Looking for childcare can evoke mixed emotions for parents.
With so many types of daycare with varying price ranges, educational philosophies, and operating protocols, deciding what is best for your twins can be confusing and overwhelming.
What type of daycare is best for twins? The best daycare for twins is one that possesses qualified staff and proper licensing, meets high safety and quality standards, and aligns with familial needs. Selecting a daycare according to these factors has the best outcome on child development and facilitates positive transitioning.
This guide will assist you in understanding what constitutes quality care, the developmental impact daycare has on children, and how you can be directly involved in your twins’ care selection.
Daycare for Twins
When the time comes to enroll your twins in daycare, there is hands-on work to be done by parents. From selecting a center to dropping your twins off on the first day, it’s vital to be involved and ask questions.
What Are Signs of a Good Daycare?
Most people know what red flags to look for, but understanding the signs of a good daycare is just as important.
1. Raving Parent Reviews
Thoroughly navigate through the potential daycare’s parent reviews on social media and request parent references in person.
While the daycare may have some negative feedback, remember to look specifically for repeated complaints. These indicate issues you’re likely to face.
Likewise, repeated praises shed light on promising patterns of behavior and professionalism.
2. Qualified Staff
Hiring practices and employee turnover speak volumes about a daycare’s commitment to quality care. All staff members should have basic safety certifications such as Pediatric CPR/AED/First Aid.
Each person leading a classroom should possess degree-level knowledge of or pursuant interest in early childhood development.
Anyone working directly with the children should be experienced in childcare and capable of having comfortable, positive, and respectful interactions with your children.
3. Proper Licensing and Accreditation
Each potential daycare should provide evidence of state-mandated licensing. This licensing confirms that the daycare is knowledgeable of and abides by all lawful requirements.
Accredited facilities go through a more thorough vetting process by one of the national accreditation programs. The guidelines for these programs are based on a larger scale of factors.
For this reason, many daycares are unlikely to carry accreditations. Not possessing these recognitions does not mean that a daycare is substandard, but lack of licensing is inexcusable.
4. Stimulating and Hospitable Environment
The curriculum and daily routines that the daycare has in place should be unique and stimulating. They should address age-appropriate developmental milestones while adapting to different learning styles and speeds.
Your child should not only be excited by their learning environment, but they should see themselves reflected in it. A daycare that embraces inclusivity and encourages individuality creates an environment conducive to healthy development.
5. High Safety Standards
Creating a physically safe space for your children is the bare minimum. If the daycare meets the following standards of safety, it’s a good indication that your child’s physical well-being is a priority.
- Are the chemicals and medications secured out of sight and reach?
- Are large items fastened with anchors and small items stored away from infants?
- Are sleeping spaces designed for safe sleep practices?
- Are there food safety protocols in place?
- Are the toys in clean and working condition?
- Are outlets and stairs barred or protected?
- Are there security cameras present in each room and on the outside of the building?
- Does each staff member receive a criminal background check and drug screening?
- Are there strict and detailed drop-off/pick-up policies?
6. Established Policies and Regulations
Having established, consistent, and voiced policies and regulations is a sign that the daycare values transparency.
From emergency response situations to hazardous weather, each policy should be detailed and thoroughly outline an actionable plan.
Most of the time, this information is provided to the parents during registration in the form of a welcome packet.
7. Ideal Classroom Ratios
A strong indication that a daycare values its quality of care is represented in classroom ratios.
Having a low caregiver-child ratio supports knowledge of individual needs, encourages child development, ensures consistency in caregiving practices, and allows for adequate safety and sanitation practices.
According to this chart by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, the optimal classroom ratio for infants and toddlers is 1:4.
How Much Does Daycare Cost for Twins?
The national average cost of daycare for an infant child is $216 per week. For twins that equates to $432 per week or $1,728 per month. However, the cost of twin child care varies depending on location, care type, and age.
You’re likely to pay less if you live in a rural area, opt for traditional daycare alternatives, or enroll your children at an older age. Large cities, suburban areas, specialty schools, or private care will have a higher price point.
The Economic Policy Institute offers an online tool for understanding child care costs specific to your state.
Do Daycares Give Discounts for Twins?
Many daycares offer discounts for multiples or siblings. Other daycares will charge extra for enrolling more than one child at a time due to limited spot availability.
Check with the enrollment specialist to see what special situations, if any, apply for multiples.
Should Twins Be in the Same Daycare?
On one hand, you want your children to be comfortable in a new environment. On the other, you seek to allow them to learn and grow independently.
So, the question of separating your twins in an educational environment is bound to cross your mind. While the decision to do so is entirely up to your discretion, there are some things to consider.
Separation isn’t always possible, or it is only possible to a certain degree within the same daycare since there are often only one to two classrooms per age group.
For full separation, you’d need to enroll them in separate daycare centers. However, having twins enrolled in different places is not practical for most parents due to transportation and cost differences.
Types of Daycare
There are various types of child care centers, each with unique processes, philosophies, and price tags.
Understanding the core differences between them can help you make an informed decision about what type of daycare is best for your family.
In-home daycares are run by people who choose to open their homes to a set number of children under state law.
- Pros: Lower cost, ideal classroom ratio, easily accessible, and personal bonding is encouraged.
