How to Handle Daycare Issues and Problems
Daycare is a super important part of a working family’s life. There are times when that daycare is not working out for your family. What do you do to handle daycare issues? It can be tough to navigate. I’ve been providing childcare in my home for 23 years, let me help you come up with a plan.
What to do When your Daycare is not Working Out for your Family
There are many issues that can arise in daycare. Some of them can be solved and some just can’t. Are you unhappy with what the provider feeds your child or how they do nap time? Or do you think something going on at daycare is harming your child?
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How to Handle Daycare Issues and problems
Does your child hate going to daycare? This may be a serious problem with the daycare, but your child just may prefer to stay home. If that’s not an option, you’ll need to reassure them and help them deal with wanting to stay home in their pjs.
I can totally relate to this. I hate leaving home. What do your instincts say about the childcare provider or facility? Do you feel like the child is safe and well cared for? Do you get a sense that something is off or there’s something no one is telling you?
Unhappy with daycare
If you are unhappy with something going on at daycare, number one, is it a safety issue or could it be damaging your child’s mental health? If so, run as fast as you can away from there.
If it’s something that can be fixed, share your concerns with your provider. They may be able to help. If they aren’t willing to or don’t have empathy for your situation, then again, it’s time to look elsewhere.
Good childcare is so hard to find. Use these tips to find the perfect fit.
There was a time when a parent called me and said they were uncomfortable with their child being around my husband. Now, I can totally relate to this because I am very leery of men. But my husband lives here and he should not have to feel guilty about having a day off or working an evening shift and being here in the morning time.
I’ve never had anyone else say this about him. My parents love Mr. Kent. I’ve had many parents tell me they didn’t like other provider’s husbands because they were creepy and those same parents love that Mr. Kent is here.
This was a problem with this parent, not my family. I told her that I really could relate, but that he lived here and that wasn’t going to change. She told me that she didn’t want him helping her in the bathroom and I agreed that was fine. He seldom does that for any child anyway.
I promised to make sure he did not help her in the bathroom and I did make sure. I stick to my word and I do my very best to give parents what they want from my services within reason. I was not upset or offended by this request. Everyone wants what’s best for their child. If your childcare provider gets offended when you ask them for something, understand that they are just a person with feelings too.
This could have easily upset me. And to be honest, it was upsetting to Mr. Kent. He has never done anything to make anyone think he would do something inappropriate to a child. And even though they were not accusing him of anything, it was hurtful to him that they didn’t trust him. But he also understood. I regret that it hurt his feelings, but he was okay with them staying.
If he had not been understanding, or if they had not trusted me at my word, I would have had to let that family go. But we worked it out and it continued to be a good relationship. They continued to bring her, her brother after her and have a third child waiting to enroll now.
What if your provider serves kool aid to the kids and you don’t want your child having any red dye or sugar? Can you ask them to please serve your child water? ABSOLUTELY. IT’s okay to ask for things you’d like.
Is it okay to ask your provider to get a urine sample for a medical test or to take your garage sale ad down to the newspaper since you’ll be at work and they are at home? NO FREAKING WAY! That’s ridiculous. Your provider is not your errand girl.
If you think that’s ridiculous, don’t. Those things have actually happened to me.
If your provider finds a tick on your child’s head, are they required to pull it off? NOPE! You might have to come get them and do it or take them to the dr. if you can’t. If your provider finds a tick on your child’s head and they are willing to pull it off, is that okay? Yes. They can help take care of your child to their level of ability, but it’s not okay to suggest they need to do something they are uncomfortable doing.
Some people are scared of ticks and can’t pull one off. You don’t get to expect things from your provider that they can’t do.
How to handle daycare issues
Communication goes a long way in working out issues. When something comes up, if you don’t tell the provider, she probably won’t know.
There are times when the provider will not understand how you feel unless you tell her. She is doing her best. She cares about what she’s doing. If she honestly doesn’t, it’s probably time to move on. I’ve had several times when a parent was upset about something that happened and after we talked it out and understood each other better, it worked out fine.
I can’t know how you feel if you don’t tell me.
When my daughter was in childcare, we didn’t like that the provider fed her fruit loops and chocolate pudding. Was that a deal breaker? No. She was a great provider whose love for our baby was obvious and still is even though she’s 26 now. We had wanted her not to eat any sugar until she was older, but it wasn’t that much and it wasn’t as important as safety, love and everything else she provided.
Try to think about it like that, in the big picture. Some things are not that big of a deal.
If it is a big deal, try first to talk to the provider with respect and understanding. Remember she is caring for multiple kids and that’s not easy. Make sure not to accuse her, even if you think it’s all her fault. You get more flies with honey than vinegar. Tell her something good that you appreciate about her.
If you are able to resolve the problem with communication, make sure to thank her for understanding and for her help. You would not believe the way some parents treat their providers. If she’s defensive, it’s probably because of her past experiences or because she’s insecure.
Signs of a bad daycare provider
There are times when someone provides care and they are just not good at it or are just not a good person at all.
Is your child coming home with bruises or marks that don’t look like they’re from another child? Is your child crying at drop off in a hysterical way, not in an I don’t want to come today way, but actually scared? Does your child flinch around the provider or do they show affection for her?
Has your child’s behavior changed since you started care with your provider? Are they suddenly super aggressive and mean or have meltdown continually when they didn’t before? These might be warning signs. Remember, they can also be phases children go through too, so don’t jump to blaming the provider.
What do your mommy instincts say? Do you feel scared to leave your child with this person? Your instincts are super important, listen to them. I once had a child leave me and go to kindergarten. The mom felt like the teacher was not the best. She ignored it. The child’s personality changed a lot, but we ignored that too. We just thought it was the change of going to a big classroom.
