Seattle parenting: stuff you wish you'd known/done earlier
February 16, 2016 11:15 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for things you'd maybe learn the hard way as parents, or pick up from other parents, specific to Seattle. Do you know of any of these tidbits, or where to find out more about the "lay of the land" for Seattle parenting? (Our daughter is almost 2 right now, if it helps.)

The motivation for this is that we waited too long to look at day cares for and so our daughter is on the wait list for the ones we'd really liked to have sent her to. Are there other things like this, where you need to get on a list really early? Should we be putting her on waiting lists for certain elementary schools? (This was a thing in Tucson, where I grew up.) Are there other things?
posted by joshuaconner to Human Relations (5 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Seattle Schools opens up school choice applications on or around the first week of February and don't really do pre-reservations:

That said, without knowing where you're zoned to go (find out here, on the right side or enter your address here), I can point out that you might not need to worry about it. A bunch of Seattle public schools are well-regarded so it's not like you're fighting for scraps just yet. (Rev up your worry motor if you want your daughter to go to Chief Sealth or Garfield High Schools; those have a lot of inbound transfer requests but you're also about 13 years away from that.)

Outside of that, waitlists are simply a factor of life especially if you live somewhere like Capitol Hill, the University District, or SLU where there are a lot of parents, expensive land, and a dearth of nearby child care options. If you can reach out to places like the Central District, Lake City, or even Roosevelt, you'll find more selection simply because people aren't hunting there as much. (Without knowing where you physically go to work and how you get there, recommendations are difficult to offer.)

I recommend parent meetups or play dates if you can at all arrange it. That will help you get in on the nearby gossip on when slots at desirable daycares might open up, which pediatrician to avoid, and the like. Your needs are rather neighborhood-specific so join up with your neighbors—maybe even use, though I'm loathe to suggest it, NextDoor—and get the good intel.
posted by fireoyster at 12:44 AM on February 17, 2016

Not a Seattle parent, but a former Seattle kid - if you live in the north end, get on the waitlist for Wedgwood or View Ridge Swim Clubs (or both). My parents didn't, and I was SO jealous of the kids who basically lived at the pool during the summer - it's an awesome community. The waitlist is long enough that your kid might be a tween or teenager by the time you get in (but don't let that scare you - I had a friend who was 17 when they got it and it was still worth it, esp. for her younger brother).

It's not cheap, but many families found that they spent so many hours there that it displaced basically all other social summer activities.
posted by R a c h e l at 6:45 AM on February 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

The answers to this question will be very neighborhood specific.
posted by bq at 10:05 AM on February 17, 2016

Response by poster: (We're on the north end of Capitol Hill right now, but we're expecting twins in June and will need to find a larger place before too long. Maybe I'll re-ask again when we do?)
posted by joshuaconner at 5:07 PM on February 17, 2016

Not necessarily Seattle specific, but a definite lesson I've learned since I moved here: I really resisted buying a second pair of rain boots to just leave at daycare. But that meant every damn day I had to schlep her raincoat and her boots in and out if I thought there was even a chance of rain. She now has a pair for home and a pair for school, and a light rain slicker for school too so she can layer it on in case I don't bring her raincoat in and it rains.

Oh, also! Don't get rain boots your kids adore for school, lest your children decide they won't wear their regular shoes anymore and only want to wear boots. I picked up my daughter and found her in her Minnie boots every day for over a month. Ultimately rain boots aren't as supportive as regular shoes and I'd rather she wasn't wearing them constantly. Lesson learned.

I can count the amount of times I've worn rain boots since I moved here on one hand, but kids really need them since apparently like 90% of what 2-year-olds do when it rains and they get to play outside involves intense, personal interaction with puddles. Your daughter may still be young enough that she doesn't go out in the rain much but after about 2 and a half they can't keep them in all day and they run around out there rain or shine, at least at my daycare.
posted by town of cats at 11:15 PM on February 17, 2016

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