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Durham Parents: Time Tips For Child Care Center Enrollment

Child Care SearchParent Resources

26th January 2022

If you are pregnant, you may already be thinking about what will happen when the baby is born. You’re likely considering how they will be cared for when you need to go back to work. You will most likely be on maternity and/or paternity leave for a couple of months, but it is smart to be prepared for what will happen afterward. Many parents-to-be wonder about childcare options but are unsure of when to start searching for a child care center. Selecting the right daycare is a decision that takes time and thought. There are several factors involved in when to begin your search for child care. Knowing these factors can help you make your decision.

Research Early On

Quality child care centers have been proven to aid in a child’s development. The research will show you that there are multiple types of daycares. This includes in-home care, preschools (including Montessori programs), licensed daycares, Head Start programs, and more. Read reviews, ask for recommendations from other parents you know, and speak to the teachers or administrators at the daycares you are interested in. Some daycare centers have certain enrollment deadlines while others accept applications on a rolling basis. Fall is peak enrollment time, so try to enroll your child in spring or summer if you can. This will help with a higher chance of getting accepted into the daycare of your choice.

Secure Before Work Leave Time

Leave time is generally six to eight weeks. If you are planning to go back to work after your leave time, look for a child care center during your leave if you haven’t before. This way, you will have a center lined up for your child when it is time for you to return to work. If you will take some extra time to be at home with your baby after the scheduled leave, you can begin your search a little later. Many daycare centers have waitlists, especially good ones, so in general, it will be helpful to start looking a couple of months before your child will need to be attending daycare.

Factor In Location

If you live in a big city, it is likely that there is a steadily high demand for childcare. Centers often even have waitlists. This means that you should build in more time to search for daycare. If you have other children in a quality daycare already, you may want to apply at that specific location. Or, consider others close by to simplify the daycare commute. If you live in a smaller city or have no preference on location, you can likely spend less time on your daycare search.

Give Your Child a Head Start

According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children, the environments a child experience is important. Environment affects the relationships they form. The activities they engage in before the age of 3 have significant impacts on their growth, development, and learning outcomes that will last throughout their lives. Young children benefit from the structured schedules, education, and social activities that are provided by quality daycares. Knowing this, it is crucial that parents find a child care center that will positively impact their child’s development. At Wonderschool, we offer a variety of Durham child care options to meet each child’s unique needs. We also recognize that daycare can be expensive, so we strive to provide affordable child care. This is our way of ensuring that all children have access to this impactful service. Visit us at to learn more about finding  daycare for your child.


Wonderschool is a network of quality in-home early childhood programs. Our mission is to ensure that every child has access to a home away from home that helps them realize their full potential. We work with experienced educators and child care providers to help them start their own child care or preschool out of their homes, whether they live in apartments, condos, or homes that they rent or own.