With two kids, we’ve gone through a lot of daycare. We’ve had nannies, babysitters, and a daycare provider. Each had their own idiosyncrasies and each tested our patience in one way or another.
But they all had one thing in common: we treated them extremely well.
Now, I don’t say this because I’m trying to be all braggy-braggy or toot my own horn. But it’s true. We have a tendency to indulge our care providers a little bit…because, after all, our children spent a lot of time with them. In many ways, our care providers had as much to do with shaping their little minds as we did. We certainly didn’t want to tick them off!
I’ve talked before about the trials and tribulations of choosing childcare. It can be a tricky and stressful situation (most often more stressful for you than for your little one). But finding care is just half the battle; once you charge this person with the care and keeping of your child, you need to be sure to treat them right, too.
Why? Because, in case you wondered, your kid is not always an angel. Sometimes, yes, Little Johnny is great for five days straight. But inevitably, there’s going to be more than one occasion where Little Johnny thumps Little Tommy over the train set and it’s not going to be pretty. Sure, there will be tears. Maybe some dramatic screaming. Probably some time out. And sure, that might be a little stressful for your child…but what about for the person who’s caring for him.
Can you imagine how stressful that job is? I can tell you firsthand (since I worked at my older daughter’s daycare when she was a baby), taking care of kids all day is no picnic my friends. In fact, looking back at it now, I can’t believe I even had the energy to take care of my own kid after being around 12 screaming banshees for 10 1/2 hours each day. And if you think some parents don’t take advantage of a full 7 am to 5:30 pm schedule, you’re crazy. There are parents who do take advantage of it â€” either because their work schedule demands it or simply because they feel like they’re paying for it so they might as well use it.
And when you take care of kids all day, there’s nothing worse than a parent that doesn’t appreciate all the time you’ve spent loving their kid, even when he or she had the most difficult day in the history of days. Know what I mean?
So here’s a few things you can do to show your provider how much you really do appreciate all that they do.
Give them a paid vacation. Depending on the kind of care situation you have, your provider may not get a “paid” vacation. Some daycares work paid time off into their contracts, but many don’t. If you have a nanny, it’s up to you to say they’ll get a paid week off. Or, just surprise them and say, “Hey, we’re giving you a paid week off in April!”
Be on time. I know that it’s tempting to suck every last minute of daycare out of the day when you can. After all, you’re paying for it, right? But being on time (or perhaps early) is such a fabulous thing.
Take stock in what she likes. And be sure to treat her often. If you have a nanny, stock her favorite foods in the house or buy her a special stash of K-cups. If you take your child to daycare, drop off a care package every now and again.
Provide supplies. This is particularly important if your child attends daycare. Art supplies are accounted for in the price that you pay each week, but there’s often a need for extra supplies. Ask if you can donate supplies.
Be realistic about your child. This should go without saying, but you need to acknowledge that sometimes your child will be in the wrong. If your provider approaches you about a difficult situation that occurred during the day, be open to hearing what she has to say. And above all, be willing to work with your provider to reinforce the way she handled the situation.
photo credit: childcarecenter.us