Uneasy with Daycare choice...what Would You Do?

Updated on June 06, 2011
A.R. asks from Cleveland, MO
22 answers

My 8-year old is out of school for the summer and I've had a heck of a time finding daycare for her that's affordable and within a reasonable distance. I had to settle on a less-than-perfect provider who is quite a bit out of my way and until I can find something better, I'm kind of stuck with her. My main complaints are that she feeds the kids junk that never makes it into my house and that I don't ever feed my kids, (like kool-aid, oreos, etc.), the tv is on all day every day non-stop and when I picked my kid up on Friday she and the other two older kids (7 & 8 yrs old) were watching Van Helsing, which I felt was highly inappropriate for kids to be watching! There are other smaller complaints, but I would be willing to let those slide if the food, tv and movies were better administered.

Is there a graceful way to ask that she not do those things? Am I just being an over-protective mom? How and where can I find a decent daycare provider in south KC other than craigslist that isn't $150/wk or is that just out of the question? Thanks!

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answers from Allentown on

Do you qualify for any sort of child care assistance? I assume you're talking about a full-time basis?

It costs me more than $150/wk to have one of my dogs taken care of. (Granted, that includes overnight, but still, they're dogs.)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

Do you have a Boys and Girls Club nearby? Here they charge $60.00 per week have lots of activities and provide lunch.

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answers from Anchorage on

$150 a week is dirt cheep. I am afraid to say that you get what you pay for sometimes. There is no way she could afford to feed the kids really good meals and charge that, she would end up paying out of pocket to watch and feed the kids. If you do not like the food, ask if you can bring in your own for your child (although some places do not allow this due to possible allergies or jealously in the other kids), and there is no reason you can not ask that she avoid certain types of movies. I am sure the tv is on all day as back ground and for the kids that want to watch on and off, I doubt the kids are actually watching it all day, but if your child is simply ask the day care provider to be sure your child is not and that she gets up to do something more active.

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answers from Charlotte on


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answers from Washington DC on

wow!! only a $150 a week?!?!?!

Day care here for children - after school care - is $199 A WEEK....

I agree that Van Helsing is NOT a movie for 7 year old's....I would ask that she respect your wishes and not show inappropriate movies while the kids are there...

I would look into other places like the YMCA or a church that offers a school and/or day care...

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answers from St. Louis on

You could probably just tell her that you would appreciate it if your son was not given those foods or allowed to watch those movies. As far as finding a cheaper care provider, I doubt it. Not if you want a good one. I have GREAT childcare that is licensed and has lots of positive interaction. I have never been able to find a place that I'm comfortable with for less then 150/week. I was paying 200/week when my son was having to do overnight care. There is a reason why they are sooooo affordable a lot of times . . . .

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answers from Hartford on

Is it possible to see if there is a day camp in your area? Usually you provide lunch ans snacks and they are outside running around most of the day. Check with your town Park and Rec department as those often the least expensive.

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answers from Seattle on

Wow, just wow. I would be more than a little uneasy about a "daycare provider" that let the kids watch TV and eat junk food all day. Wow, that she even charges ANY money, since she is clearly NOT doing any work to actual take care of the kids.

The problem is that you get what you pay for, less than $150 a week, if we are talking a 40 hour work week, means that you are paying less than $3.75 an hour. I don't know about you, but I surely would not be too motivated at any job that pays that little.

I would check into Boys and Girls club, YMCA and your local parks and rec department - here they all offer summer camps/daycare. Also try to check with other moms in your child's class. One or another mom may be willing to host your child for the summer if they are staying home with theirs (for a small fee that covers their expenses).

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I really do empathize, and can see your concerns. However, because it sounds as if she provides daycare in her home it will be an extremely touchy situation to bring your displeasure to her attention. I don't know if your provider is licensed, (she'd be more aware of how to feed the children and appropriate activities for them) how many children she cares for, (she may be overwhelmed and is trying to simplify her job) or her financial situation (she may feel it's cheaper to buy cookies, kool-aid, etc., than fruits, veggies and fruit juices.) Also, people sometimes find it easier to give kids cookies and soft drinks to avoid finicky eating, kids SO love junk :-/ Or, they simply don't know or practice the best nutrition. She may be providing a service the best way she knows how.

I'd approach her in a friendly way, "I really appreciate your watching my daughter while I work! I should have let you know, though, before she started coming here that she doesn't drink kool-aid and eat cookies at home, watch a lot of TV or any R-rated movies. I can send her lunch and snacks from home, and would appreciate it if she doesn't watch more than an hour (or whatever limit you'd like) of TV a day, and does something other than watching R-rated movies when they're on. I have some DVD's she likes at home I'd be happy to bring for all the kids to watch." Then send some DVD's, along with books, jump ropes or something your daughter can play with during "Mature" viewing time, etc. She may inspire the other kids to step away from the TV ; )

As far as daycare options, have you looked into the Boys & Girls Club in your area? Two of my grandchildren (a girl and a boy) have gone there for years in the summer and love it, they started going when he was 9 and she was 6. The B&G Club's offer great activities for the children to choose from, provide lunch and snacks, and offer a positive, encouraging environment for children. The cost is affordable as well. I did an online search for your area and here's the link:

I wish you the best!

