We know parents work hard and are juggling a hectic life. We understand when things happen out of your control. I want the best for my families, I pray for you, I love your children madly and I care deeply about you.
The number one thing we wish parents knew is I have chosen this as my life’s work because I think it’s the most important job in the world. I had a parent one time who was talking to me about a friend of mine and I told her my friend had a teaching degree and she said why in the world is she doing childcare? That spoke volumes to me about how she felt about the profession. It’s not a default job for misfits of society who can’t hold down a real job or aren’t smart enough to work for more money. It’s a grueling, difficult job with long hours and little monetary reward, but we do it because we KNOW it matters. I feel every child deserves a GREAT place to learn and grow, and I know if we work hard enough, we can provide that place. We are changing the future through children.
Professional business. This is a business and we run it as professionally as we can, but in order to do THIS business we have to be giving and nurturing people. Please do not take advantage of our kindness and giving nature just because you can. Child care is a business–not a babysitting service; please don’t refer to us as babysitters. We are professional child care providers. In order to provide high-quality care, it is reasonable to expect that we will have established rules, hours and pay rates. Parents should be appreciative that we take time to create a handbook, contract, and other details that help to foster communications and understanding.
The Law: We wish parents knew we are required by law in Texas to know where your children are if they are scheduled to be here. I know it’s annoying if you forgot to tell me the kids aren’t coming because you have the day off, and I call to wake you up when you were planning to sleep in. But DFPS regulations state if a child is 30 minutes late, we are required to find out where they are. So many children are forgotten in hot cars that providers now have to make sure that’s not your child. It’s very frustrating to prepare breakfast for a child who is not coming and have to throw it away. Please remember to take the time to let us know and save everyone a little frustration.
Money: I wish parents understood that they are paying for a ‘slot’ or ‘enrollment’ space at Almost Mom. A year-round space that is held for you unless you or I terminate the arrangement. Many parents seem to act like they are paying for each individual day and sometimes each individual minute. But would you do your job if you couldn’t pay the bills with it? In-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%), not to mention paying high quality staff. If you really do the math, you’ll see that we’re making much less than minimum wage. This still does not touch on our precious time that we spend planning and putting everything together because we love your children and want the best for them. I wish parents realized that although we love your children, what we do is a profession and they should treat us with the same respect they would anyone else that provides them with a service; by paying us in a timely fashion, respecting our policies and procedures and just showing some common courtesy and respect.
We wish parents knew doing everything for kids is not good for them. Learning to put on their own coat or shoes is an important part of development for a child and a great way to build self-esteem. Children are in training for life here. When you stop and think, do you really want to send your child to school someday not being able to button their coat or put on their shoe or carry their tray in the cafeteria? The teachers at school cannot do everything for 25 kids. Yes, it would be easier for me to take everyone’s plate for them because it wouldn’t be as messy and I sure could do it FASTER, but I want them to develop the skills they need to be successful at school. They will have to carry their tray and if they don’t practice until they get there, they will drop it…a lot! So I let them drop it here, where we can fix it together and they can learn in a safe place without teasing. Yes, it would be so much easier to not scrape all that spaghetti off my floor, but the easy way is not always the best. And they learn it faster when parents support their learning at home too. We baby our kids because they are our baby, but you’re not doing them any favors. Life is not fair, it’s not easy, and it’s not all about one child. Don’t set them up for failure by teaching them it is and sending them out into this world. Let’s do our best to send them out with the skills they need to be successful and feel equipped and confident!
Accidents happen: It’s Rule 101 of the Kid Book. Sometimes when a child gets scratched, bumps a knee, or even, regretfully, bitten, however, we are doing our best to prevent them. We do our very best to keep kid play safe and positive and to have all children be best of friends, but falls and scrapes do happen. Just like they do at YOUR house.
We wish parents knew we have good days and bad days just like any other job. Please remember we are not perfect and your child is not perfect. We know everyone’s lives are busy and we all work hard and sometimes are tired and a little off on some days. It’s okay that’s life and thank goodness we can try again tomorrow.
Spending quality time together: As much as they enjoy playing with their friends, doing crafts, circle time, and playing outside, most kids would MUCH rather spend a day playing at home with their own toys, reading books with Mommy and wrestling with Daddy. Most daycare providers can’t imagine taking time off without spending at least some of that time with their own children. 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 your precious child.
Sick children: Please know germs come from everywhere and we do our best to clean and disinfect every day. The facts are children WILL be exposed to illness and to help us at daycare when you think your child is sick please keep them at home so your child can come back and participate healthy with all our activities. Some parents automatically assume their child’s illness is because of daycare. The best habit to remember is to wash your hands often to ward of illness.
Projects: I wish parents knew how hard your little ones have worked on that project, coloring page, or gift for you. It means so much to them to make these things for you. Please take them home and proudly display them. Do not throw them on the floor of the car, in the trash can, or leave them at Almost Mom. It takes only a minute to tell them how much you like their work and to hang it on the fridge. You will be glad you took the time to do it!
Your Child Tells Us Everything If you’ve ever had a private conversation at the dinner table, grateful that your child quietly eats her peas and carrots as you discuss a potential move, job change or big-ticket purchase with your spouse, know this: If your child is old enough to speak, your daycare’s going to hear about it, too. The truth is, your child is really, really good at parroting your conversations. So we already know about the ski vacation you’re planning or your big news about a new baby. So what goes on in your house does come to ours (so if you behave badly, have a loud house, cursing, etc. we will eventually see and hear it).
The most important thing that we would like you to know is this: We LOVE to hear how much you appreciate how hard we work! We take care of the most important thing in your life, we do it without breaks or meal times, and quite often we need to run to the bathroom at close because we haven’t had a chance to potty during the day. We get “I love you’s”, hugs and kisses from your child, but when you say “Thank you” at the end of a crazy day, it makes it all worthwhile! I have a parent who occasionally brings me the coffee I like and one randomly gives me something here and there that reminds her of me. It makes my heart feel good. It just takes a minute to write a card of appreciation for someone’s hard work or even shoot them a text or message on Facebook. That is totally free. Provider Appreciation Day is the Friday before Mother’s Day in May. If you’re into those types of holidays, you could do something to celebrate that. Remember and tell us happy birthday, give us a hug now and then, or any other ideas you have that would make you feel good if someone did them for you. Everyone likes to hear they are doing a good job. And studies show people who feel appreciated work much harder to do a good job. Like I said, we have GREAT parents and I know that they appreciate us because they show it. It’s worth so much.