child care

“But which child care center should I choose?”: A Chat With a Millennial Child Care Expert

Adulting, Author: Mary Grace Donaldson

Millennial parents, there’s so many options for child care today. Especially if you’re a working parent, you’ll likely need to utilize at least one, maybe more, of those options.

But when there are so many options in front of you, what’s the best one for your family? We chatted with Regina Barone, owner of Tiny Toes Daycare of Rockland, New York, about some of the best child care options for millennial parents.

Why should you enroll your children in a child care program?
Many parents enroll their children in programs similar to mine because they want their children to be in a nurturing and learning environment while they’re at work, and need someone to care for their children.

What makes a day care center different than having a family member watch your child?
In my opinion, child care centers give children the opportunity of socialization with other children their age, and allows them to get used to being with others besides family members (which is helpful for kindergarten transition)Additionally, many daycares have programs that get children used to a school routine, which of course can be very beneficial.

What should you look for in a day care center?
Check to see if the center is state licensed. Find out their teacher qualifications and trainings. Ask questions, such as: do they offer a program? If yes, what is their philosophy, and does it match with what you are looking for?

Millennials are known for looking for discounts. How can you get the most bang for your buck in a child care center?
Looking for discounts, in any industry — including child care, is important. If you have someone who wants to watch your child (for free — for example, a grandmother) you can enroll your child part-time: either half days, or a few days a week. This way, it’s not the same cost of a full-time child. If you have more than one child, a sibling discount may be available.

What makes one day care center different from another?
The differences are all about the programs each day care center may offer. Some have more space (in terms of both outdoor or indoor) than others. But it’s important to look at what each individual teacher brings, if centers have special events, and how much family involvement comes into play.

What are the benefits of socializing a child from a young age?
I have seen that children who have been exposed at an earlier age definitely adapt more easily to both peers and adults, as opposed to children who start at a later age. This can affect their future academic careers. If children adapt well socially, the fact that they aren’t adapting socially isn’t distracting them in other areas.

How many hours per day should a child spend at day care?
It all depends on the parent’s work schedule. Most child care centers are open 11-12 hours every day. My suggestion is to drop-off and pick-up according to that time frame, giving yourself time to do home routines. For parents not working, but still wanting your child to have the experience of being around other children, the recommended time frame is seven hours (about the length of a school day).

What do millennial parents typically look for in a child care facility and in teachers?
As both a millennial parent and a day care provider, what seems to be consistent with what parents look for is caring and nurturing teachers who are stern when needed. They also value a clean and safe facility with a great program that not only offers academics, but play as well.


Regina Barone


Regina Barone holds an undergraduate degree in Elementary and Special Education from St. Thomas Aquinas College, and holds a Master’s degree in Literacy from The College of New Rochelle. She has worked in daycares for 15 years, and served as the Director of Tiny Toes Daycare of Rockland for seven years, before stepping into the role of owner for the past three years.


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