When to Start Looking for Childcare

Parent Q&A

When to start searching for nanny share? Aug 7, 2020 (5 responses below)
When do daycares accept new kids? Aug 9, 2019 (2 responses below)
When to start looking for in-home daycare or nanny? Jul 7, 2019 (4 responses below)
Nanny shares vs. day care: cost and how far in advance? Sep 22, 2016 (5 responses below)
  • When to start searching for nanny share?

    (5 replies)

    Hi all, first time mom here due early January 2021. I'm looking for childcare starting August of 2021 and am interested in a nanny share. How much time in advance do I need to start my search? I know finding an infant spot for daycare can take at least a year but my assumption is nanny share is more last minute. Any advice on how and when to start my search? Thanks! 

    We searched about a month or 2 out and had no problems.  We used BPN to find another family.  

    I think it is a great idea to post as I am sure you will get a range of different perspectives on this topic.  The variety will hopefully help you triangulate on a path forward that works for you.

    My suggestion would be to start in late May/early June.  There tends to be a fair amount of turn over in nannies in the July and August timeframe as children transition into preschool or other school year based programs.  Starting in late May/June will help give you a little more runway (as a first time Mom) to sort out what you are looking for and what options are available to you.  You can certainly find a nanny in a matter of weeks but it can be a bit of a process to determine for yourself what you want.  Adding the additional consideration of a nanny share means you will also need to bake in time to find a family to partner with.  A good place to start would be to align around your general strategy.  Do you want to find a nanny first and then find a family to share with?  Do you want to find a nanny and then find a family to share with?  Do you want to wait until closer to August and hope to find a family that already has a nanny?  It would not hurt to be open to different pathways but the steps in each process and the lead times will be different.  Happy to share my own personal experiences and answer any questions you have over a call or email.  Best of luck.   

    Congratulations! You sound like a planner just like me! A great suggestion i followed was to first look for a partner family, and then jointly interview/select nannies. We found our partner family 3-4 months before desired start date and the nanny we began looking for about 2 months before and finalized about 1 month before. I think we were ahead of the curve though, and a lot of nannies aren't looking until 1 month or less in advance. BANANAS offers a free great training on How to Hire a Nanny 101 that we found very helpful. Happy to answer any more questions - we are so happy with our nanny-share arrangement!

  • When do daycares accept new kids?

    (2 replies)

    Hi All, we have a 15 month old and have been starting to look into daycares (have visited two with vacancies coming up) as we think our son will enjoy the social aspects.

    I'm just wondering how hard is it really around here to find good options for a child that age? Should we be trying to get him in now as it's the end of Summer or do daycares take kids at all times through the year? In some ways it might suit us better to wait just a little longer and look for something starting in November... But we'd like to have a few options when we do look and we realise now might be the time to get him in somewhere. 

    Any and all thoughts on this topic would be helpful! We are new to the Bay Area and first time parents as well.

    It depends. Some, like our school (The Model School in Berkeley, with openings btw) have rolling admissions and enroll all year long, others admit all new students at the same time (often Sept 1). Most people tour preschools between now and the end of the year, with notifications going out around March and April. Good luck! 

    I believe most daycares have rolling admissions. The challenge will be getting on a waitlist.

    The way we've seen it work in the past is that we'll get on the waitlist with an intended start month. The daycare will try to process their waitlist to align with children "graduating" to the next level up. So for example, we may get on a waitlist to join in June, there is a kid in the class scheduled to move into the next older kid class in July, it'll leave a space open in the younger class, so we'll get a start date of July.

    At 15 months, your choices are a bit more limited. At 18 months your options open up quite a bit; I think it has to do with licensing. You might actually end up only looking at places that accept 18 months and older just by virtue of what the wait lists look like. For reference, both of our kids started at about 3 months at one facility. One transferred at 18 months and the other will go to the same place when she's 18 months. We were on the waitlist for their final preschool for over a year for each.

