My son goes to daycare. If you’ve followed me for awhile then you know that the decision to put him in daycare was somewhat tumultuous. I just couldn’t imagine turning my son over to those people for 8+ hours a day. From 2 1/2 months to 6 months he was taken care of during the day by a stay at home mom in my neighborhood. When the stay at home mom could no longer watch him, I chose to move him to a daycare a block away from where I work.
Fast forward and he’s now been in daycare for over 6 months. He is truly so happy there. He loves his teachers and all of the other kids. I can’t imagine being able to give him that much activity and stimulation if I was home with him all day.
That being said this is a post for all the mommies out there who think it is okay to treat daycare teachers like they are your indentured servants. These people spend more time with your child than you do. Best be respecting them and treating them kindly.
Henry is in a classroom with 12 other children. There are between 3-4 teachers in his classroom everyday. The babies range in age from 10 months to 18 months and all they are all at developmentally different stages.
Let’s stop a moment and think about the responsibility/duties/insanity of watching 12 babies under the age of 2 EVERY DAY. You’re tired already, right? Think about the number of diapers you would have to change, the number of personalities and quirks you would have to learn, the tears and the biting and the wrestling. Your desk job sounds easy peesy compared to what these teachers do everyday.
So here are my tips on how to create an excellent relationship with your child’s daycare:
- Spend time there. Henry’s daycare has an open door policy. If possible, spend time there on your lunch hour. This doesn’t have to be forever or everyday, but your child’s teachers need to know that you care, what your parenting style is and that you are likely to show up unannounced on a regular basis.
- Be kind to these teachers. Thank them everyday for taking care of your child. Yes, it’s their job, but wouldn’t it make you feel great if your boss thanked you regularly? And don’t kid yourself. When it comes right down to it you are the boss.
- Listen to them. Sad to say for us working moms, but sometimes these teachers are privy to behavior that we don’t see. When they suggest something to you, be open to it or at least listen and consider what they are suggesting. Henry’s teachers were the first to tell me that he was ready for more solid food. Something that I was scared to try as a first time mom.
- Don’t threaten them. So your kid had an incident? Yeah, it’s going to happen for the rest of their lives. Yes, your job is to protect them, but things are going to happen. Bites, wrestling, hair pulling, bumps and bruises. If every time your child has an incident you threaten to pull him/her out of daycare, intimidating the staff with your demands is not going to help your relationship with the school or the teachers.
- Be reasonable. There are parents at Henry’s school who have planned their child’s day out by the hour and expect the daycare teachers to follow that exact schedule. Set reasonable expectations for your child’s day to day. At no other time in their life will a rigid schedule help them out. Flexibility is a learned skill. Start now.
- Get to know the parents of your child’s classmates. You don’t have to be friends with them. You don’t have to invite them to your kid’s birthday. It’s just helpful to have an extra set of mommy or daddy eyes. Say hello. Say how cute their kid is. Make nice.
- Trust your daycare providers. If you’ve done your homework then you’ve chosen Professional Childcare. The key word here is professional. These are people who love children, are knowledgeable in early childhood development and have years of experience in caring for other people’s children (or their own!). Trust that they are doing what is best for your child everyday and helping them get to the next level of development.
- Try to follow the same daycare feeding/napping schedule at home. I mentioned above how a strict routine is not necessary, but a routine of some sort is. Take the time to learn how the teachers handle nap time and eating. On the weekends or holidays, try to mimic that schedule. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but babies thrive on routine and knowing what to expect.
- Lastly, if your child’s (or your) personality is just not cut out for daycare think about finding another option. Maybe a home daycare or a nanny is better for you and your child.
I’ve probably forgotten a few tips so if you have any feel free to leave them in the comments.