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Things All Parents Need to Know

1. The way you treat your childcare provider matters

You might be in a rush to drop off your child at daycare or pick them up on your way home, but that's no reason to not take a moment to be kind to your childcare provider. "The parent should speak to the childcare provider in the way they want their child to act: Courteous, use pleases and thank-you's," said Mathilda Williams, who runs an in-home childcare facility in New Jersey. "Yes, the childcare provider works for you, but that doesn't mean they can be treated without respect. If the child sees his mom or dad speaking to the provider without respect, this is what he will learn."

2. Timing is important

Being on time to pick up your child matters not only to your daycare provider, but also to your children. "The child may think that he doesn't matter, because his mom or dad makes no effort to pick him up on time," says Williams. "Children learn very soon that their friends are picked up early or on time, and they are only picked up after everyone else has gone home already. They will resent that. "

3. Weather appropriate clothes are important

Daycare providers have plans for the day. They want to do fun activities and get outdoors with your children, all children suffer when your children are not prepared for the weather. "We are often forced to stay indoors on beautiful days that are crisp just because parents have not sent warm enough clothes or snow gear. It really disappoints everyone." says Wood.

4. Your providers often see other nannies yelling at — or ignoring — other children

For every childcare provider who engages her charges at the park, there are countless others chatting on their cell phones or talking with friends. Carey said she once witnessed a little boy nearly get hit by a car while his nanny napped on a blanket at the park. "There used to be a caregiver I would see at the school ... who would constantly scream at and berate the child she looked after," said a nanny named Jennifer. "I wondered how the child's parents could have hired a woman like that. All parents need to ensure they have hired providers who are responsible enough to really watch, care for, and play with your children."

5. A little thanks goes a long way

Don't skimp on the person who ties your children's shoelaces, fixes them a snack, and wipes their tears. "I spend five days a week helping her raise her kids and for Christmas, I got a re-gifted mud mask," said Lisa. "I totally cried," she said. "All I really wanted was a thank-you note."

Speaking of thank-you notes, you might want to send one from time to time. "When the provider goes above and beyond, a thank-you note or little perk is a nice touch," said Wingate. "Providers, like everyone else, need to feel that their good work does not go unnoticed."

6. You need to discipline your children

"Some parents don't believe in discipline," said Carey. But giving in to temper tantrums essentially tells kids that yelling and screaming will get them what they want. "Kids are smart," Carey said.

Of course, your kids might be better behaved when you're not around. "Why does your kid listen to me and not to you? Because I set firm rules and stick by them," said certified preschool teacher Dionne Obeso. "You're a softie, and your kids know it."

7. Your child might be a bully

"If your children are getting into fights regularly, they are probably starting them," said Obeso. If you see bites or bruises on your child, ask your childcare provider who is actually hitting whom. They might be afraid to tell you on their own.

8. Your kids need more attention … from you

Lisa works for a family where both parents travel often. "The kids do miss them," she said. But parents also need to be present when they are home. The 10-year-old boy she babysits was trying to read his father a story he wrote recently. "The dad had his face in his Blackberry and was like, 'Uh huh, uh huh.'" Lisa said the boy acts out when he's missing his parents. "He wakes up every night, at least twice in the night and asks for his mom. He starts to cry," she said.

9. Your provider is your child's first line of defense.

No parent wants to hear that something is wrong with her kid, but caring for Little Johnny for 10 hours a day makes a babysitter pretty observant. Providers are the first line of defense. Trust in what they have to say. "Being a parent myself, it's a sensitive subject," said Carey. "You want the best for your child, but you don't want to hear that they may need some help." The earlier you can get intervention the better!

10. You get what you pay for, and what you seek

Childcare providers might not be willing to market themselves based on price alone, but "you most certainly get what you pay for in terms of childcare," says Melody Rubie, owner and president of Smart Start Sitters and Nannies in New York City. "I recommend parents cut back on less crucial items, such as pricey enhancement classes, rather than paying less for a less qualified caregiver who could significantly impact your child's budding self-esteem and restrict their experiential learning for many hours each week."

If you're expecting someone who will teach your young child, make sure they're qualified, or that they're actually going to provide the services you assume they are going to provide. Children's book author Jennifer Lynn Pereyra found that out when she put her oldest daughter into childcare. "We were expecting that when she was three that they would start to teach her letters and numbers. Well, we came to find out that this particular center believed strictly in learning through play and not doing any type of structured learning."

With her second daughter, Pereyra observed two things about the center they had chosen: The employees had all been there more than 10 years, which showed her they were happy in their jobs. "I chalk this up to solid management practices," she said. "I firmly believe that good management equals happy, tenured teachers, and happy teachers produce happy children."

11. Pay on time please

You would not like it if your employer "forgot" to pay you. "Oh, sorry, I forgot the check. Can I get it to you next week?" But in fact, providers are running a business and need to get the deposit in on time. "How would you feel if your employer asked you if they could get your check to you next week?" says Wood (long time child care  provider.) "It is very frustrating!"

12. No Show, let us know

Your providers are waiting for you to bring your child. If you have a change of plans, be courteous enough to let your provider know as soon as possible. "It makes me feel like the parents think I am not important enough to think about when plans change. Also, I have plans with the children that we have to put on hold until I figure out your schedule." says Carey. "We spend a lot of time trying to track down missing students when parents just forgot to let us know."

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