I worked at a national chain daycare in an upper-middle to upper-class neighborhood. I worked at one in a low-income area as well. I also ran my own daycare. To date, I am still in a few childcare groups on social media. It takes a very special kind of person to work with children. What you’re about to read are not just my own thoughts but thoughts shared by many providers across the board.
Read on to find out about some things your childcare provider wishes you knew or would stop doing:
- Dress your child for the weather.
- Also in line with the above, your child comes to learn and play, not walk the runway, please dress them accordingly. We get messy and don’t want to have to worry about keeping expensive outfits clean.
- Don’t bring your infant in hungry or needing a diaper. Drop-offs are usually pretty busy. We are receiving other children, preparing breakfast, setting up for the day, getting bus riders off, etc. We don’t usually have another minute to spare.
- We get that you may need a “day off” from your child, but please don’t brag about it to us. Also, we work with your children all day long and know that they would absolutely love to spend the extra time with you, so if you’re going to bring them in, at least pick them up early.
- If you’re going to keep them home, drop them off late, or pick them up early, please let us know. We plan out our schedules around drop-offs and pick-ups and there’s not much harder than being mid-activity/craft and then have to stop in the middle. This applies to mostly in-home providers.
- Most times, in-home providers work 10-12 hour days without a break of any kind and have limited other adult interaction.
- Keep your drop-off and pick-up times to a minimum. When you drop-off, tell your child bye and leave. We promise they stop crying within minutes. When you pick them up, get them and go (see above-mentioned point about 10-12 hour days).
- When dropping off and picking up, please stay off of your phone. We love and appreciate quick drop-offs and pick-ups, but this is also the time we update each other about your child’s day.
- We ALWAYS appreciate gifts (a cookie, a coffee, a gift card, a pack of paper, a simple thank you, etc).
- We all understand how expensive childcare is, but after the time we spend caring for your child, buying the food and other supplies (including but not limited to food, crafts, educational/enrichment items, insurance), most providers make about ~$2-3/hour. We usually have no retirement, benefits, or health insurance on this income.
- We also understand that you may think it’s unfair to have to pay for childcare when your child isn’t there. This is our career and how we make a living. You wouldn’t call your internet provider and say “I didn’t use the internet today, so I shouldn’t have to pay.”
- Pay on time. This is how we pay our bills, too.
- Don’t bring in outside food or toys for your child. It leads to bad things every single time.
- DO NOT drug and drop your child off. This is unfair to everyone. Your poor, sick baby has to suffer through hours until you are able to come and get them. They are exposing everyone else to the sickness including the provider(s), which could cause the whole daycare to close, especially in Covid times. This ultimately leads to you having to call off of work anyways, which you were trying to avoid in the first place by bringing them in sick.
- A fever from teething does not exceed 101. Allergies do not cause a high fever either. Please stop telling us this. If your child is sick, keep them home. You wouldn’t appreciate someone else bringing in their sick kid and getting yours sick.
- Be mindful of snaps/buttons on your child’s outfit. We have to change multiple diapers a day. This could quickly turn into hundreds of snaps that our poor fingers are snapping and unsnapping. Overalls are so cute, too, but not the best idea for daycare, nor are pull-up diapers for un-potty-trained kiddos.
- Please talk with your provider before you start potty training. We spend hours every day with your child and have potty trained many others. We will likely know if they are truly ready for the potty. Also, start potty training at home on a Friday or long weekend.
- We love your child probably as much as you do and we try to divide our time evenly with all of them. However, this is group care, not one-on-one care. A nanny may be a better fit for some families.
- We know lots more about you, your family, the neighbor’s dog, and what you ate for dinner than what you think we do. Children have no filter and they tell all!
I hope in writing this, I haven’t stepped on too many toes. Actually, I hope the opposite is true. I hope that I have given you an understanding and a new appreciation for your childcare provider. It truly takes a village to raise a child. We want to work together with you in harmony to help your child be the best they can be! So tell me… what is one thing above that you had not thought about previously?