such as bottles, nipples, bags, etc. Lastly, when it comes to milk and formula, make sure to pack enough burp cloths.

Clothes

As we all know, babies have accidents. They spit up. They get dirty. Make sure to pack extra outfits, onesies and even swaddles so the daycare can make a quick change easily.

What to Pack for Daycare

4-6 Months

This is the time that most children will be entering daycare. In addition to diapers, wipes, creams and medicine, here is what else to pack for daycare.

Bigger Bottles & Baby Food

Your child is probably drinking more milk at this point, so it’s best to provide bigger bottles for easier feedings. In addition, if your baby is transitioning to baby food, pack a good supply for the day. Include bowls and spoons as well.

Teething Items

Once your baby starts to teeth, you’re going to want to make sure they’re comfortable while at daycare. Pack a soothing cream or a teether.

Clothes for Different Weather

In addition to extra outfits, make sure your child has an extra jacket or coat in the colder months. Pack a hat or visor in the warmer months. And toss in sunscreen in the summer months.

7-9 Months

As you and your child get used to daycare and what to pack, check with the daycare about what is being used each day and adjust your supplies accordingly. For example, you probably don’t need as many diapers as you did when they were younger. Here are a few more things to pack for daycare.

Toys

By now your child is probably playing with toys. They might even have a favorite toy. Pack it in their daycare bag to keep them entertained. If it is truly a favorite toy then make sure you have extra at home in case it gets lost, broken or dirty at daycare!

Snacks

If your child is eating crackers or some other snack, make sure to pack it for snack time! When it comes to drinks, you might want to ditch the bottle and stick a sippy cup in the bag. Just make sure to clean it daily!

10+ Months

As your child grows up, maybe even too quick, you will need to adjust what’s in their daycare bag. Here is what to pack for daycare as your child enters the toddler years.

Shoes

Once your child starts walking, just like clothes, you’re going to want to include an extra pair of shoes or slippers.

Lovies

As they get older, they may start to miss home. So along with their favorite toy, think about packing their favorite stuffed animal or blanket. Something that will remind them of home.

Underwear

At some point, your toddler will be potty-trained, but accidents happen. Make sure to pack a few pairs of underwear. Keep plastic Ziploc bags for easy transfer of dirty clothes.

Other Essentials

No matter the age of your child, it’s important to pack the following when getting ready for daycare.

Labels

You will want to label everything. Their initials or last name should suffice. Place them on bags, bottles, food storage, utensils, etc. Essentially anything that you want to make sure comes home with them.

Medical/Contact Information

The daycare should have all of the important information about your child, such as allergies or medical conditions. They should also have your emergency contact information. But you might want to keep an index card within your daycare bag with that information for easy reference in case of an emergency.

Leaving your child with anyone else can be tough. But knowing what to pack for daycare should make the transition a little bit easier. And as always, check with your daycare about what you are allowed to bring ahead of time. This way you and your child will be prepared. Also check out our list of daycare hacks and advice on how to help your baby nap at daycare to help make the transition as seamless as possible!

What is a Co-op Preschool?

Research has shown that preschool can provide an important foundation for a child’s education.  And for some, the time to choose a preschool sneaks up pretty quickly. Choosing the right environment for your little one while also sticking within your budget can be challenging. One option that offers some flexibility and lowers your cost is a co-op preschool. But what is a co-op preschool?

A co-op preschool is a nonprofit, nonsectarian, democratic organization where each family shares in the planning and operation of the school. Co-op preschools are primarily run by parent volunteers, along with full-time teachers. Sometimes a group of parents in a neighborhood or with similar interests create a co-op preschool for their children. However a co-op preschool is formed, it always includes parental involvement. And often parental involvement means that a school can charge lower or reduced fees because the paid staff requirements are lower. Some parents can get more involved in a co-op preschool, by volunteering to help with cleaning or even administrative duties.

How Did Co-op Preschools Start?

Preschools started in 1916 when a group of wives on the faculty at the University of Chicago found a way to give themselves free time for Red Cross work while providing a social education for their children. About 10 years later, in 1927, the Children’s Community Center was started in California, and is the oldest continually running cooperative preschool today, according to PCPI. In the 1940s, co-op preschools started popping up across the country as well as Canada.

As a way to guide parents and educate them on co-op preschools, various schools and councils created manuals. In 1954, Dr. Katharine Whiteside Taylor published what would later be called Parents and Children Learn Together. In it, she touches on topics such as helpful practices for classrooms and how to organize and manage a cooperative. Two years later, according to the PCPI, Whiteside Taylor created a quarterly newsletter to share creative practices among schools across the U.S., Canada, and internationally.

How Do Cooperative Preschools Work?

As mentioned above, cooperative preschools are run with parent volunteers. There will be a full-time teacher with the children, but there is a schedule where parents rotate to help run the school. The responsibilities and amount of time parents need to commit depends on various factors. Some of those include:


– The size of the school
– How often the class meets
– Class hours
Tuition


In most co-op preschools, every family will serve on the board or be on a committee. Some co-ops require parents to do most of the administrative duties, which could include:

-Maintaining payroll
-Tuition management
-Enrollment
-Event planning
-Fundraising

The age range of those who attend a co-op preschool can be anywhere from 2 months old to 5 years old. And while each school is different, there are a few common features. These include:

– A play-based curriculum
– Classes structure based on the age group
– Age-appropriate activities for the children
– As the children get older, the classes get longer and a parent’s time in the classroom gets shorter.

Co-Op Preschool

What Are the Benefits of a Cooperative Preschool?

A co-op preschool truly allows parents to be involved in the children’s early education. It allows you to work together with other families that have similar interests for their children to give them a fun learning experience. By being in the classroom, your child can slowly build their trust for learning with you by their side

By enrolling your child in a cooperative preschool, you can have a say in how the school is run. Being involved in the classroom, and the administrative side, allows you to make changes based on the children in the groups and the needs of the parents and teachers.

It’s important to note that there is flexibility. Yes, you can work and still enroll your child in a co-op preschool. Because you are a part of the school, you can set the boundaries and a schedule that works for you to make sure you are there for your children.

Lastly, the cost is often more affordable than a traditional preschool because you are also paying in the form of your time.

How Much Do They Cost?

Because cooperative preschools are run by parent volunteers, the tuition is not astronomical. Just as the amount of time you spend at the school varies, the same applies for the cost. Some things that are factored into tuition include:

– Class hours
– The age of the children
– Where the school is located

All of the above can affect the monthly or weekly cost for your child to attend.  

Research has shown, though, that the cost of a co-op preschool could be one-half to one-third the cost of a drop-off preschool.

Sometimes, depending on the school, tuition could be discounted or off-set depending on how much time you spend volunteering your time to help run it. Fundraisers could play a big part in helping to keep the cost of the tuition affordable for all parents.If you think a cooperative preschool is right for your family, you can easily see if there are options near you by searching for preschools in your zip code at Upfront. Bigelow Cooperative in Somerville, MA and Chickpeas in Brooklyn, NY are just two examples of co-op preschools you can find on Upfront. Just as with any preschool, you will want to take a tour and ask questions – specifically about how much time you will need to dedicate to your child’s education. And if you’re feeling ambitious, and your neighborhood doesn’t have a co-op preschool, you might just want to look into starting your own.