    If you're considering starting in November, try to get on a waitlist ASAP.

  • Hi,

    I'm due in October with our first. We'll need full time childcare starting in March, when baby is about 4 months old. I started looking several months ago, and got on several daycare center waitlists, but I don't expect to get off those lists by march, so I'm looking at either licensed in-home daycare or a nanny.

    When I was looking at 4 months pregnant, I was told by Bananas it was just way too soon to know who would have openings. That said, I don't want to miss my chance to find a good fit for childcare for our family. When do you recommend looking? How far out will places know about their openings?

    We're mostly looking in Berkeley, though we might consider Albany, El Cerrito, or Oakland if it was an amazing fit.



    It seems to vary a lot. With my first, I tried to look far in advance and in-home centers all told me it was too early and check back just a couple of months before we wanted care. With my second, remembering this experience, I waited until about six months before we wanted care and most in-home daycares told me they didn't have openings for more than a year. Don't know if that's because things have changed in the three years between my kids or if it's just a coincidence (these were all different daycares as we moved to a new neighborhood between kids). So we are doing a nanny share because I couldn't find an opening at a daycare that worked for us.

    I'd recommend looking as early as possible for a daycare - the worst that can happen is they'll tell you it's too soon for them and then you can call back later.

    Nanny timelines are totally different - if you want a share, you can look for a family to share with in advance, but you probably won't be able to find a nanny until closer to the date.

    The way to think about it is, how far in advance do families give notice when they no longer need a nanny or daycare, and when do nannies start actively seeking another job? From what I've observed, it seems that a lot of nannies hit the job market about a month or so before they're available. In-home daycare providers often don't get much more than a week or two advance notice that an infant is leaving. If you get lucky, you hear about an upcoming vacancy further in advance: a family moving away or graduating to preschool. You might start putting out word of mouth feelers just before your baby is born, and start advertising and actively looking 6-8 weeks before you need care.

    Also, when your baby is born, email the daycare centers where you're waitlisted to let them know and that you're still interested. 

    Hey, we are in the same boat. There are some daycares that accept early submissions - Berkeley ECEP being one. That said, it's a crazy process!! One places told us they were already full until Fall 2020! 

  • Hello,

    I am a new mom trying to figure out what childcare we can afford for our daughter and also logistics. She won't need care until May 2017, and all of the "nanny available" postings on here are for nannies who are available immediately or a month from now. On the other hand, it seems that day cares are filling up for next spring already. If we decide to go the nanny share route, is there any way to "reserve" a spot with a nanny now, or should I wait until a month before I go back to work, and hope that I can find the right nanny? Then if we can't, would it be too late to get into a good day care?

    Also, has anyone done research recently into what a typical hourly rate is for nannies and nanny shares? I am currently visiting a lot of day cares which seem to range between $1100-$1800. I'm assuming nannies are more expensive.

    Any thoughts are much appreciated.


    I can't answer your question for nanny costs but if I were you I would search for a good daycare and reserve your spot. You can always cancel it a month or so out if need be. Daycares almost always have waiting lists so there will be a child that would fill your spot pretty quickly if you do back out. That would at least give you an option to fall back on if you can't find a nanny you like for your budget.

    I almost joined a nanny share with two other families last month before we got a spot in a day care, and the nanny was asking $15/hour per child. I don't know how typical that is though. From looking around on BPN, most advertisements for families to join a nanny share don't say what the nanny charges, but I do think I saw one post where the nanny charged $12/hour per child. Hope that helps!

    Hi! Currently doing some research on this and interviewing nannies and it looks like nanny shares to run anywhere between $24-$30/hour (for two babies), so about $12-$15/hour per family. From what I've found, they typically start becoming available a month or two in advance, so it's probably too early to look for May 2017 at this point. Though you might be able to find a current share situation where someone knows they are leaving a bit farther in advance?? 

    Hope that's helpful!