- Cons: Licensing is not required by law; legal liability falls on the person, not the business; and typically has insufficient safety measures.
Some churches offer child care programs as part of their outreach ministry.
- Pros: Lower cost, faith-based education, and flexible attendance.
- Cons: Licensing is not required by law and typically lacks oversight.
Some companies sponsor daycare centers for eligible employees.
- Pros: Less commuting, automated paycheck deductions, and daily interaction.
- Cons: Typically high-cost and larger classroom ratios.
Public school systems often have early-learning centers with daycare programs.
- Pros: Introduction to the public school system, lower cost, and state-based assistance available.
- Cons: Long waitlists, larger classroom ratios, and limited enrollment.
Private Daycare Center
Private daycare centers, such as Cadence Academy, Montessori, and The Goddard School, are driven by unique philosophies.
- Pros: High-quality care, typically accredited, and science-based stimulating curriculum.
- Cons: High cost, long wait lists, detailed requirements, and limited availability.
A specialty daycare is a care center dedicated to specific health needs.
- Pros: Highly trained staff, individualized approach, grants, and sponsorships available.
- Cons: Not easily accessible and high cost.
Daycare Pros and Cons
- Guidance in cognitive, language, and motor development from educated professionals.
- Social skill development from being around other children.
- Strengthened immune system from exposure.
- High-quality care comes at a high cost
- Less individualized approach due to larger caregiver-to-child ratios
- Behavioral issues are common.
- Emotional tolls on parents and children.
Is Daycare Harmful to Child Development?
The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development conducted a study about the effect of child care on early childhood development.
This study showed that the occurrence of negative developmental outcomes in early development could be attributed to low-quality child care.
However, it also indicated that family and home characteristics have a far greater bearing on childhood development.
Does Daycare Cause Stress?
Yes, studies show that daycare causes a 40% increase in cortisol levels. Persistently high cortisol levels can alter the architecture of the brain. This is particularly true for children under the age of three.
If you’re having to send your twins’ to daycare out of necessity, as many parents do, please don’t fret. There are ways to help manage and reduce your children’s stress.
- Choose a high-quality daycare: Do the best you can within your means. Don’t stretch yourself thin financially.
- Focus on bonding: Make extra time to re-establish and strengthen your bond with your children while they’re home. Likewise, give them ample time to create a bond with their daytime caregiver.
- Slowly meld your children into their new environment: Allow time for your children to adapt to this new setting before your departure from it.
What Questions Should I Ask a Daycare Provider?
When searching for child care, you should select questions that allow deeper insight into the care center’s operations, philosophy, and protections.
Here are a few crucial questions to get you started:
- What makes the daycare’s curriculum unique?
- How does the daycare arrange daily routines to stimulate the children?
- Is the daycare licensed or accredited?
- Do all staff members go through a background check, drug screen, and safety training?
- How can parents get involved with daycare activities or daily operations?
- How does the daycare facilitate positive communication and interaction with the children?
- Are the staff members working with the children experienced and educated in early childhood development?
- Is additional training provided regarding diversity and inclusivity?
- What safety protocols does the daycare have in place?
- How does the daycare encourage positive behavior and discipline negative behavior?
When Should You Start Looking for Daycare?
Waiting lists are commonplace among high-quality daycares. Wait times vary from two months to over a year depending on your area and the type of care.
Start calling potential daycares a year in advance from when your children would need care. This allows ample time to address any questions or concerns you have, get registration forms filled out, and fulfill necessary enrollment requirements.
What Age Is Best for Daycare?
Three years of age is the best time to enroll your children in daycare. At this point, home routines are established, parental bonds are built, and the effects of cortisol on brain development are less impactful.
This makes an ideal scenario that prepares your toddler for the education system by introducing them to educational practices and expectations.
Is It Better for Babies To Go to Daycare or Stay Home?
Whichever path allows your home to operate in a stable and hospitable manner is best for your babies. The science illustrates that a child’s life in the home and interactions with the family are far more impactful than their care experiences.
For some families, this means sacrificing financial gain so the babies can stay home. For others, it means seeking childcare so that both parents can provide. Neither one outweighs the other.
Quality Child Care Checklist
These key factors are indicative of a quality childcare facility:
- Licensure and accreditation
- Qualified staff and management
- Established safety and health protocols
- Effective parent and child communication
- Stimulating environment and curriculum
- Written and transparent operations
Alternatives to Daycare
Traditional daycare centers can be costly and crowded. These alternatives offer a different approach:
- Family Supervision – If you’re fortunate enough to have a family member willing to look after your child, this can be a great option.
- Nanny or Au Pair – While this can sometimes be more costly, the benefits of individualized focus and attention may be worth the money.
- Stay At Home Parent – If returning to work isn’t a necessity for your family’s mental health or financial stability, having a parent at home to watch the children is developmentally beneficial.
Quality of care and all of the factors it encompasses play the largest role in daycare selection for twins.
Ultimately, the decision of where and what type of care to enroll your twins in is at your discretion based on need, availability, and capability.
Charley is a mother of three with a passion for raising good humans. With her children in tow, she studies English and has made a career creating content about motherhood. In her free time, she enjoys traveling within the states to kayak, camp, and hike.