How To Land Your Top Childcare Choice (Even With A Waiting List)

Jan 15, 2018

The Center For American Progress estimates that fewer than one-third of children today have a full-time, stay-at-home parent. This means that childcare options are a necessity for countless families around the country. And most parents know that choosing child care is an important decision that requires a lot of time and effort.

But with so many families trying to find child care for young children, enrollment can become quite competitive in some areas. Many facilities are so in-demand that they have waiting lists for families who are eager to enroll their children.

When you find the best child care near you but discover there’s already a waiting list, it may seem like you’re facing an uphill battle. But if you keep the following tips in mind, you can improve your chances of securing your number one childcare choice — no miracle required.

Plan Ahead

For many families, the golden rule of childcare arrangements seems to be “plan ahead.” Some will even go so far as to start scouting for childcare facilities before a child is even born. It might sound a bit excessive, but it’s more common than you’d think — especially if you need infant care.

If you won’t be enrolling your child until they’re two years old or so, you should start on your quest to find the best child care near you at least a year in advance. That way, you won’t get yourselves into a time crunch and be forced to choose a facility that doesn’t suit your needs.

Don’t Put All Your Eggs In One Basket

Say you’ve found the finest locally owned and operated professional childcare facility in your area and it’s absolutely perfect for your family. It probably feels impossible to not get your heart set on enrolling your child there.

But if you like it so much, chances are that a lot of other families will too.

Try to keep an open mind and entertain other options. You might have a good feeling about one Bergen County child care facility right away, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look at others.

You should actually put your child on more than one waiting list, if it comes down to that. Ultimately, this will give your child a better chance of attending one of your top choices, rather than being stuck waiting a long time or enrolling them in a center that didn’t originally make the cut.

Enroll Siblings In The Same Facility

If you have more than one child, it may behoove you to enroll all siblings in the same facility. In many cases, the siblings of current (or former) students will get enrollment priority.

So if your children are close in age and you’ll be needing childcare anyway, it makes sense to go with what you know. Even if you have a child that’s currently enrolled and you are expecting another baby on the way, you might want to make the effort to get on the waiting list now. It’ll make the whole process easier the second time around.

Follow Up

When you find the best child care near you and get on the waitlist, the work isn’t over. Just like with a job interview, you’ll want to follow up on a regular basis.

Ensure you’re on a center’s waiting list and that they have your up-to-date contact information. Although you might feel like you’re being a bother, remember that you certainly won’t be the only parent to do this.

And because waitlisted families have a short amount of time to respond to an opening, you’ll want to stay on top of things as best you can. Of course, you shouldn’t call every day. Calling every month or two will show that you’re serious about admissions and that you’re taking initiative to make sure everything goes smoothly.


Having to find the best child care near you can be enough of a challenge without dealing with a waitlist. But if you follow these tips, you can increase your chances of enrolling your child in an outstanding local facility — no matter how popular it may be.

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