Many times people ask me, what’s a day like for you? A day in the life of an in-home daycare provider may look different than you think. 

8 Things NOT to Say to your Childcare Provider

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There are a few things it’s better not to say to your childcare provider if you want a good relationship with her. Providers work hard and want appreciation. And they give you respect, so they want it in return as well.

kids painting outside and an upset childcare provider

People say some amazing things sometimes. I LOVE LOVE LOVE my job as a childcare provider and I love my daycare families.

I asked my childcare provider friends what kinds of things they have heard that bother them and they came up with a list of pretty insulting things people say about providers. So today we are going to bust the myths of what people think about childcare.

upset childcare provider

Things your daycare provider may not tell you

The number one thing providers told me is I HATE BEING CALLED A BABYSITTER! We do NOT sit on babies, EVER! We do not get paid $10 per hour per child to eat your food and sit on your couch and watch TV and keep an eye on your child. Actually, that sounds much easier, and $100 for a ten-hour day sounds pretty cool.

If you schedule a tour, show up! Providers dislike when you call and ask for an interview and then don’t show up! Dude, if you asked to interview, guess what? WE PREPARED! We have printed up paperwork, changed into clean clothes so we don’t have to talk to you with boogers on our clothes, and rearranged our schedules so we can talk with you.

If you changed your mind, that’s perfectly fine, but call and let us know, PLEASE! Don’t avoid our calls and messages. 

This hasn’t happened to me in a long time, but it’s a pet peeve of mine. You say, oh I’m going to pick up little Johnny early….and then…. you don’t. Little Johnny thinks you are coming and he is cranky and sad that you’re not there yet.

It breaks my heart to watch that. If you plan to pick up early and then you can’t, please send me a text so I can stop watching out the window every two seconds for you to come.

If you ask your childcare to open early for you, show up! Here’s another one I really dislike that hasn’t happened in years, but it’s soooo rude. You say, can I bring little Suzie at 6 am to be to an important work thingy. Then I get up early just only for you, and you don’t show up until regular time or later.

Everyone likes to sleep as long as they can in the mornings and we are the same way. If you are supposed to drop off at 6 for a special situation we have agreed to and you find out your plans have changed, I would rather hear from you at 5:30 when I’m getting ready for you to get here than not. 

Get a real job. Why don’t you get a real job? This is something my provider friends hear all the time, or it must be nice not to have to work, or I’d love to get to play all day. If you don’t think this is real work, you should try it just for one day.

At home, you have only one or two children and it can get overwhelming sometimes, think about how it is with 7. Sometimes we don’t even have time to go to the bathroom. 

Another one providers HATE is hearing childcare is so expensive or you make so much money. We could revisit the $100 for a ten-hour day plan from above. It’s super expensive to DO childcare.

I spent over $7,000 on food last year alone. Even though I bring in money, most of it is spent on my sweet little angels to meet all of their needs. I would gladly take any free toilet paper, tissues, or paper towels because I go through tons of money buying that stuff. 

When something terrible happens on the news to a child in childcare, making comments like, childcare is awful, is hurtful. Like, that wasn’t us, or we wouldn’t be in business.

Realize those of us who are still caring for kids do it because we want to give the best of ourselves. We are putting our hearts and souls into your sweet baby’s life and doing our very best to give them the best of us.

We hear this one constantly, home childcare is not as good as center care. Even our center working friends say this. Actually, the government says it too because they pay centers more for subsidy care.

First of all, I have never had a parent say this to me, because fortunately, most of my clients have realized the quality they are getting from me and that I do put my heart into what I do.

It’s amazing to me that herding a bunch of the same age kids into a classroom with a teacher is seen as better than multi-age settings where children are around kids younger than them and older than them. God created families with multi-age settings, and God knows A LOT! He’s smart and He knows that is good for kids.

kids playing outside at daycare

Children learn many skills and self-confidence from watching older kids and mimicking their behaviors. Not everything they learn from older kids is great, but most of it is amazing.

They see big kids and learn so much from that experience. They have more advanced language skills, motor skills, and critical thinking skills when they are involved with older children in a play setting.

There is value in family childcare

Children learn many skills from younger kids as well. They learn how to be a nurturer (father, mother, or caretaker someday). Also, they learn how to be careful and watchful and protect a younger child. They learn patience and taking turns because babies’ needs always come first. There is so much value in family childcare.

Click here to read more about the Value of Family Childcare. Click here to read more about the benefits of multi-age settings for kids. 

In addition to the benefits of multi-age settings, childcare centers offer a less homey, comforting environment for children. They care for more children which increases children’s exposure to illnesses.

Centers have a higher turnover rate and less continuity of care with one caregiver the child can bond with, and the list goes on and on. All that to say, that family childcare is very very valuable for children’s development.

What TO say to your childcare provider

There are many things it’s not okay to say to your childcare provider, but there are even more things you should be saying. You can tell your provider you appreciate their efforts and comment when you notice they are doing a good job or going above and beyond for your child.

