Finding a day care isn't easy. There is so much to think about: the cost, the waiting lists, the schedule, and the list goes on.

Local mom Caitland Orlicz first started looking for a day care when her family relocated to Maryville. She found long waiting lists, up to a year-and-a-half in some cases. It was the same story when she moved to Knoxville.

Caitland put her daughter in an in-home care for several months, but still wanted a more formal day care setting.

"We happened to find one that had a spot open, and we were really lucky," said Caitland. "So ever since then with our second child, we've just had him on the waiting list from the get go."

Caitland writes for the Knoxville Moms Blog, and she wants to help others with their search for child care. She offers these three tips.

Prioritize

Caitland says parents should know what's important to them and what they are willing to sacrifice. This can include security, low teacher turnover, breastfeeding friendly, outdoor space and other factors.

"It just what works best for you and at the end of the day," she said.

She encourages other parents to keep the day care's schedule in mind and check out their holiday and vacation policies.

Know Your Budget

This is where the sticker shock comes in. Caitland says on the low end, parents can expect to pay $600 - $700 a month. On the high end, day care could be as much as $1,400.

Caitland says the costs do go down as your child gets older. She adds that in-home day cares are typically more affordable.

Do Your Research Early

Caitland says to look at the day cares in your area and use every resource you can.

When it comes to waiting lists, Caitland says they aren't too terrible here in East Tennessee. She says if parents have their heart set on one day care, though, they should get on a waiting list early.

And if you are having trouble, she offers this advice: "There's always going to be something. It may not be ideal, but as long as your child is well cared for, that's the most important thing."

Knoxville Moms Blog offers a list of local day cares on their website.