If you’re a new arrival in Houston—or if you’ve got a newborn arrival in your Houston apartment—you may be looking into daycare centers. Choosing one of these facilities is one of many important decisions parents face. It can also be particularly difficult if you’re new in town.

Rent.com wants you to find the best possible facility for your son or daughter. To that end, we’ve put together this step-by-step guide on how to find the best daycare centers in Houston.

1. Location, Location, Location

Your first step will be mapping out the geographic area that you can comfortably access regularly. Choosing a Houston daycare center that’s convenient to your work and home will help reduce stress considerably. Not only will your commute be shorter, but you’ll be close at hand should you need to reach your child quickly.

 Research Your Options

Once you have a sense of where your ideal daycare facility could lie, you can start researching daycare centers in that area. While what works for other parents may not be right for you, there are a few childcare centers in the Houston area that consistently get high marks. There are several websites you can use for your research:

  • The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services website allows you search licensed childcare centers. You can limit your results using a good number of pertinent factors, such as facility type. When you find a place that looks promising, review the Department’s reports on the facility. If there have been any issues reported, that information will be in those reports.
  • Angie’s List compiles ratings for services including childcare centers in Houston, Texas, but you have to join to access their data. It costs money, but there are no anonymous reviews allowed. This makes the information on the site more reliable than what you’ll find on other review sites.
  • You can also find reviews of daycare centers in Houston on Yelp, which you can view for free without registering.

Schedule a Visit

When you’ve managed to narrow your list down to a small handful of places, your next step will be to arrange to visit them. You’ll want to speak to the daycare center director, meet the staff, observe children there, and if possible, speak to parents whose children are currently enrolled.

If you’re really at a loss figuring out where to start, look into Children’s Lighthouse (childrenslighthouse.com) or Crème de la Crème (cremedelacreme.com). Both of these national daycare organizations operate branches in Houston. Larger organizations like these two tend to have well tested procedures, carefully screened staff, and high quality facilities.