I've been a home daycare provider for a long time now. When my kids were 1 and 3, the daycare where they went closed and I was stuck trying to find someplace to send them. They went to the only big center in town and when it closed all the little home daycares filled up fast. Being the awesome procrastinator that I am, I waited so long that the only ones left with openings were kind of scary.
That's when I decided to start my own home daycare. I've had many years of experience dealing with children and parents. I know how hard it is to find someone you can trust with your child's safety. I also know when you do find someone, parents generally want to stick with that provider as long as possible.
I'm having kind of a bad day today, so I thought it would be fun to share a little PSA for parents to help with building a great relationship with your daycare provider.
So without further ado, I give you my top 5 things every parent of a child in daycare should know.
Be respectful of your providers opening and closing times.
Know what hours you need daycare for so when you are meeting new providers, you can find one that meets your needs. Don't choose a provider that opens at 7 am if you need a 6:30 drop off time. Her hours are generally chosen with her family in mind, so it's always important to be there on time. Dont' ask her to stay open late, or worse, don't just show up late.
On the same thought, let your provider know if your child won't be present when they are expected to be at daycare. Respect your agreed upon hours of operation and everyone will be happy.
Keep your child home when you can.
Its important to have back up for when your child is sick. Don't send your child to daycare if they are sick because you really don't want to be responsible for giving 6 or so other people the flu.
If you take a week off for vacation, keep your child home with you. Despite what some parents think, your child will not have more fun at daycare than they do at home with mom and dad. Pick them up early when you can. Parents have no idea how excited children get when they know their parents are coming to get them early. Don't be the first to drop off and the last to pick up if you can help it. Kids notice these things, surprise them with a half day off once in a while.
Remember, your child is not the only child in her care.
Yes, your child is special to you, and I'm sure your provider really enjoys them too, but remember your child is only one of 6 or so children. Your provider will probably do all she can to accommodate your child's special needs, but there are some things that are just not doable. Special meals can't always be made because your child only eats chicken. Or nap time can't be skipped because your 2 year old is on a sleep strike. Kids tend to follow what their friends do, and your provider can't have 6 kids wanting 6 different things for lunch because your child won't eat whats served.
Think long and hard when sending toys from home. In most cases, your child will be expected to share and that's not always easy for little ones. Most toys from home here end up back in cubbys until pick up time because they just cause tantrums. That's never fun for your provider or your child.
Pay day means the same to us as it does to you.
This one is common sense. Pay your provider on her payday. You knew how much your provider charged when you signed up with her, and she depends on that money to pay her bills. Her bills include food for your child, heat, lights, supplies...ect. When you don't pay her on time, she may not be able to pay her bills on time, and she will activity try to fill your child's spot. If you like your provider, pay her on time or she might just find someone else who will.
Your daycare providers only human.
Be nice to your provider. Say please and thank you. Not only is it a great lesson for your child to learn, but this is the person who cares for your favorite people in the world, why would you not want to be extra nice to her? A few nice words can really go a long way. Tell her thank you, let her know you appreciate all she does for your child. Sometimes providers have bad days too. We have personal problems just like everyone else. But we try to put that all aside to care for your children.
So there is my PSA for parents who use daycare. Yeah, there's a lot more, but these are the first 5 that came to my mind.
My main point is, be nice, be respectful, and remember this is the lady that takes care of your kids. You want her on your side.