She continued to come to me after school on the bus. One day, she decided she wanted to walk here. It is several miles and there is no safe place to walk on that road, it’s just deep ditches and no shoulders. The teacher let her. She was 5… A mother picked her up on the side of the road knowing that no kids are allowed to walk from the school in that direction. She asked the girl where she lived and the girl directed the mom to my house.
Once she got to our street, she saw my daughter walking from the bus and the girl told the mom to let her out to walk down the street with her. My daughter brought her home and told me a stranger chased her down to let her walk with her. I called the school to ask what the heck and they asked the teacher. She said, she wanted to walk, so I let her.
The mom of this child had gone on a field trip with the children’s class earlier that week and noted to me that the teacher was not watching the kids at all and one child did not arrive back at the school with everyone when it was over. The teacher had left her at the pumpkin patch. Did this teacher have the best interest of the children at heart? No.
After the incident, the child was moved to another class and her personality came back. I felt awful that I had not seen the signs. The mom told me she had a bad feeling but thought it was just her being paranoid, so she let it go too.
There are times when someone just should not be working with kids. This is one of those times. Your provider may just be in the wrong job.
Is the provider happy to see the kids when they arrive? Does she seem engaged in their activities? Do they seem to care about what they are doing and how the child is doing there? Or do they seem uncaring and uninterested? Children need emotional support and a loving, caring provider.
Does the provider keep kids when they are sick? This can cause your child to be sick much more often and is a red flag.
Is the provider so disorganized or the house so messy that you are afraid there may be safety issues for the kids? An avalanche of junk, or choking hazards that aren’t noticed?
Does the provider speak kindly to the kids or use a mean gruff voice or make fun of the kids and call them names? I mean, I call the kids silly pickle and stuff like that, but if they are swearing at them or calling them stupid, look elsewhere.
Does the provider follow the rules, or do they keep more kids than they’re supposed to, not follow safety standards and let the children run amuck unstructured?
Does the provider seem open to talking with you or do they seem unconcerned with your opinion or questions?
Are you able to see the provider’s records? In Oklahoma, our write-ups are online for everyone to view. Check out what your provider has been doing. A few write-ups could be nitpicking by the licensor, we certainly know that can happen, but unsafe practices continually is not good.
Does the provider educate herself and strive to learn and improve? If not, there may be cause for concern there. Ask what training they are involved in and how they make improvements in their care and the facility. These are things they should be doing.
Signs of a good childcare provider
A good reputation is a great sign that a provider is doing a good job. What do people say about them that have used them? Sometimes people lie and make up things because someone made them mad, and sometimes people think a provider is awesome when she’s not, but most of the time, word of mouth tells a lot.
A stimulating environment and happy kids are a sign of a good daycare provider. Are kids engaged in something or pouting and fighting? Are the kids always upset, or generally having fun? (We all know young kids can be upset at times and that’s okay, but if all they ever do is cry, maybe not)
Genuine care for the kids, their feelings, their SAFETY, and if they are learning and growing well. You can tell if someone cares about what they are doing or not. If they don’t, find someone else.
Consistent rules for the business and the kids. Knowing what’s expected is key. Parents need to know what to expect from the provider and what the provider expects from them. Parents also need to know what’s expected of the kids. It needs to be reasonable and attainable and the kids need to understand it.
A clean environment. Obviously, kids are messy and there will be messes. There may be food on the floor in the eating area, but is it still there the next morning when the day is starting? There may be toys out, but are the kids expected to clean them up at pick up time or do they just get left lying about? The kids may lick the door and leave fingerprints all over it, but does someone clean that off periodically or does it just build up over time? There are not enough hours in the day to clean up all the messes kids make right when they make them, remember the provider is outnumbered, but do you feel like the home or center is generally clean or does it look like no one cares?
Is the provider willing to listen to your concerns and help you through them? Are they available to talk with you or do they not care what you have to say or what you need? Communication is key and you won’t have a good relationship if you can’t talk to each other. You should be welcome in the home or center as well.
How to break up with your daycare provider
If you feel like your daycare is not the best fit for you and you need to leave, here’s how to do it.
First, you need to give notice. This is fair and right. If you don’t want to leave your child there another day, that’s fine, but give the provider two week’s pay for the notice just like you would at a job. They do make their living with this income.
Second, tell the provider why you’re leaving. They can’t improve if they don’t get feedback about what’s wrong. Telling them will help them know what to do to make a better business or maybe to realize they don’t belong in the business.
Third, check what her policies are and follow them. If your daycare contract says more than two weeks’ notice is required, then give her that. You agreed to the terms when you came and you should keep your word. You would want someone else to treat you that way.
Fourth, don’t feel guilty for doing what you know is right for your child and your family. It’s your job to look out for them. You’re doing what’s best for everyone.
Fifth, make sure you have another daycare lined up before you start to process of leaving the one you’re in. Sometimes childcare can be super hard to find. You don’t want to end up in a bind or even losing your job because you don’t have childcare. Think it through and make decisions based on facts and what’s best for everyone and not with emotion.
I know that’s super hard to do when it involves your kids, but you’ll be glad you adulted after it’s over.
Not every provider will be a good fit for every family and not every provider is even good at daycare. It’s not for everyone and some people try to do it anyway. It doesn’t mean they are a bad person or wouldn’t be great at something else, it just means they weren’t made for childcare. It’s a lot harder to do it than you might think.
I hope you find this article helpful in knowing how to move forward for your child. I feel that all kids deserve a great place to be and I hope you find something wonderful!
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