Before I was a mom myself I worked for years in the daycare business. First at larger daycare centers and then as a private nanny. Here are some things your childcare provider wants you to know:
Please remember that your care provider has a life beyond your children and schedule. While most parents were great about picking their children up in a timely manner, there was always one who was habitually late, at least once a week. When you’re picking up you child 10 or 15 minutes late, it might not seem like much to you, but you don’t know what her plans after work might be. She might even have a second job she needs to get to or an appointment, and your tardiness will affect those plans. Of course, we understand if there is an accident on the interstate or the RARE occasion something comes up and you are late, but please don’t make it a habit.
Also, when payday comes, please don’t make us come asking for our paycheck. You wouldn’t want to have to go into your boss’s office each week and ask them – we don’t like to either. Additionally, many childcare’s have a fee in place for tardiness. If that’s the case, add that into the check without making us ask for it. It’s the right thing to do and shows the you respect and appreciate us.
Will your child not be attending daycare today? Maybe you are going on vacation in 3 months – please give us this info as soon as you have it so we can plan accordingly.
If You Take Your Children to a Large Center, Watch the Turnover Rate
If you are seeing a large turnover rate of employees, then there may be an issue with management/ownership. At a small, in-home daycare you probably will not find this issue, however in the larger childcare facilities, I found that management sometimes became greedy and the children suffered because of that. For example, to qualify for childcare assistance in my state, your child must attend daycare for a certain number of days in a month. If you fail to bring your child for those days, the daycare loses money. Because of this, in one daycare I worked, the owner would tell parents to bring their children into the center when it would otherwise not be allowed (lice, fever, vomiting, etc).
Daycare centers also have an adult/child ratio they must meet. To save money, or if a teacher is out sick, the owners would put extra staff in a room while parents were dropping off children (like the cooks, janitor, themselves) and then once the morning dropoffs were complete, they would leave. Centers are also inspected randomly by the state to make sure they are following the rules. You would think that makes your center safe and always fully staffed – it does not. Both of the large centers I worked at would hide children (yes, I’m not lying) when inspectors came. Sadly, it happens.
Unfortunately, situations like the ones I referenced above not only make our jobs harder, they are also unacceptable to someone like myself. I could not, in good conscience, continue to work in the environments of these centers and neither could the other ladies I was working with, hence the high turnover rate. Upon leaving both childcare centers I mentioned above, I submitted info to the DHHR, however these centers still remain open.
We Really Love Your Kids
Look, I’m not trying to scare you by what I wrote above. I just want you to be aware that those things can and do happen. Bad management does not mean that your child will not be loved and cared for by their individual care provider. I adored the children I watched; they were like my own nieces and nephews! Let me just say, that you don’t go into childcare for the money… because you won’t earn very much. Even as a private nanny, I wasn’t making a large salary. I (and most of my fellow childcare workers) went into the business because we just love children. We really care about your children and want what’s best for them. Years after my time in daycare I think back about the children I cared for and wonder how they’re doing now.
Please Don’t Send Your Kids to Daycare Sick
Look, I know you need to work. We all do. The problem with sending a sick child to daycare is that it makes everyone else in the class become sick, including the provider. A common cold is one thing, vomiting is another. When I worked in daycare, I was living paycheck to paycheck because there’s not much money there. That meant if you brought your extremely sick child to daycare and I got it, I had to either come to work sick (and infect the other children) or not pay a bill that month. You probably wouldn’t feel great about leaving your child with me if you walked into the classroom and I was vomiting…we feel the same way.
We Really Appreciate Thoughtful Gifts
This year as I set up my Christmas tree, I hung a number of ornaments that were given to me as presents during my childcare days. Every year as I get unpack them, I think about those littles I once cared for and wonder how they are doing. They’ve all taken a small piece of my heart with them. Want to get your child’s care provider day off to great start – grab a cup of Starbucks for her on your way in. She’ll love you for it! Look, even as a mom, if I’m in a grumpy mood, I know it affects my attitude with my children. A small, thoughtful gesture like that can make for a happier day for her AND your child!
Kids Don’t Cry for Long Once You Leave
Those first few days and weeks at a new daycare can be tough on the little ones, but I think they are usually tougher on the parents. If your child is crying when you drop him/her off, don’t worry, they won’t for long. Most children have adjusted to daycare within a week. On the flip side, try not to feel too upset when your child grows to love their childcare worker and is sad to leave them. I once had a mom who told me that at first she was hurt that her child appeared to love me as much (or more) than her. She ran to me when she was hurt instead of her mom….but then she said she realized what a blessing it was. Her child WAS loved, happy, and felt safe when she couldn’t be with her. She was able to go to work not feeling guilty about leaving her daughter with me.
Sometimes, We Don’t Tell You the WHOLE Truth
Okay, before you hate me, it’s not what you think. I generally worked with infants. Every parent wants to be present when their child has their firsts – you know, first crawl, first word, first step, etc.. We NEVER told the parents that their little one had hit a milestone until they mentioned it to us because really, what parent wants to miss those things? As far as the parents were concerned, Suzy crawled for the first time over the weekend (even though she may have been doing that since Thursday). We get excited for their milestone moments too, but want to let you be first to witness them.