When it comes to choosing a kindergarten, there are many factors you have to look at. You'll need to find a curriculum that suits your child's needs, an alignment with your family values (religious or not), and more. However, while these are all important parts of the decision-making process, many parents get so caught up in looking for the 'perfect fit' kindergarten that they forget to truly determine whether it fits their life.

If a kindergarten doesn't work well around your family's own routines and other needs, sending your child there will quickly feel more like a hindrance than a help, even if it's perfect in every other way. Here the are two main factors to look at to determine how well a kindergarten suits your whole family as well as your child.

Proximity: How Close is the Kindergarten?

Has your cousin in the next town over told you about a great kindergarten where they live? Perhaps you've found an amazing program online, but it's nowhere near your house. Whatever the case, don't get too starry-eyed over faraway kindergartens before you've really thought about the implications of a distance. Travelling an hour or more to get your child to kindergarten each day may sound worth it if the centre is really amazing, but is it realistic? Long commutes can quickly have an effect on your sleep and stress levels. It may also force other family members to change their schedules; older children, for example, may have to start walking to school alone if you can't drive both journeys on time. In most cases, it's better to choose a kindergarten in your local area, even if it doesn't seem quite as perfect as one a long way away.

Schedules: What Time Does the Day Start and End?

Similarly to proximity, the daily schedule at your chosen kindergarten can impact the routines of everyone in your household. It's important to find a centre whose times align with your other commitments, whether that's getting to work on time or driving your older children to school. If a kindergarten you like the look of gets out earlier than you finish work or other errands, you can organise separate after-school care for your child, but this adds more stress and complications to your day. You might also want to look at the mealtime schedule as well as the naptime schedule if your kindergarten has one. These can both have an effect on how your little one's routine goes at home and could lead to fussing over dinner and refusal to go to bed on time.