C.B. asks from Plainfield, IL on March 11, 2008
Daycare Kids Not Fed Until They Arrive at My House at Noon????
I recently started caring for a new family. They have 3 children 6, 3, & 18mths. They arrive at my house and are ravenous. These children do not arrive until noon. The oldest is in kindergarten and she is not fed breakfast before they leave for school because they "don't have time". I have also heard the excuse from 6 yr old that " there wasn't enough for her" I don't believe this is a money issue. Mom and Dad both drive brand new cars & neither look to be starving. The 6 yr old arrived yesterday rather proud of herself that she had eaten breakfast. I have been trying to instill in her that she needs to eat a healthy breakfast before she leaves for school in the morning. SHE ATE SUGAR COOKIES, not what I was thinking, but at least she ate something -- I guess. The children are here for 7 hrs and eat more than my children do in days. Not to mention they eat very few fruits, or vegetables and I'm afraid their poor eating habits are going to rub off on my children.
This goes along with the fact that the 6yr old "doesn't have time to do her homework". Which is kindergarten homework. Very simple- couple sentences or numbers. Mom and Dad could have each nights homework done with her in a matter of minutes. I brought this up to the Dad when I cleaned out her backpack, because they had asked me to help her with her homework. Homework had not been done for the past two weeks. She had papers, projects, snacks, notes from school dating back to the beginning of the year. It took me over 30min just to decipher what this weeks homework was. He then had the nerve to blame the daughter and tell her she needed to do her homework. All well and good if she could read by herself I said. She is definitely going to need help at this age.
In the 3 weeks I have been watching them she has missed school twice because "my mom didn't feel like having me go today". Not sick, no appointments, no emergencies. Again, not a habit I want my children to think is ok. I feel that school is important. Even in Kindergarten and that they need to learn this from the start to succeed when they are older.
I need to at least approach the eating aspect at this point. Any suggestions on how to approach the parents with this I would appreciate. I feed them lunch, afternoon snack, and dinner. The problem is they are starving. They ask to eat about every 30 minutes, and they eat a lot.I would love to accommodate them, but I cannot prepare 20 meals a day.
So What Happened?™
Thank you all for your advice. I am not nearly as concerned with the cost as I am with the well being of these children. Today they arrived and while speaking with the 6 yr old she told me that this morning she wanted to eat cereal for breakfast. Her mom told her that would make them too late for school, so she has missed yet another day. So in three weeks, she has been absent from school 4 times, that I am aware of. I am giving them notice on Monday. It is too stressful for me. I worry so much about my own children and I am stressed and angry about the lack of basic parenting skills these parents seem to have. I'm not sleeping at night, worrying about them. In a way I would like to keep them because then I know that they are being fed, read to, and having homework done. I was in tears this afternoon. Their parenting philosophy is just too far off from mine for me to ever be comfortable with. Thank you again for all of your great advice.
D.P. answers from Chicago on March 11, 2008
ok I totally hear you! I bsit too! As for the breakfast some kids aren't ready to eat that early in the morning...my boy always wants milk so I bought the Carnation instant breakfast that actually has lots of good stuff in it...just an idea to pass on to mom that is super easy! I too have children that eat me out of the house at times...ONLY offer healthy snacks, give them 2 choices. Another idea is my sister's daughter is always begging for food so she made her "snack tickets" once you've used them ..you're done! I do charge EXTRA for food OR you could ask that the mom brings them their own snacks/meals?! Hope this helps...GOOD LUCK!
A.G. answers from Decatur on March 11, 2008
Tell the mom you feed 1 meal and 1 snack if her children need moreshe needs to provide it. Also tell her the kids say they have not been feed. Most kindergarten provides a breakfast option and snack.They will eat as much as you give.Only offer healthy snacks and if they are truly being being mistreated you need to get family services involved.
A.P. answers from Chicago on March 13, 2008
I have a 7 year old daughter who is in 1 st grade.. She refuses to eat breakfast in the morning. I have tried to insill :good eating habits" in my children but I am not about to force feed her breakfast.Some children just dont like breakfast. I think you should talk to the parents and see if maybe this could be the problem..I think that the people that say you should call dcfs on them are rude because they dont know why they are not eating, every child is different..
S.M. answers from Chicago on March 11, 2008
Oh man, that's sad. Seems like the parents need parenting classes. 1st of all, I looked into providing chilcare from my home last summer and would have offered breakfast, lunch and snacks. I think you are offering more than enough by feeding them lunch when they get there, snacks and dinner. How late are they picked up that they need dinner too? Don't the parents care about eating together at all as a family? I don't think you can do much to change the parents. I might just suggest that they try to sign them up for a breakfast program at their school if one exists. My almost 4 year old refuses to eat breakfast, so when we go out for morning activities, I have her drink milk before we leave, at least and then bring along some fruit and either go out for an early lunch or come home and have lunch right away. Kids will tell you when they are hungry and should be fed within reason when they are hungry. Sounds like they are being malnurished at home if they are so starving all of the time. Maybe you could, depending on a contract you might have entered, either raise the ammount that you are charging and just feed them bigger meals and bigger snacks and that way, you don't have to feed them every 20 minutes, so they are not corrupting your children's eating habits, and also, you will be reimbursed for the extra food expenditure. Either that or require them to bring extra food along with and have them eat their extra healthy snacks in the kitchen and try to occupy your other children in a different room while they eat. Hope this helps. Also, it bugs me to hear that a parent just keeps their kids home for no good reason. What is this teaching the kids? Not good work ethics, that's for sure. I took my kids who are not school aged yet to the mall a few months ago and there was a mother there with her two kids and they were sitting and eating lunch at McDonalds. She was talking to them, almost as if she were broadcasting to everyone there because whe was bragging or felt guilty. Anyways, she was talking about how much fun they were having on their day off from school, "just because". It made me so mad. There are soooo many teachers' inservice days, the weekend and hollidays where the kids don't have to go to school.
J.S. answers from Chicago on March 11, 2008
I would talk to the parents about increasing your fees because the children are eating you out of house and home or I would give them two-weeks' notice. Do you really think it's going to get better? Do you think that criticising their lack of parenting is going to go over well and that they haven't heard it from someone else before?
I know you're trying to do the right thing here and have the kids' best interests at heart, but it is a fine line between being helpful and poking your nose where it doesn't belong.
J.R. answers from Chicago on March 12, 2008
that scenario just makes me sick... there are so many things wrong with it, I jsut dont know where to begin.
If i were you... and I'm not, but I can empathize with your big heart, I would call DCFS and tell them of your concerns... this sounds like a real case of neglect... no, the kids aren't sitting in their own feces for days, or being beaten, but I dont know anybody who wouldn't consider this neglect. Get the authorities involved... you just can't sit back and do nothing so as not to offend the parents.
That's my 2 cents...
Good luck and keep the kids in your prayers.