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6 steps to keep kids safe + secure in day care

How do you find a reputable, credible, licensed center that’s affordable for your lifestyle?

6 steps to keep kids safe + secure in day care

In 2015, the unimaginable loss of baby Karl Towndrow, a 3-month-old boy who was found unresponsive on his first day at daycare, broke our hearts. The news that he died during his midday nap at an unlicensed Soho childcare facility in New York City sent our minds racing, too, about how we make decisions around who takes care of our children when we aren’t there.


For most of us, choosing a day care is not only an emotional decision, but also a logistic one. How do you find a reputable, credible, licensed center that you can afford?

We pulled together tips + best practices from leading childcare + youth education organizations to help you to find the best childcare solution for your family. Here are the 6 steps to take.

1. Start planning.

  • In order to help make a daunting task less stressful, it is best to start early. Give yourself three to six months to find the right childcare option for your family, before your maternity leave. You don’t want to waste your precious cuddle time researching options online or touring centers.
  • Set up a meeting with someone from your local Child Care Resource and Referral [CCR&R] agency. This expert can help you navigate your options. Make sure to ask them if you qualify for any child care financial assistance programs.
  • Ask family members, friends and neighbors for recommendations or advice.
  • Make a list of all the important qualities you want your dream childcare center to have.

2. Check licensing, accreditation and qualifications.

3. Consider logistics.

  • Location: Do you want your child to be at a center near home, near where you work, near your partner’s workplace?
  • Hours: Do you need hours super early in the morning? Late at night? Overnight? Weekend hours?
  • Fees: What is the cost per child? Per additional child? How are payments made? Do they offer any financial assistance?
  • Staffing: What is the ratio of adults per children in each room? Who is the lead in each room? What are the credentials one must have to be the lead of the room? What happens when a staff member is out due to illness or time off?
  • Supervision: Will your child be supervised at all times including nap time, outdoor play, meal times, etc.?
  • Schedule and activities: Does each room follow a schedule? Are activities appropriate for each age range?

4. Study the environment + safety.

  • Does the center have a good overall reputation? Ask around.
  • Does the center offer a clean, sanitary and tidy environment for your little one? Is it up on its health and safety licensing?
  • Make sure all staff is CPR certified.
  • Is there a health professional (nurse, doctor, etc.) available if necessary?
  • Will the childcare provider communicate with you on a regular basis, providing feedback on how your child is doing?
  • Will they be taking your child anywhere outside of the childcare center campus, e.g. on walks or field trips? Are you okay with that? Ask the people who run the center whether they have proper carseats and seat belts, and be sure to see this equipment with your own eyes.
  • Ask how they handle emergencies.

5. Learn the philosophies.

  • Do you know the childcare center’s ideals and values? You want to have a partner-type relationship with your child’s day care provider, and it’s important to share the same core values.
  • How do they handle discipline? Does this align with the way your family does things?
  • Does the center welcome parents visiting? Is this important to you?

6. Once you choose your childcare center, stay involved. Here are top tips from Child Care Aware:

  • Have parent-caregiver meetings regularly, and ask questions.
  • Offer to volunteer time when needed, like participating in cleanup days and fixing broken toys.
  • Be there for your child’s birthday party.
  • Visit your child at childcare and read a book aloud.
  • Join in special events, like field trips, career day and holiday celebrations.
  • Remember, even if you can’t get time off from work during the day, you can still check in at drop-off and pickup times. Ask the caregiver how things are going and how your child is doing.

This 'mama' necklace is a bestseller for a powerful reason

There's a lot going on in the world right now, but one thing that's certain? You're still mama.

There's a lot going on in the world right now, but one thing that's certain? You're still mama. No matter what is going on at work, what decision you make about heading back to school, or how you're caring for your family right now, we know you're the best mama for your family.

So in case you need a little reminder of just how incredible you are, we love this sweet necklace from Tiny Tags. And other mamas do, too, because it's been one of our top sellers for weeks.

Whether you're coveting it for yourself or want to gift it to your favorite mama, it's one of those gifts that'll keep on giving years later. It's dainty enough to easily layer with just about anything you have in your jewelry collection, but is just as beautiful as a standalone piece to wear daily. And in these tough seasons, it's honestly a gentle, much-needed reminder that you were made for this. You can do hard things. You are doing the best you can even when it feels like you can't make one more decision.

Tiny Tags script 'mama' necklace

tiny tags mama necklace

The charm is 1/2" long and the chain is 16", falling just above most mama's collarbones. All Tiny Tags personalized jewelry is laser engraved by highly skilled artisans to make the most elegant pieces.

$105

And, don't worry, it's totally low-maintenance. Simply polish with a polishing cloth every now and then for extra shine. Now to decide: gold or silver?

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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5 brilliant products that encourage toddler independence

Help your little one help themselves.

One of our main goals as mothers is to encourage our children to learn, grow and play. They start out as our tiny, adorable babies who need us for everything, and somehow, before you know it, they grow into toddlers with ideas and opinions and desires of their own.

You may be hearing a lot more of "I do it!" or maybe they're pushing your hand away as a signal to let you know, I don't need your help, Mama. That's okay. They're just telling you they're ready for more independence. They want to be in charge of their bodies, and any little bit of control their lives and abilities allow.

So, instead of challenging your toddler's desire for autonomy, we found five of our favorite products to help encourage independence—and eliminate frustration in the process.

EKOBO Bamboo 4-piece kid set

EKOBO bamboo 4-piece kid set

This colorful set includes a plate, cup, bowl and spoon and is just right for your child's meal experience. Keep them in an easy-to-reach cabinet so they'll feel encouraged (and excited!) to get their own place setting each time they eat.

$25

Puj PhillUp hangable kids cups

Puj PhillUp hangable kids cups

Before you know it, your little one will be asking (okay, maybe demanding) to fill their own water cups. This amazing 4-pack of cups attaches directly to the fridge (or any glass, metal, tile or fiberglass surface) making it easier for your child to grab a cup themselves. Just be sure a water pitcher or dispenser is nearby, and—boom!—one task off your plate.

$29

Wise Elk puzzle tower blocks

Wise Elk puzzle tower blocks

These beautiful blocks, made from sustainably-sourced wood and water-based, non-toxic, lead-free paint, will keep your little one focused on their creation while they're also busy working on their fine-motor skills. The puzzle design will encourage patience as your kiddo creates their own building, fitting one block in after the next.

$18

Lorena Canals basket

Lorena Canals Basket

This *gorgeous* braided cotton basket is the perfect, accessible home for their blocks (and whatever else you want to hide away!) so your kiddo can grab them (and clean them up) whenever their heart desires.

$29

BABYBJÖRN step stool

BABYBJ\u00d6RN Step Stool

Your kiddo might be ready to take on the world, but they might need an extra boost to do so—cue, a step stool! An easy-to-move lightweight stool is the must-have confidence-boosting tool you need in your home so your growing tot can reach, well... the world.

$20

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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Two weeks. I cannot believe that it has been two weeks since my second son was brought into this world. Two weeks since my husband and I welcomed baby Simon, the final piece of our little family.

But, here is the whopper: It has been two weeks since I have been the mom of a toddler and a newborn. I am now responsible for taking care of two tiny humans.

It absolutely blows my mind how much my life has changed in the last two weeks. It's definitely not all rainbows and unicorns around here, but things are going pretty well. This is me being cautiously optimistic.

What I have done is learned a lot about myself, my kids and my new life in the last two weeks.

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Life