While there are tons of childcare options in the suburbs, most towns tend to have one approach that’s most popular.
“Every town has its own childcare ‘personality,’” says Suburban Jungle Strategist Alli Levine. “Kids may go from preschool to extended care. Parents may pick up from school every day. In other towns, driving nannies take kids from parks and playdates to activities.”
This “personality” often impacts everything from when birthday parties are scheduled to timing for playgroups to when sports teams practice. “Suburban Jungle works closely with clients to navigate their options,” says Alli. “We want to make sure families understand the landscape and can decide which town makes sense for their lifestyle—and their childcare approach.”
Here’s what to consider…
If you move to a NANNY TOWN…
Expect playdates with the neighbors (provided nannies are pals), long afternoons at the school playground and someone to ensure your kids never miss soccer practice and weekday birthday parties. Find a “driving” nanny and your kids are good to go no matter what pops up on the calendar—or when that last-minute science project demands more poster board… “We joke that our nanny is the queen of the nannies,” Meredith, a working mom of two says. “She’s been in the community for about 20 years and knows everyone and everything. She’s even friendly with the principal at our girls’ school and the teachers all know her.” Move to a nanny town with a nanny and your kids will likely be in the mix with a packed agenda from Monday afternoon on. The challenge? “If you stay at home or work from home, you may find the nanny circle tough to break into at drop offs, pick ups and weekly activities,” explains Suburban Jungle Strategist Maya Konig. “And if moms opt for nannies because they’re working in the city, making those family-to-family connections can be tricky.”
If you move to an AU PAIR TOWN…
Au pairs can be an amazing way for your family to learn about other cultures while welcoming more of a “cool older friend” into the mix. If your town is teeming with au pairs, chances are yours will already have friends in the community—and, if not, they’ll no doubt find a few soon. That can be a huge win for your family, especially if you’re new. Au pair connections can bring families together and help your kids make friends around after school froyo and dance class pick up. And because the older teens and 20-somethings have that built-in cool factor, they’ll be happy to hang with their au pair and her pals, plus the new friends they’re making in the process. “Like nanny towns, you want to be mindful of au pair-centric communities, especially if you plan to stay home or work from home,” Maya says. “It could make it tough to find your tribe when the main ‘tribe’ are college-aged au pairs, here for the year.”
If you move to a STAY-AT-HOME TOWN…
Some towns are jam-packed with stay-at-home moms and, as a result, mom-and-me and other kid-centric activities tend to be more daytime oriented. That’s a major win for the stay-at-home set—there’s lots to do and plenty of opportunities to make friends with your same schedule. If you work—especially if you’ve got a serious commute—be mindful. By the time you hop off the train, your neighbors are likely well into the dinner rush or working through bedtimes and homework. That can make connecting trickier—be sure to find ways to engage fellow parents, whether it’s volunteering after school or hosting the soccer team post-game.
If YOUR kids are in the daycare or after school program scene….
No matter the town you move to, there are likely plenty of options for daycare, after school enrichment and, literally, endless themed activities and programs that will keep your kids occupied until you’re home. These can be amazing opportunities to learn, grow and make friends—but be mindful if your town doesn’t necessarily sway far from the nanny/au pair/stay-at-home parent approach. Your kids may miss out on activities from time to time, whether it’s a last-minute playdate or weekday birthday. “Again,” says Alli, “it’s all about understanding the childcare personality of each town so you and your family can find the right place to call ‘home’ and, from there, get acclimated to your new community.”
Working with Suburban Jungle, you’ll dig deep into lots of intangibles, including the unique childcare personalities from town to town. With that information, you’ll be better able to zero in on what suburbs fit your unique lifestyle. Then, by touring communities, mixing and mingling with locals and really understanding where you belong, Suburban Jungle will help you refine your list and help you find the right place to call “home.” Get in touch to learn more and to schedule your free Strategy Session now.
This post is sponsored by Suburban Jungle.