I bet you think daycare is a super easy job and you make tons of money. Childcare is a tough job. Here's what daycare providers wish parents knew.

What Daycare Providers Wish Parents Knew…

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You might think daycare is a super easy job and childcare providers make tons of money. Childcare is a tough job. Here’s what daycare providers wish parents knew. Running a home daycare is not always how it looks on the outside.

daycare kids playing with bubbles and seeds outside

You have to love it to do it. It’s such a gift when it’s done well. In over 20 years of providing daycare in my home, I have seen many different kinds of people. Each provider is different and each parent is different. Finding a good fit is important.

I am incredibly fortunate to have a WONDERFUL group of parents that treat me with respect and appreciate my efforts. Now is a great time to talk about what makes doing daycare the most difficult because I haven’t encountered a difficult group of parents in several years.

Providers 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.

kids playing outside at daycare

What does a daycare provider do?

The number one thing providers wish parents knew is we don’t do childcare because we are too dumb to do anything else.

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 daycare? 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 I work hard enough, I can provide that place. We are changing the future through children.

What your daycare provider wants you to know…

Daycare providers 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 shoes 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. 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!

Kids playing with musical instruments and dancing props at daycare

Things your daycare won’t tell you

Daycare providers wish parents knew we have lives outside of childcare.

Since we can’t run errands on our lunch hour or take off work for appointments, we could be headed somewhere after our 10+ hour workday. I have to find someone to cut my hair or whatever I need done on Saturdays or at 6 pm. It’s not always easy to find someone who will do it but they sure don’t want to wait for me to get there because a child was not picked up by closing time.

In addition, we have training to attend and paperwork to do, the work doesn’t stop after the ten hours the kids are here for sure! My family time is uber important to me. I give my 110% during the hours I provide care, but after that, I’d like to spend time with my peeps.

Daycare providers wish parents knew the money they charge for services PAYS THEIR BILLS.

I don’t work for fun only. I have bills due and I have to pay late fees when I pay them late just like you do. So when you decide not to pay on time, it’s like you going to work on payday and your boss saying, sorry I forgot my checkbook or can you wait until Monday? This is a big problem providers have.

In my early days, I had a week where all 4 parents who owed me money on Friday waited until Monday and I didn’t have grocery money to get groceries for the week. If you want to show your provider respect and you forgot your checkbook, go home and get it or go to the ATM and make their payday as much of a priority as yours. I don’t want to have to beg for my paychecks. 

Remember we are not perfect. We know your lives are busy and you work hard and are tired when you get here, please remember we do too and we are too.

kida playing on swings at daycare

Daycare providers wish parents knew we are required by law in Oklahoma to know where their kids 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 DHS regulations state if a child is 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.

Kids are not fully developed adults. Accidents do happen. Most of us are outnumbered 7-1. Try not to get too upset over these incidents. We are doing our best to prevent them. We truly care about your child and we truly do our best to keep accidents from happening, but we’re only human.

If it’s happening continually, it may be a sign of bad daycare. What should you do when you think you might need to break up with your daycare provider? Check out the link.

What does my husband wish parents knew? 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. He wants to ask parents to please not take advantage of our kindness and giving nature just because you can.

Appreciate your daycare provider

I have a parent who occasionally brings me the sausage I like to serve 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 their birthday and tell them happy birthday, give them 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, I have GREAT parents and I know that they appreciate me because they show it. It’s worth so much. Click here to see ways to appreciate your childcare provider!

If you want to see what parents I contacted wished their providers knew, click:  What Parents Wish Childcare Providers Knew…

If you are a provider what do you wish parents knew? 

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  1. What I wish parents knew…is consistency is everything! When it comes to the littles. That when they interupt a littles schedule. It interupts so much more. Then just that one child. That when parents are not consistent with the schedule type of care. Such as meals naps, potty training, rules, days that they go to childcare moms or dads and ect. It makes for a unhappy and anxious child. Who in return shares this feeling with all they come in coach with. Making it very hard to deal with.

  2. What a BRILLANT article, THANK YOU for putting it “out there”!!! I couldn’t have said it better – it is a true reflection of what I think most Child Care workers must feel but very difficult to express. WELL DONE & thank YOU for your PASSION!!!

  3. I know I read this… how did I miss commenting on it?

    Childcare providers are special people! Every sitter I’ve ever used had a real love for kids and talent for keeping up with so many of them. There are some bad eggs out there, for sure, but for the most part I believe that daycare providers do it because they love kids. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing your heart, here! I love the part about maybe giving them a hug. I love hugs!


  4. I would agree with the above comment about spending extra time at home with your children. When parents have the day off, children know that and would love to spend their day at home with their OWN mommy and daddy. I would also add, respect for the providers home and property is incredibly important. Home childcare providers are already making huge sacrifices with their time working very long hours each day and giving up much of their personal home space for childcare. Respect the fact that they may not have much ‘personal’ space in their home, don’t wander into other rooms or let your children play with things that are not daycare related (because certainly everything in a providers home is not for daycare!).

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  8. The one thing I would add is that if you’re happy to get off work early or have a day off to sleep in please remember your children would love that time off too! They’re in daycare longer hours than you work each day! Yes you could go to the gym or run errands but your children deserve time off too. Their at daycare more hours than a Full-time job each week. I love them but I am not Mom and Dad. Pick them up or play hookie and spend a special day with them. The memories of time spent & fun had are what endure. They’re only Little for such a short period of time. Don’t miss out on time you can never get back. I would shrink all mine back to age 2 and take a day off right now if I could just to see those sweet faces and hug their little adorable 2 year old selves. You won’t believe how much you’ll wish you had spent more time with them at this age when they’re moody teenagers and you want to run away from home! Trust me on this one! Lol

    With that said thank you for being a wonderful daycare parent! I really appreciate you for sharing your sweet little ones with me! I love my job!