What Parents Wish Childcare Providers Knew…
Parents and providers can work together to build a great relationship that supports children and builds a great foundation for their future. I have been talking to parents to see what they would say to their providers past or present if they could. To be a great provider, you need empathy. Leaving your kids with someone else is not easy. If you are a childcare provider, please realize parents have feelings.
What parents wish childcare providers knew
Do you love my child?
The most important thing parents wish providers knew is they need you to really love their kids. Parents tell me this all the time. They choose me because they can tell I really genuinely care about their children. Parents contact me after the kids go onto school and say they wish someone in the schools cared about my kids the way I did.
How can a provider show they care? What about sending pictures showing the kids doing something that makes them happy? This doesn’t have to be an all the time thing, but now and then send a photo to brighten dad’s day. You could send a short text to say something the child is achieving or excelling at or just that you love them.
Communicate with parents each day at drop off and pick up time. Saying good morning is not that hard. If you’re not a morning person, be prepared at pick up time with some good news and a smile. A few words go a LONG way. The most frustrating relationships are the ones where there is no communication.
My child means the world to me!
Parents wish providers knew how much their kids mean to them. They are not dropping off their old junky stuff for you to care for all day, they are dropping of their heart and soul, the center of their universe, the thing they love more than anything in the world. This child means EVERYTHING to them and providers need to understand what an honor it is to be trusted to care for them. Cherish it, appreciate it, and do your best because of it.
Parenting is hard!
Parents wish providers knew being a parents is the toughest job in the world. I have noticed most mothers feel like a total failure. I know I have since the moment my daughter was born. I have never felt adequate at any part of motherhood.
If you have suggestions or comments that might help them, share them in an encouraging way. Moms don’t need belittling or to be treated like they are stupid. They already FEEL stupid. Help them gain confidence to be a better mom by rooting them on.
Parents are trying!
Parents wish providers knew they are doing their best. No one is perfect, not everyone was raised by two perfect parents, and not everyone had a great mother to learn from. Parents are raising their kids the best way they know how. No one is saying, I think I’m going to screw this kid up as best as I can and stink as a parent.
Everyone is from different cultures and backgrounds and we don’t all think the same way. Just because you put a big bow in your daughter’s hair every day doesn’t mean another parent thinks that is important. If you see a parent struggling or a child’s needs not being met, offer suggestions in a kind and uplifting way, not a judgmental look down your nosey kind of way.
You’ll be surprised it can actually give them the confidence to be better parents. And make sure when you see someone doing a good job as a parent, SAY SOMETHING! Everyone likes to hear what they are doing right.
Parents feel guilty!
Parents wish providers knew being a working parent is tough, especially a mom. They know providers spend more waking hours with their kids than they get to. All they get is a few hours in the evening and the weekends. They miss their kids. So what can providers do to help them cope?
- Don’t judge. If you think moms should not work, then you shouldn’t be a child care provider. Moms work for many different reasons and it’s not your job to judge them, it’s your job to support them.
- Tell stories about the kids or take pictures to share with parents showing things kids are doing throughout the day.
- Celebrate with your parents when they get to be part of a milestone.
It’s my child!
Parents wish providers knew that they are the parent and not you. If you want to feed the kids a bowl full of candy, paint their nails, or give them medicine, ASK! It’s not your right to do whatever you want to with someone else’s child.
All of us have had parents talk down to us and treat us like we’re not intelligent business owners and we don’t like it! There is no reason to treat parents with disrespect. Treat others like you want to be treated.
Kids need healthy food!
Parents wish providers knew their kid’s nutrition is important. Growing bodies need better nutrition than even our adult body’s do. They need nutrients for building blocks for a strong body and mind. Many parents wish providers would feed their kids quality healthy foods instead of pop tarts and hot pockets because they are easier.
Making small changes in your menu such as a bowl of oatmeal instead of a donut is not that difficult. I know making all your bread homemade or growing all your produce is a lot to ask, but cutting up some chicken and making chicken strips instead of buying frozen chicken blobs is not hard. You can do it on Saturday, make enough for two months and freeze your own chicken blobs free of harmful chemicals.
Or how about just going to the farmer’s market once a month to get produce instead of serving canned peaches? It’s amazing how much it changes things when you serve the kids quality meals. Many of those additives in processed foods not only cause illnesses, but they also cause behavior disorders.
Now that bowl of chemical free oatmeal looks a lot less time consuming if little Johnny doesn’t try to karate chop everyone else’s head off after he eats it like he does after he has pop tarts.
Homemade food is a whole lot cheaper than processed food, so it benefits you that way as well. You’d be surprised how much better you’ll feel when you eat healthy also.
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Clean up the daycare space.
Parents wish providers knew a dirty house does not make a good impression. Take a look at your entry area. This should be tidied up every night before you go to bed. It’s the first thing people see when they walk in. Go outside and walk in and look at it really closely. Is there a lot of clutter in your greeting area? Is there stuff all over the carpet? Does it look clean and neat?
If I walked into a provider’s home to check it out and I saw dirty floors, I would wonder if they would take good care of my child or not. What does it smell like? Does it smell like harsh cleaners? Or homey and inviting like what you’re making for breakfast? Or does it smell overwhelmingly perfumey? When I smell harsh scents, not only does it bother my allergies, but I think it’s dirty and they are trying to cover it up instead of cleaning.
Try to keep the kids from getting hurt.
Parents wish providers knew they don’t want their kids to constantly be getting hurt by other kids at childcare. If you have a problem child that hurts other kids, make sure you are doing your best to get control of that behavior and stop it. I know how tough it is, especially with issues like biting and hitting, but no one wants their child coming home with bite marks or bruises from another child repeatedly.
Parents want quality childcare.
Parents wish providers knew they want and deserve a quality provider that is well trained and educated. This is not a job where you just sit on the couch and people hand you money every week, like some people think. This is a job that requires heart and soul and effort.
If you are taking training to be a better provider, PLEASE share that with your parents. Tell them what you are reading or learning about. CPR and First Aid SHOULD be required for all providers. In Oklahoma it is.
Parents don’t know you if you don’t tell them. They want a provider who goes above and beyond that minimum requirement. Parents want a provider who wants to learn and improve. If you go to a conference all day on a Saturday, TELL YOUR PARENTS ABOUT IT!
They don’t know unless you talk about it. And it’s comforting to them to know you care about what you are doing and you are trained if a situation arises that you need skills to save their child.
Parents have to follow their instinct when choosing a provider. Your mommy vibe is a gift from God to help you be able to protect and best care for your child. So parents, when looking for a provider, please follow what your gut tells you. It’s always right!
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