I want to start by saying that I am currently a daycare provider and have been for five years now. I have a great group of kids (and parents) right now, but sadly that hasn’t always been the case. Daycare is hard work. There are many factors that play into a successful relations with your daycare provider. Most daycare providers will tell you that the parents can ruin a business relationship faster than a child can.
There are things you can do to help maintain that good relationship with your daycare provider. After all, you both have the same priorities everyday, the care of your child.
Daycare Providers are not rich.
You’re doing the math as you write out the check on Friday. There are six kids running around here, $3 per hour, 40 hours a week. Suddenly you’re thinking about a career change for yourself! Before you give your boss your two week notice think about it. I’m not stuffing all that money under my mattress each week. I have to deduct taxes. Then it pays for foods, cleaning supplies, art supplies, books and toys that your child uses. Also, remember I don’t have benefits or a 401K so that’s all on me to fund from that check you’re writing on Friday.
This is my business.
I’m not just watching other people’s children all day long for the pure fun of it. I’m going to level with you, it’s not all rainbows and lollipops all day long. Some days are good, some days are horrible. I chose this as my job. I created my own business. There is so much more to this than simply babysitting all day. Respect my business as you would any other.
Pay on time, every time.
Remember, how I said I’m not rich. Chances are if you don’t pay me, there is someone else that I can’t pay. The utilities company doesn’t care if you don’t pay me, but they do care if I don’t pay them. See the cycle there? It happens every month. I’m sure you wouldn’t be too happy with your boss if you worked all week long and there wasn’t a check on your desk on Friday afternoon. Same thing here. We honestly don’t care if your vacuum cleaner died and you had to buy a new one (actual excuse I received). Just pay us on time, please.
Treat me like a person.
Respect me like a business, but treat me like a person. I have feelings just like you. You don’t want me to tell you how to raise your child at home, so please don’t tell me how to do my job. If you have a question or concern please ask. Just don’t forget I can’t make exceptions for every child on every situation. I have rules and contracts (that you signed) for a reason. Please respect me and follow those rules.
When your child is sick please keep them home.
Really. Just keep them, and any siblings, home from daycare. I know its not convenient when you have to call into work and use a sick day when your child is sick. However, its not going to be any more convenient when your child shares that sickness with myself or my children and I have to close the entire daycare. Also, if your little one gets sick at daycare, please come as quickly as you can to get them. You know your child only wants Mommy or Daddy when sick. Please don’t ignore my call or take two hours to drive across town.
I don’t get sick days.
To go with the last tip, we don’t have sick days. I also don’t have two weeks vacation, an expense account, a matching 401K or a lunch break. Most days I don’t even get to use the restroom when I need to. Please respect my time. I still have to make all the same doctor and dentist appointments that you do, but I can’t use my lunch break to do it. I try really hard to schedule them to impact the least about of people, but understand that if I close for the day for personal reasons chances are that I’m up earlier than normal and running all over the place to get everything done in one day to make it easier for everyone else.
Communication really is key.
If you need to talk about something, please let me know and we’ll schedule a time. However, please don’t pick your lunch hour to call me. Lunch time for us is like the last hour on Christmas Eve for Santa Claus. It’s a mad rush of trying to get lunch prepared, and served to a table full of hungry kiddos. I try to eat at the table with the kids and then have to clean up the disaster left behind as nap time begins. Yes, I know its your free time, but it is the busiest time for me so let me know at pickup or drop-off and we’ll work out a time to chat.
Secrets don’t make friends.
Please don’t lie about your child being potty trained. That’s a secret that won’t stay kept very long. On that note, send enough diapers if your child needs diapers. I’m not Target. I do not have a supply of diapers in every size sitting in a drawer ready to go. Same goes for clothes. Kids have accidents or spill things all over themselves so an extra set or two of clothes (in the right size and season) are needed.
Schedules, schedules, schedules!
I’m not being nosy or rude. I just need to know where you are everyday. Do you have to go out of town for work? Is your little one going to be staying a little later or arriving earlier than normal? Are you taking a day off? If you don’t tell me, I will call and wake you up when your child doesn’t show up on time. It is also very helpful if I know about days off in advance. I need to be able to plan for meals and activities for your child. Life changes sometimes and results in changes in the need for daycare. I understand that, but it really isn’t ok to not tell me that your children won’t be coming anymore (yes, that has happened.) That is a pretty important piece of information for your daycare provider.
You are replaceable.
I don’t mean that is a horrible way at all. It’s nothing personal, but do you remember how hard it was to find daycare? There are always people needing care for their children. I get asked almost weekly if I have any openings. If push comes to shove and you aren’t following or respecting my policies, I will ask you to find new childcare. Again, I’m not trying to be harsh, but I am trying to run a business.
We are a team.
If your child is going through something, if there’s a big change at home or you’re working with them on something, please don’t leave us in the dark guessing. I’m happy to help with breaking a bad habit, overcoming a fear, or learning a new skill. I just can’t do that if I don’t know about it. We’re all on the same team!
Appreciate your daycare provider!!
Say thank you! It’s simple and it doesn’t cost you any extra. If it’s Friday, smile and say have a good weekend. Appreciate what we do. We aren’t in it for Christmas gifts, but I will say the gesture goes a long way in our hearts. Daycare Provider Appreciation Day is the Friday before Mother’s Day. I can’t speak for your provider, but I like chocolate….
We do this job for the money yes, but we also take your children into our homes everyday because we like them and care about them. You become a part of our extended family. We appreciate you trusting us with your child all day, so please appreciate us too.
As Always, Remember you are not alone. We’re all Mommin’ 365