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Finding Childcare

Finding childcare can be incredibly stressful, especially when it can be hard to find options with openings! Here is an overview of types of childcare available and potential sources of information.

Types of childcare:

  • Nanny or nanny share
  • Au Pair
  • Center based daycare
  • Home daycare
  • Preschools, for children usually starting between ages 2 and 3. These programs may be offered at center or home based daycare, as well.
  • Backup/sporadic care

Considerations when thinking of childcare include:

  • Price and your budget
  • Location
  • Hours open/available
  • Philosophy/daily schedule
  • Sick policy/COVID protocols
  • Meals or food provided (or not)
  • Gut feeling! Some things just “feel” right or wrong when you’re touring daycares or interviewing potential providers.
  • Some more considerations as well as a checklist can be found here: Choosing the Best Early Childhood Education Program for Your Child and Family

Places to look for childcare:

  • Facebook groups (such as San Mateo Moms, Bay Area Nannies Groups, etc.) and NextDoor. People will often post personal recommendations for daycares or nannies.
  • San Mateo County 4Cs (Child Care Coordinating Council)
    This is a county supported organization that provides resources to families looking for childcare. Included on their website is a list of all licensed childcare (both home and center based) in the county. Each county has its own 4Cs, so if you live outside of San Mateo County, you can find other resources through a similar program. Resources, including daycare openings, are also available through the 4Cs' facebook group
  • For preschools, take a look and attend San Mateo Parent’s Club’s annual Preschool Fair, held each November with preschools from all over the county.
  • Online websites such as Winnie. Winnie compiles information about daycares and preschools by city, and often includes reviews from other parents.
  • Membership websites such as This is also a good place to look for backup or sporadic childcare.

Do you know of a great daycare (home or center-based) or preschool you want other SMPC parents to know about? Add a message to the Forum below.

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