Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Dear Daycare Worker

Okay, so my children don't go to daycare, but there could be a time in the near future that they have to.  If we can't keep our heads above the water financially, I'll be forced to find some kind of job and they will probably have to be in child care somewhere.  I hate that.  I was thinking today about my experiences working in child care and some things caught my attention in a new way (it's a little different being on this side of things).  So I wrote a letter, I don't know that I will give it to the daycare worker, if we ever have one.  I do want to share it with you, especially if you work in child care of some sort.  

Dear Daycare Worker,
There are some things that I want you to know before you care for my children.  First of all, I have been in your shoes.  I know what it is to spend 8+ hours a day 5 days a week caring for children who aren't my own and do not act the way that I would expect my own children to act.  I know that parents are not always pleasant.  I also know that you are not paid enough to deal with some of the things you have to put up with from the kids and the parents.

Now that I've gotten that out of the way:  My children are not in daycare because I WANT them to be here.  They are not here because I am too lazy to care for them myself or because I would rather work than care for my children.  On the contrary, I love my children very much and it pains me to leave them here all day.  I work because I have to in order for our family to continue barely skimping by.  I would much rather be at home taking care of my children.  I want to teach them and raise them in the way that I feel is most appropriate.  It's not that I don't trust you, it's just that I feel they were trusted to me to raise properly.

That said, I want to be part of my children's education.  Please tell me what they are learning, what problems they are having, and how I can help them at home.  I would like to have regular communication with you.  If our schedules do not allow us to see each other every day, please leave notes for me, or call me... or even email me.  I care about the well-being of my children.

I know that sometimes my children are a handful.  Sometimes they are more needy than you have time to deal with.  I also know that they do not have the best social skills, see - they are kids and they are learning those things.  We do work on them at home, even though it does not always show.  Please, do not make judgments about what my home and family are like based on the behavior of my children.  Believe it or not, it is normal for children to test the waters.  Some children do it once and a while, others seem to need stronger boundaries and like to test them a lot.  Some days my children test their boundaries a lot, but they are learning.

Remember that you are with my children 8 or 9 hours a day.  I probably woke up, dressed and fed my children (unless you provide breakfast), and whisked them out the door on my way to work.  I might be running late or the weather might be bad, the baby may have been up several times in the night.  I am not a morning person, I might not want to talk much.  When I pick my children up, we will go home and eat, then it will be just about time for them to go to bed.  I hate this.  You get to spend your day with my children, you are raising my children right now.  When you start to say things like, "he must always get his way at home," remember that you are the one raising him right now.

Finally, I really appreciate what you are doing for my family.  We would not be able to make it without you.  I mean it.  I am so glad that you are willing to care for my children day after day.  I love it that you are helping them grow.  I am kind of jealous that you get to see so many firsts that I miss out on, but I am glad that you are there.  I want you to be a part of my children's lives right now.  Thank you for being interested in them.  If I could pay you more, I would do it, you deserve it.  Thank you for each day that you show up on time and ready to go, and also for the days that you don't really want to be here, but you smile and make it through.  I pray for you regularly, I mean it.

Any parent.


  1. Wow! I can attest that as a child care professional I would cry if I read a letter like this. My tears wouldn't be because the letter hurt or upset me but rather, my tears would be over the fact that a parent feels they have to write a letter like this to be heard and understood.

    When a parent places their child in my care, I regard it as the highest respect and honour. I am priveledged to care for your child(ren) and I am honoured that you have entrusted me with their safety and well-being.

    I would not and could not judge a family (nor anyone else for that matter) because we truly don't know what's happening in someone else's life.

    I wish you the best as you seek out a quality child care program. I pray that you find a centre that exceeds all your expectations. More importantly, I wish you peace of mind.

    Thank you for sharing such a beautiful and thought-provoking posting.

  2. I agree, things like this shouldn't have to be said or written, but I've been in the hallway at nap time and heard plenty of suppositions about what it must be like at this home or that. I hate to think what they might say about my 2 1/2 year old that thinks everything is made for climbing and does not talk well, or about my 1 year old with brain trauma that has some delays (thankfully those are minor right now).

    Thanks for your well wishes. I hope that we don't have to look for child care, but I know that it is a possibility. (I'd much rather care for children in my home).