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answers from Boston on

You have to confront it. If she isn't charging that much, then she doesn't have a lot of money for healthy snacks. You can send your own with your child, but that doesn't stop the other kids from eating junk in front of your daughter. You could let her borrow some appropriate DVDs or suggest she get them for free from the local library. You can also get a list of activities that she does on a schedule - like school - and see if there is anything structured or if it's all just TV time and the kids make the decisions. Board games can be bought at yard sales, and they teach strategy, taking turns, and sometimes math skills (dealing with money, etc.). Is there a yard where they have some outdoor recreation??

You may make an enemy of her if you challenge everything but I think it's fine to figure out where your money is going. If she is just a sitter making sure they are still alive at the end of the day, that's one thing. If this is structured daycare and she is licensed by the state, then that is another thing. But you're going to pay more for better quality.

Is there a roster of other parents? Can you call them and see if any of them have the same issues? Does the provider HAVE other things than a TV and just isn't using them, or does she lack decent supplies. Maybe together you can help provide the types of activities (games, books etc.) at a very low cost by going to used book sales, garage sales, etc. Warehouse stores (BJ's, Sam's Club, etc.) often have good deals on easel pads, markers, etc. I know you don't want to spend more money but....



answers from San Francisco on

Have you thought about doing a swap with another parent? See if they can take your child a few days and you take their child a few days? Or talk to the daycare person and just tell them that your child is easily effected by movies and has nightmares or whatever you want to tell her and you would appreciate that when your child is there, they have appropriate movies on if they watch anything. Also, if you want your kid to have healthier snacks, you should provide them and tell her that your child is limited to 1 cookie a day or whatever you choose etc. Be more clear with her and hopefully she will comply. If not, keep looking for a better provider. Do you have a ymca daycare or center around??? They usually have affordable childcare....FYI




answers from Miami on

Well my daughter has done YMCA, summer camp with a montessori school and a preschool. Even at 8 they have spaces for them at the pres schools sometimes. What you can do is go to your local park one day during the week and see what camps are there. Then you can see how the campers are treated. Our cities also offer low cost camps. Go to your cities web page


answers from Kansas City on

I would like to add a little for those saying she is so low quality and not paid enough to be higher quality.. Wow, seems like people are being rather ugly and judgmental... First of all, providers make accommodations for children all the time. Just like when we make alternate meals for children with allergies, we do the same for other drinks and snacks. I don't keep soda in the house. But sometimes I order a pizza and get a 2 litre of soda. I have a child that's been in my house almost 5 years. He's not allowed to have soda. I do NOT give him soda and he is used to it and doesn't get upset.

I don't like to give the kids koolaide. But plain juice, no sugar added, and maybe sweetened with pear juice or grape juice etc... It's still sugar even if it is natural. In fact, a person can water down koolaide or juice to make it only flavor water. We sometimes do that for the kids as a treat. But mostly we just do water.

I've seen a great many moms on here say before that they let a lot of things slide like...they feed mac and cheese and they let their kids watch tv and they....heaven forbid.....let the house slide so they can spend more time with the kids. If this mom has special requests then just tell the provider and assume she's not going to have a problem with it.

To begin with... Are you absolutely sure the tv is on all day? Often providers use it first thing in the am and again at the end of the day in order to keep the kids calm while parents are coming and going. Those times of day can be very chaotic with everyone jumping up to see who just arrived or who's going.

I don't know what that show is, but don't feel bad about asking her to not watch that while your kids are around. Just tell her that you want the tv to be limited for your daughter and ask her if she would be willing to provide your daughter with some pace in the kitchen for puzzles, reading, drawing, instead of tv for a good portion of the day. That would open the door for her to tell you what they watch and or how often. Don't worry about offending. We are used to it.

As far as the junk goes...again, we are used to some parents being more or less strict about food. She should not mind you asking her to provide more healthy food and snacks.

It's too bad you couldn't come as far as World's of Fun. My daughter would be giddy to have a child your daughters age for the summer. I don't charge even near that :)


answers from Chicago on

What about a YMCA program ... that is what my sister does during the summer, infact almost all of my neices school is together again in YMCA. They have affoardable programs and would be a good choice.



answers from Denver on

As much as I hate to say it I do know that a lot of families shop the church VBS camps. It seems that most of the VBS camps are dirt cheap, run by caring people, and not in the business of showing movies all day. Some people think nothing of watching TV all day but it does get real old real fast. I am originally from Kansas City but not nearly as familiar with the area anymore. Your other option may be camps at local rec centers. I think you will find that even if you have to stretch your budget just a little it is well worth it. Other idea I have is to check with UMKC or other school with a department of education and see if there is a student in training who would be willing to work for you at your own house then no worries about transport or food. In my experience people who are willing to watch on the cheap at their home are just doing their thing and if they can make a buck having a kid there too than so be it



answers from Los Angeles on

You can send lunch like other moms have said. If your child were in a summer camp you'd probably have to send a lunch daily if the camps in your area are like the ones in mine. Can you ask the provider if you can bring a movie for the kids to watch? Then bring movies you feel are appropriate.

