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12 Things Daycare Providers Wish Parents Knew

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I am a home daycare provider and I have amazing clients. They are wonderful parents who love their kids to pieces. They spend extra time with them, they miss them when they’re at work, and they show appreciation for what I do. They pay for stats and don’t complain about my vacation time. They bring me gift cards and thank you cards and flowers and Mother’s Day gifts and Christmas gifts. They back me up when I need to discipline their children, and they respect my home, my time, my children, my property and my business. They’re awesome!

In the past however, I’ve had some parents who don’t always get it. And I’ve heard crazy stories from lots of other daycare providers about just how clueless parents can be. But here’s the thing: if I was a parent taking my child to daycare everyday, I might not understand the provider’s side of things either.

So, in the interests of everyone involved, I thought I’d do a litte PSA, just so parents can understand where home daycare providers are coming from.

12 Things Daycare Providers Wish Parents Knew

#12 – If you are at a good Home Daycare, your spot is likely in high demand. Do everything you can to follow the Provider’s policies, because there is a good chance she can replace you very quickly.

#11If your child starts daycare before the age of 2, he or she will call your Provider “Mommy”. As much as she reminds them of her name, they will still default to the name “Mommy”.

#10There is a direct relationship between how many hours a child spends in daycare and their behaviour. In general, the fewer hours a child spends in the care of someone other than Mommy or Daddy, the better behaved they are. Which means that just because your Home Daycare is open 12 hours a day, doesn’t mean you should leave your child there 12 hours a day (which is 60 hours a week!). Children benefit from spending the most waking hours possible at home with parents.

#9 – Most Home Daycare Providers can’t imagine taking time off without spending at least some of that time with their own kids. So it blows their minds when parents take a week off of work and still bring their children to daycare the same hours as every other week. You’d be surprised how excited your child gets when you show up early — they love it! And children even as young as 18 months will brag to the others about how their Mommy or Daddy is picking up first. So if you have the day off, why not spend a little of it with Junior and show up an hour or two early.

#8Kids do not have more fun at daycare than they would at home with their own toys and with their own Mommy and Daddy. As much as they enjoy playing with their friends, doing crafts and circle time, and going for walks, most kids would MUCH rather spend a day playing at home with their own toys, reading books with Mommy and wrestling with Daddy.

#7Sick kids need to be at home. When you get sick, I’m sure the first thing on your mind is getting home to your own bed. When your child gets sick at daycare, they would much rather be picked up as soon as possible, rather than have to continue to go through the daycare routine (which may involve a bus run, playing outside, meal & snack times, etc). Your daycare provider does have other children in her care, and quite often can’t sit with just one child without adequately supervising the others.

#6If your child throws up on your Home Daycare Provider, there is a very good chance she will not be able to change until closing, because there is simply no one else to watch the kids while she does. Please, please keep that in mind when your child does throws up at daycare. An “I’m so sorry this happened” goes a LONG way!

#5Daycare Providers are in it for the money. Yes, Home Daycare Providers do this job because they love children. But would you do your job if you couldn’t pay the bills with it? And Home Daycare Providers are not “raking it in”. Yes, I’ve seen parents do the mental math when they think about what they’re paying and multiply it by the number of kids in my care. Yes, we do make that amount, but then we deduct taxes (about 15), daycare groceries and cleaning supplies (about 14), extra insurance and utilities (about 10), and any new toys, furniture, or outdoor equipment or repairs to our homes caused by running the daycare (5 – 20%). If you really do the math, you’ll see that we’re making much less than minimum wage.

#4You are paying for a daycare spot, in addition to the actual care your child receives. So if your child visits with Auntie Sue for the week and doesn’t come to daycare, you still need to pay for the week. Home Daycare Providers need to be able to depend on a steady income. If they can’t, they will either find a family that comes more regularly, or close the daycare because they need a job that pays the bills.

#3When you “forget” to pay your Daycare Provider, she quite often will not be able to pay her own bills. Her bills include food for your child, heat for your child, water for your child, electricity for your child, insurance for your child… well, you get the idea. She will need to remind you to pay (have you ever had to beg, nag and plead for YOUR paycheque?) and that won’t be a enjoyable job for anyone.

#2Your Daycare Provider loves your child, but she loves her own more. So, if your daycare is open from 6:30 to 4:30, respect that. Don’t show up at 6:25 to drop your child off and then leave them in care til 4:45. Your daycare provider has a life, and wants to spend it with her own children, not yours. Sure, she may be up at 5:30, shovelling the driveway so that you can get in, or getting breakfast set up, or showering, or having some quiet time before the day starts. But please respect that that is her personal time — not time for you to use as you please.

#1If your daycare provider closes because she is sick, she does NOT want to watch your kids! Yes, I’ve been asked.

The most important thing that your Home Daycare Provider wants you to know is this: She would LOVE to hear how much you appreciate how hard she works! She takes care of the most important thing in your life, she does it without breaks or meal times, and quite often she needs to run to the bathroom at close because she hasn’t had a chance to pee during the day. She gets “I love you’s”, hugs and kisses from the kids, but when you say “Thank you” at the end of a crazy day, it makes it all worth while!

Megan Elford is a SAHM who enjoys dabbling in her not-quite-lucrative-enough-to-be-a-real-business printing start-up, stalking her 3 children at school under the guise of ‘volunteering,’ and taking on DIY projects that exceed her skill set. She maintains a blog at and loves to write about her experiences with running her own home daycare, the crazy genius things her kids teach her, and all of the many steps that she and her husband are taking to prepare themselves for adding to their family through domestic adoption. You can find her lurking on Facebook.

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