1. Don’t make large declarations upon arriving, at least not within earshot of your child. This would include things like, “I packed him eggs but he probably won’t eat them.” (he certainly won’t now!) and, “He is very crabby and rude today.” (I guarantee that would not have gone unnoticed and he didn’t need the encouragement).
2. The more you linger, fuss, make a big deal and poo-poo over your child when they are having a rough drop off, the worse it is and the longer they act like that after you are gone. If you trust your provider enough to leave your kid with them every day then you need to know that your child is in good hands and will be just fine. And in most cases, in less than 3 minutes from the time you leave.
3. Do not, let me repeat that, DO NOT pack your kid a pile of sugar to eat (or feed them a pile of sugar before arriving). If you are sending any meals or snacks along with your child, remember that these need to fuel them for hours of play and learning, not send them into a psychotic tail spin followed by a major crash. There is no place for vanilla wafers in a 3 year old’s breakfast (yes, I have seen this).
4. All those things you say your kids will not eat or do, etc. They do almost all of it at daycare. When you say your daughter will not eat the (already disturbingly sugary) kids yogurt without sprinkles, that is only true at home because she knows you will go for it. The babysitter on the other hand….well, see #3. And when you say your son will not sit in time out, he will at daycare. Every single time.
5. Give them a chance to grow up. I GET it. They’re your babies and it goes so fast and it makes you sad. But you aren’t doing them any favors by babying them. Allow them to branch out, try new things, take on a challenge. I have seen parents say their 3 year old son needs to use the potty chair or the seat insert because he is just too scared to use the big potty. But with even a tiny bit of encouragement and direction he was using the big potty on his own with NO help after just a few days at the sitter’s house. And on this note, cut the baby talk. It is irritating, the other kids can’t understand your kid and therefore do not want to play with her and you are hindering their speech.
6. There is this phenomenon that takes place at pick-up time. The changing of the guards seems to cause some confusion of who is in charge and the kids sense this and decide NO ONE is in charge. They act up in ways they most likely wouldn’t for you and certainly wouldn’t for the provider. If you do not step up and MAKE them mind, please do not be alarmed or offended when your provider does.
7. When interviewing a provider or finalizing plans to send your child, please discuss what the “House Rules” are in the new location. There are likely going to be at least few differences. Perhaps you allow your kids to jump on furniture and throw toys but the sitter does not. Before taking your kids there take some time to discuss the rules with them and what your expectations are. Revisit these rules frequently. It can be a simple conversation as you drive over in the morning.
8. It is never too early to teach manners. Never. Giving in to your child when they shout, “MILK!” teaches them to be demanding and rude. And no, following the first shout with, “please” does not count as manners or warrant the refill. Even very small children are capable of learning to ASK politely for something.
9. The majority of providers have a schedule they follow. This keeps things running smoothly and kids engaged. If you decide to let the kids sleep in or show up very late for whatever reason this can throw a wrench into the schedule. If you show up at story time with your kid’s breakfast in hand then all of the children are then distracted by your kids eating breakfast and your kids just want to skip breakfast and hear the stories. It also makes it harder for your child to transition into their day at childcare when everything has already
started. They also may miss out on activities they truly enjoy and learn from.
10. If the sitter discusses an issue or concern with you about your child (whether it be disciplinary or learning) take them seriously and don’t get offended. They are trying to help your child be the best they can be.
11. If you have a question, concern, are worried, curious, ANYTHING…talk to your care provider. DO NOT try to gain info from your child. As bright as they may be things are often lost in translation and a young child may not understand the motives of an adult.