Where to find a decent provider? It is tough. I'd ask around church for someone's teen kid or grandkid to babysit. Can you find at least one other parent w/ kid around 8 yrs and split the cost for care in your home? Perhaps share a summer nanny from a childcare agency with other families to lower the cost of childcare.



answers from Phoenix on

Most likely this provider is so cheap BECAUSE she runs her business this way. Unfortunately, you get what you pay for. You can talk to her, but if she's been conducting her daycare like this since before you used her, then she's probably not going to change it just for you. Either that, or she'll say she'll change the daily routine, but she won't really do it. Is she licensed?

What about school district daycare? Most districts have their own daycare that is cheaper than say, a daycare center. What about the YMCA, church daycare, or something similar? Are you a single mom? That's kind of what it sounds like. You may qualify for state childcare aid, or reduced tuition at certain places. What about summer camps? Around here, they are around $200 a week for all day camp. It might be worth it to check out your options.



answers from Chicago on

I agree with other moms on here. It's your money you shouldn't feel bad about requesting a certain level of care. I would talk to the sitter first though. I used to watch a 2 and 4 year old and they told mom I gave them soda and candy for lunch. We took an approved trip to the bookstore for an event then went out to iHop for free pancake day. The pancakes had chocolate chips, so they said they ate candy and they had these little flavor drops to put in their water that fizzed when they melted, so they called it soda. Mom wasn't mad at me at all but sometimes things get confused in translation with kids.
Have you tried a camp or something through the parks district? I know around here they have camps and then you can pay the Y to pick up your kid and keep them until you can get out of work to pick them up.



answers from Tampa on

I'm not familiar with the area, is it really that hard to find good day care, I am in Florida and there are so many reasonable options, I guess we are lucky. Nothing run by the city, church, etc my son goes to a Martial Arts Camp we love.

I would say if they are your main complaints that other than that she is happy and safe I wouldn't be over concerned. Maybe not ideal but I don't think anything ever is 100% ideal. You could send your own lunch/snacks with her but then she may not like having different things to the others.

I'm sorry I sympathize, nothing is worse than been uncomfortable with somewhere. I hope someone can offer some better advise:-(



answers from Dover on

These are some of the biggest problems that you tend to have w/ home daycares (not all) because they are more apt to allow this sort of thing than a center would be.

Check with your local licensing agency and see if they can point you towards reputable providers in your area.

In the mean time, if you definately can't make other arrangements and choose to leave your children in her care, you need to talk to her about these things (maybe provide your own drinks and snacks if necessary).



answers from Oklahoma City on

No, but if you don't want you kids watching stuff like that then ask her if they can go to a different area when it's on. While the kids were sleeping at my center a bunch of the ladies had particular soaps they liked to watch, I didn't care at all. I had no interest in them but if a parent came in and saw them watching they might have said something to me too and I would have stood up for my teachers, the kids were all asleep before the TV came on and the volume was way down. I could not even hear the dialog when I was in the room. In your case I would just tell her I didn't like them watching that and they should know to not watch it and play something else.

Child care centers all have stuff like you are describing, cookies and koolaid are pretty normal things to have for snacks. Juice and milk are required every day and cost a lot. If your child should not drink koolaid tell him to ask her for water.

If your child is 8 years old they know what you let them do and not do. They have some responsibility to make choices here too. They can say "I don't want to watch this movie, can I play in the puzzle area?" or "Can I read a book for a while?". They can make choices to follow your rules.

At 8 years old you are going to find it harder and harder to find care. Most don't even take kids that old and not at all after they reach 10 years old. I know it's hard but keep looking and maybe check with the local Y about day camp.
Summer care for a school age child in Oklahoma is about $75.00 a week. During the school year it's about $55.00 per week. But it depends on the STAR rating and the area you are looking in.

Most of the child care programs do not allow you to send food. You send food with yours and everyone of the other kids sit there and cry and want to eat what yours is eating, then it's chaos and not fun for anyone. If you don't like what she is serving stop taking your child there. You cannot try and make her change to what you want on every little thing. You don't like her quality and are not happy. Find somewhere else as soon as you can. If you can't find any other place then have make sure your child knows they are not allowed to watch any TV and to ask for water at snack time where juice or milk is not offered. If they are offered she can't give them water until after the meal due to the milk and/or juice being part of the nutrition counted at the meal time.



answers from New York on

Why don't you send in your own snacks, and lunch, and provide appropriate movies and tell her just one movie a day. Ask her if you purchased a sprinkler would she allow water time to get them out into the fresh air. If you provide her with everything then she shouldn't have any excuses for not following your plan. Have you considered having a responsible high school girl come into your home and watch your child. This way it is your house your rules. I am sure you daughter would love to spend her days in her own home. If you contact the local high school I can guarantee you there are tons of high schoolers looking to make extra money. They can provide you with their best choices so you can feel comfortable having them in your home. I own and operate a childcare center and when I am looking for aftercare staff I always rely on the local high school for recommendations and they have never steered me wrong. Good luck!!

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