You can say Happy Birthday, Merry Christmas, or have a good day to your provider and realize they are a person and it’s nice to make them feel good. You can tell them things you see your child learning that you know they learned from childcare and let them know you are pleased.

There are so many things you can say to encourage your provider to be her best. I think so much more of what I am doing because I’ve always had good parents that appreciated and encouraged me. I give my best, and they see that and let me know.

Think about how nice it is when your boss, client, or co-worker notices you are doing a good job and comments on it or encourages you. It’s great to do that for your provider too. If you think they have an easy job or get paid too much, try it out for yourself. I bet your opinion of it will be a lot different with a little experience.

Questions to ask childcare provider

If you need help knowing what to say to your childcare provider or how to start a conversation with your daycare staff, click on the highlighted link for suggestions. There is a right way and a wrong way to approach any situation and your provider deserves kindness and trust as she’s doing her best for your family. If you’re having problems with the care she’s providing, she wants to know and she wants to work with you. \

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  1. When you close for vacation its a big inconvenience for them. I had a parent go out of town with a friend of hers and she had someone else drop her children off at the daycare way early then her schedule time . She’s been enrolled with me for four yrs and know I close every yr at the same time.

    1. It is inconvenient and there will always be a complainer, but a burned out provider is far worse. Sometimes we just have to do what’s right in spite of what a parent or two will say. 🙂 Hang in there.

  2. My pet peeve is when a parent shows up and sits in the driveway on their phone. Little Suzie looking out the window for twenty minutes saying over and over, “My Mommy’s here, can I go outside? DebO, you see my mommy? DebO my Mommy’s here!”
    And they get here at @ 5:10 and sit In the car until 5:29! Ugh!
    Another one, bringing Suzie with food in her hand! ugh!

  3. I think this was a great reminder for parents. I am a parent to three precious children. My heart was BROKEN when I had to put my baby in childcare and I had until he was 7 months old to do so. I could not have done it, if I had not found the awesome child care provider that I did. I wish, I sincerely wish that child care providers made what they truly deserved. I can not imagine a more important job than taking care of our babies. Thank you for what you do.

  4. Oh My! This is so me everyday! The tardiness, the “Babysitter”, the money! All of it…I wish people would realize how much stress and everything these things cause…I really think it is starting to give me burn out.

    1. Hi Bre,
      I can definitely relate to your feelings, thank you for sharing them with me. Hopefully you can stay focused on knowing the value of what you are doing with the kids and not worry too much about people’s negative comments. We need to share the information to people can be educated as to how it feels to be the provider that is being disrespected, but more importantly, we need to keep up the good work! Hang in there, because your kids need you. 🙂

  5. Man people have foot in mouth disease lol. This is a good reminder that you are caring for their most precious cargo.

  6. Great things to ponder. I was lucky enough to be able to stay home with my kids. I homeschooled for years and it’s amazing to hear what some people will actually say that is hurtful without realizing it.

    1. Yes it is. Whatever people chose, someone always seems to be criticizing them. Booo! We’re here to lift each other up!

  7. if only all parents could read this! I remember struggling with a few of those statements myself when working as a camp counselor (not the “you make so much money” one, of course haha)

    1. I am trying to share it so many people will understand. Thanks so much for checking it out, and the make so much money gig, well, not so much. 🙂

  8. We had our kids in a variety of settings for child care and we loved our home daycare provider. She was so loving and awesome – just as I’m sure you are!

    1. Thank you Angela, there is such a stigma that centers are better, but there is so much value in the home setting. Thank you for reading! 🙂

  9. I’ve been a childcare provider for over 20 years. My least favorite thing for parents to say is, “She had a fever and was throwing up all night, but today it’s just the (hacking) cough and (constantly) running nose, so she’s fine to be at daycare.” Another thing I don’t like to hear is, “he has a tiny sniffle so even though it’s sunny & 75 degrees outside (and the other children and I desperately need fresh air & sunshine) please keep him indoors today.” ?

    1. Yes, i have heard those before as well and it’s frustrating for sure! Many time I just think people don’t think about what they are asking. 🙂 Thanks for reading.

    2. I run my daycare just like any public school. Your child has to be fever, vomiting, and diarrhea free for 24 hours before they can return. If they seek doctors care for a contagious illness they must bring a doctors note saying it’s ok to return. I don’t mind sniffles due to allergies but if it develops into yellow discharge or a hacking cough, I’ll text or call the parents to pick up their child. Lastly, I don’t mind a child resting if they’re not feeling their best but I wouldn’t change our schedule to accommodate one child.
      You hit the nail on the head with these comments. I spend way more than I make!

  10. I’ve been really lucky with the families I work with. I’m told that appreciate all I do and even get hugs from the moms and lots of thank yous. I think the worst I’ve had in the past is a lack of communication – telling me one thing and then doing something else. Or the mom who told me that they can’t afford to pay for their oldest SA child but then turn around and hire a nanny for 3 times what I charge & that was after telling me they will need me all summer long. I actually met that nanny and couldn’t believe what she was making!! Oh well, I’m blessed w the families I have now!!!