Sibling priority: Parents with more than one child may want to consider toughing out multiple drop-offs and pick-ups if they really have their hearts set on one childcare facility. That’s because most daycares will prioritize the admission of siblings once one child is in their system.
Daycare to daycare transfer: If you can’t get into your local daycare of choice check to see if the centre is affiliated with other locations in the city, then ask about transfers. One Toronto mother couldn’t get her kids into her local YMCA daycare because of a two-year waiting list. She enrolled her kids in a sister facility closer to her work. After a few months, so requested a “priority transfer,” which placed her kids at the top of the list at her local daycare. She didn’t wait the two years and still got her kids into the daycare of choice.
Don’t pay, but be polite: A general rule is to add your name to daycare waiting lists, but don’t pay for the privilege. Once on the list, don’t wait to be called and offered a spot. Instead, politely call or visit on a regular basis. You may just be in the right place at the right time the next time a spot opens up.
Affiliate lists: Some daycares are affiliated with post-secondary schools, or condo complexes or large corporations. Those who are members of an affiliated group get priority. Check with your employer, union, or residence for any special arrangements with local daycares that would put you at the front of the wait list.
July to September shuffle: Many parents found that it was easier to find daycare spots—particularly for toddlers and infants—between the months of July to September. The theory is that this is when many of the older kids are graduating out of preschool and younger kids, in toddler and infant programs, are moving up to bigger kid rooms.
School zone planning: If you want to send your kids to a specific school outside of your district, consider sending them to a daycare near that school. That’s because schools, like daycares, have priority lists. When it comes to out-of-district transfers, priority goes to the siblings of kids who already attend, and to kids that attended daycares in the school catchment area.