Finding Quality Daycare for Your Twins

While some mothers of twins or more have the option of staying home with their babies, some can't afford to do it or simply choose to continue their careers.

Whatever your reasons, you'll want to start looking early because it can be a little harder to find quality daycare for twins or more.

Many moms of twins discover that some babysitters or daycare providers are intimidated by the task of caring for twins or more. They may not be willing to take on your two babies at once. So while moms of single babies often begin the search for daycare six months out, you may want to begin earlier.

This allows time if you want to get a spot at a popular daycare in your area or end up on a waiting list. Getting this task out of the way earlier will also make your time with the babies and your transition back to work less stressful.

The following are some tips for finding quality daycare for your twins or more:

Define your priorities: What would be most convenient for you and your partner–a daycare closer to home or one closer to where you work? What type of daycare setting do you want for your babies? Do you want a babysitter or nanny to come to your home? Do you want a live-in nanny or au pair? Or do you want more interaction with other children at a daycare center or home daycare?

Research potential daycare providers: Talk to your family and friends. If you're lucky, you may be able to find a daycare provider who has the blessing of a respected friend or family member. Ask moms in the local mother of multiples group for referrals as well.

The different types of daycare providers you may consider include:

  • Au Pair - A foreign national who provides childcare in your home and lives with you as a host family. Costs are typically more affordable than a nanny, and may be cost-effective and convenient for families with multiples.
  • Daycare Center - This type of daycare is usually a larger facility and may be franchised under a brand name. Care is normally provided in smaller groups based on age.
  • Family Day Care - Typically a single provider who offers daycare services from their home. In some cases, the provider's children may be present as well.
  • Nanny - In-home day childcare provider who may live in or out of your home. Care is more personalized but can be expensive. It may be an affordable and more flexible option though for families of multiples.
  • Non-profit Daycare - A daycare center run by a non-profit organization, such as a church or synagogue. This option may be more affordable because of the daycare's non-profit status.
  • Parents,relatives or friends - This type of care is provided by a relative or friend in your home or the caregiver's home. Some parents feel more comfortable with this type of arrangement (if available to them), and costs may to be lower.

Set up site visits and interview providers: Choose the top three or four providers and set up an interview on site to check out the facilities and ask questions. If the provider will be coming to your home, you may want to conduct the interview at home. Our list of daycare interview questions help get you started on what to ask. You may want to take your babies to the daycare after they are born for a final test to see how the staff or provider interacts with your children.

Check references: Any quality daycare provider will have references of current or former clients available. Take advantage of this opportunity to get another mom's point of view about the level and type of care provided. Ask if you can talk to another mom of twins or multiples if possible to get their perspective.

Get creative: If you're having trouble finding a daycare provider, you may want to look at other options. You or your spouse might be able to change work shifts so your babies can stay home. Even if your shifts overlap a bit, you can limit the amount of time your babies need to be in daycare.

In some cases, the babies' grandmother or other relative might be willing to babysit the children for free or a reduced cost. Some moms have even hired a babysitter to come in and help their relative for part of the time if they are also watching other kids or might be overwhelmed by multiple babies in the beginning.

In other cases, two moms working part-time might share a nanny or babysitter. Local churches or the YMCA often have affordable, quality care as well.

Trust your instincts: The final choice for your children's daycare provider is a very personal one. You want a safe, comfortable environment for your babies with a person you like and trust. After all, you will be spending a lot of time communicating with them and your children will spend a good part of the day with them.

If something doesn't feel right–even if everything else checks out–walk away and keep searching. It's better to spend time on the front end than to be miserable and searching for another provider once you're back at work.

View our list of daycare interview questions. . .