Be a Good Daycare Parent

Being a Good Daycare Parent means working as a team with your daycare provider.

Your provider is running a business. She's dealing with several different families and several different children. She needs your help to keep things running smoothly within her daycare.

Policies & Procedure:

  • Read your provider’s daycare policies and contract. Be familiar with the rules of the daycare and know what is expected of a good daycare parent.
  • Complete all required enrollment forms.  Return them to your provider before the first day of care.
  • Don’t try to mask your child’s illness just because you feel you need to be at work. The provider will notice in the first hour or two.  
  • As a parent in a daycare, you should have a backup plan for someone else to care for your child when you can’t miss work.

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It’s All in the Timing:

  • Keep phone calls to the provider to an "only as needed" basis. Every time you call from work to check on your child, you’re taking the provider away from your child. If you’re calling in the evening or on the weekend, you’re taking her away from her limited free time.
  • Show courtesy if you’re usually the first family to drop off in the morning. Arriving even fifteen minutes earlier than usual can affect her morning routine of preparing for the day. A good daycare parent will let the provider know
    when it’s necessary for you to do so.
  • Don’t put off until tomorrow what should be dealt with today. If you feel there is a problem in daycare, talk to the provider. It may be easier to ask if you may call her in the evening so your child will not hear the discussion and you can get the provider’s full attention.  
  • Be prepared for an emergency situation. Hopefully the days daycare will be closed will come with notice, but a good daycare parent will keep in mind that emergencies may occur that require closing the daycare at the last minute.

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Just Plain Courtesy:

  • Call if your child is going to be absent for the day. I repeat, call if your child is going to be absent for the day! You know it’s the right thing to do.
  • Remember that children like to embellish stories. They may exaggerate stories they’re telling you about daycare just like they probably exaggerate stories about you to the provider!
  • Don’t dump on your provider about your work day. It’s easy to do since your provider is usually the first person you come in contact with after you finish work, but a good daycare parent realizes that if every parent complains about their work day as they pick up their child, that makes for a very negative afternoon.
  • Let your provider know if you’re taking a personal day. If you’re not at work, she needs to know where to contact you in case of emergency.

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It’s Not a Fashion Show:

  • Don’t let your child go to daycare in their pajamas. Your provider’s duties are many and changing your child out of their bedtime clothes should not be on that list.
  • Dress your child appropriately for the weather. A good daycare parent will make sure their child is prepared for the weather. Do they need hat and mittens in the winter months or a bathing suit in the summer months?

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  • Don’t consider your provider a babysitter or an employee. Daycare is a career that requires extensive training and special talents. A good daycare parent considers the provider a co-parent.
  • Treat your provider like a professional business person. If you happen to become friends, don’t take advantage of the friendship by asking for special favors.
  • Don’t take it personally if your provider got frustrated with your child during the day. She may share her frustration with you when you pick up. Just remember, no matter how perfect your child is, they will have their bad days!
  • Don’t make late payments. Your weekly check is your provider’s paycheck. Just like your paycheck, she must pay bills with that money.  
  • If you’re receiving assistance or using daycare vouchers, be prompt turning in your paperwork to the proper agencies and
    pay your portion on time.
  • Say "thanks" to your provider. A good daycare parent will let her know they appreciate her with acknowledgement on Mother’s Day or Provider’s Appreciation Day. Just look the date up on the internet.
  • Don’t end on a bad note. When it’s time to leave the daycare, give at least the requested amount of notice, and more if possible.  
  • Let your child know they will be leaving daycare so they have a chance to say good-bye to their daycare mom and their friends. Take pictures if you can so that your child can look through them when they start missing everyone.

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Marcia Reagan is the creator of DaycareAnswers and lives in Central Minnesota with her husband and two children.  She's been an in-home daycare provider for over twenty years and loves to share her experience and passion for daycare with other providers.  

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