Daycare is important. Your child is everything and if you are unhappy with your daycare provider it can really disrupt your life.
Your daycare provider is one of the most important people in your life if you have small children that need care. You have to be able to trust them and they have to be dependable so you can get to work and do you job.
What to do if you are unhappy with your daycare provider
People tell me all the time, it’s such a blessing to be able to go to work and never have to worry about how my child is doing. This kind of trust is built with lots of honesty and communication.
I am an open book with my daycare parents. I share my life with them. I share our day with them. And I share my heart with them. This builds trust between us. One of the most important things about the business relationship is trust.
My parents have to know that when they bring up a problem or they have a question, I am going to be 100% honest with them. It’s the foundation of running a home daycare that is successful.
Unhappy with daycare provider
There are going to be times when you are unhappy with your daycare provider. They are human, so they will make mistakes. Your job is to communicate your expectations clearly, speak up when you have a problem, and find a way to resolve them.
Unsafe environment or concern about your child being harmed
I have been providing daycare in my home for over 25 years. So I’ve seen a lot of things. The first and most important thing we need to address is safety. If you think the environment is unsafe or your child is being harmed by the provider, RUN, do not walk, out the door with your child and find somewhere else for them to be.
Call DHS or whoever oversees the wellbeing of children in your area and report the situation. And get your child to safety. If you have to quit your job, do it. You can’t communicate your way out of a dangerous situation for your child. But there are many other problems that can arise with your daycare provider that can be solved.
Resolving Problems with the Caregiver
Remember that most of the time, your daycare provider is trying to do a good job. If you think they don’t care about their job at all, that may be another reason to walk away. But you can take a little time to research another place for them.
Is there another child causing problems for your child during care? I can tell you first hand that as hard as we try to help kids be kind to one another, not every child has the social skills to be nice and perfect all the time. Heck, we as adults don’t have the skills to be perfect either.
So remember, when there is a child causing problems in the daycare, the provider is probably doing her best to teach the child new skills and teach the other kids to help that child learn to get a long. It can be a difficult situation.
Let’s take biting for instance. I have 7 kids and there is one of me. But I still have to help kids in the bathroom who are learning to use the potty, diaper kids, make food for kids and many other things that can distract my full attention from a biter.
I like to try to take that biter with me most places, but if I am helping someone in the bathroom, I can’t always take another child in there with us. So there will be some times when biting can occur. Kids are fast and many of them are sneaky. So just know, from the perspective of a long time provider, I can try hard and things still slip past me.
Low Standards for Safety and Cleanliness
There are times though when a provider can intervene that they are not trying to correct the problem. As a parent who is unhappy with the care they are receiving, you have to figure out if a solution is being worked on or if the provider is unconcerned.
There are a few warning signs to watch for. Do you see a general lack of cleanliness? I mean, kids are MESSY and there are going to be messes when you visit the daycare facility. You might find food on the floor of your provider’s dining room at pick up time, but if the food is still there in the morning at drop off, that may not be a safe place for your child to be.
Do you have a crawling toddler and there are rubber bands and pieces of broken toys all over the floor? The responsibility of the daycare provider is to make sure hazards are not all around to harm children.
So perfect cleanliness is an unreasonable expectation with a house full of kids, but concern for safety and some measure of cleanliness is important.
Vague or Undocumented Policies
You should have a clear understanding before you start care with a daycare provider of what their expecations are and what policies they follow. You need to know if you agree with those policies or should find care elsewhere before you start and a problem arises.
The provider should have a contract and some policies in place. This is a professional business and you should respect it as such. But the provider should also present it that way. Having no policies or not telling you what they are should be a red flag.
Lack of Communication
Not communicating is a big problem. If you can’t interact with the daycare provider regularly, you can run into some big misunderstandings. So make sure the person is willing to talk and make sure you are willing to talk to them. After all, your kids are your world and you are trusting them with them.
Disrespect for Your Concerns
The provider should show concern for your concerns and respect. If you say you don’t want your child eating junk food and they serve corn dogs every day, this is not respect. If a provider wants to serve corn dogs every day, it’s their business to ruin, but they shouldn’t tell you they cook broccoli and chicken and then serve corn dogs for every meal.
Honesty is really important to be able to trust someone. So making sure the provider is being honest is key. But they should also respect your wishes. They won’t be able to accomodate your every whim, but they should do what they say they’ll do.
Also, be careful not to nitpick at every little thing because that can be exhausting for the provider. We providers can take a lot of abuse from parents whose expectations are not for mere mortals. Save your complaints for things that really matter.
Warning Signs Your Child’s Daycare Is Not Right for You
- Are there obvious safety concerns? Run, don’t walk out of there.
- Are there nagging concerns about lack of supervision or lack of concern about doing the job well? Look for new care as soon as you can. Please follow your instincts.
- Are there signs that the provider is not being honest about what goes on during the day? Look for new care as soon as you can. Please remember if a provider would lie about french fries or activities, I’m afraid they would lie about more important things too. It’s probably best to find alternative care. Trust is the most important thing in the parent-provider relationship. Don’t forget, that goes both ways and you need to be honest with your provider too.
- Is there a problem with another child? Does the provider seem concerned and committed to working on it? Remember these are small children she’s dealing with and it can be difficult to get a handle on behavior with them. So give her some grace and be patient as she tries. Does she seem defensive? She might just be overwhelmed with the difficulties of the job. I can promise you, providing care for children is a lot harder than you think it is. Or does she seem unconcerned and dismiss your concerns? If she doesn’t seem to care at all, it might be time to find alternate care. It needs more attention and time.
- Is there something she does such as allow the children to watch television, feed them things you don’t want, use crass language you don’t want your child using, not helping support the training of your child such as potty training or other skills, not allow something you want her to allow or other smaller things like that? Here’s where the thought and decisions need more care.
Steps to take to solve problems with your daycare provider
- Think really hard about how important this issue is. If your daycare provider is loving and caring and really cares about doing a good job, you might think about just letting the small things go. There is no guarantee that if you find another provider, they won’t disappoint you in the same area or an area that is even more important to you. Think about what good that provider does and how much you are showing appreciation for that. Sometimes, people just need a little encouragement.
- If you decide the issue is important enough to complain to her, do it nicely and with respect. Show empathy for how hard the job is working with kids and then tell her your concerns. If she knows you appreciate her, it will go a long ways. You could say something like, I know you work hard and try really hard to provide great care, and our family really appreciates you for it, but we are concerned about how much time the tv is on while the kids are there. When we interviewed, you told us that the kids are limited to 30 minutes of tv a week but we are seeing a lot more than that and we wanted to see if there is something you can do to limit it. We feel like screen time is not as good for little johnny as playing outside. Johnny really loves playing outside with you and his friends.
- Once she comes back with an answer, thank her for her time. If you feel like she is being honest, give it some time to improve. Maybe she hasn’t been feeling well the past few weeks or maybe she just got into a rut and this will help her refocus. If you feel like she’s just defensive or blowing you off, make a mental note of that. If it’s a deal-breaker for you, find another daycare provider and give her a two-week notice respectfully.
- If it doesn’t improve, give her another chance and raise the subject again in a few weeks. You’ll know if you want to find another daycare provider or you just want to let the issue go. You have to do what’s right for your family while still treating her with respect for all of the effort she has put into caring for your child. Please remember that this job is not easy at all. So try to give her the benefit of the doubt. She probably loves your child and is doing her best.
The final point is that you are your child’s biggest advocate in life and you are the one that knows what is best for them. Follow your instincts, show grace, but make the decision you know is right for your family. You are the best parent for them and if you are unhappy with your daycare, it is time to move on.