Ah, Daycare. It's the first step in a child's education. One year they're learning how to use scissors and the next they're preparing for the SATs — it all goes by so fast! But before we have a bunch of tear-filled parents out there, let's take it down a notch to daycare, shall we?
Parents explains that a child can be ready for daycare by the time of their first birthday. Author Karen Miller says "A child at this age is making leaps in her language, social, and motor skills. The constant flow of new people and stimulating activities in daycare can fulfill a toddler's need to learn and explore." While most parents can decide when daycare works best for them, there are regulations that every parent and child need to follow, regardless of their age.
But rules or regulations can be tricky to follow in a busy life! This is why some parents choose to ignore the rules set by their daycares. Sometimes they're plain old forgetful, but other times they simply don't think the rules apply to them. But news flash: rules are made for a reason and should be followed with respect and courtesy to the daycare and their teachers. Nevertheless, some parents think they can coast by doing the bare minimum, but that never seems to work out well. Here are 16 regulations some parents break and five that they should seriously stick to.
21 The Classic Potty Trained Lie
Most daycares understand if your child is not potty trained yet or still learning. Most staff members hope for the best but expect for the worse in these situations because some parents claim their child is potty trained (just to get them in the door), but come class time, teachers realize they were misled. Some of the kids might know the process of needing to go to the bathroom, but they still make mistakes, which gives the teacher some false hope.
20 Daycare Won't Solve Your Child's Shortcomings
As hard as it is to hear — no child is perfect. We all have our own shortcomings in life and there is nothing wrong with that. However, when a teacher notices something with your child (whether they have a hard time communication, sharing, or following rules), take that information and use it at home.
Don't expect a daycare to "solve" your child's issues.
Help your child overcome those issues by supporting them and helping them at home. Kids learn fast, and the more help they get, the better.
19 Breaking The Hard Rules
There are definitely some small rules parents can get by breaking; like buying the wrong brand of crayons or forgetting that pack of tissues you're supposed to bring every year. But when it comes to rules that can affect a child's safety, it's important to follow them.
Some daycare centers have peanut-free zones or request that the parents don't bring foods with peanut ingredients. That being said, these rules are made for the health and safety of other kids with severe allergies. Blatantly disregarding them can be detrimental and it proves that you obviously think your kid is more important than the whole class.
18 Blaming Bad Behavior On Being Homesick
When told that their child has the same tantrums every day, most parents just ignore it — chalking it up to missing mom and dad or wanting to be home. Being homesick is one thing, but when your child is almost done with their time at daycare, and they're still having the same behavioral issues... then they're not homesick.
They genuinely have some negative issues that need to be sorted out by mom and dad.
There's nothing wrong with confronting your child about their downfalls — that's called parenting.
17 They're Not Sick...
I know how important daycare is for busy parents. Not every mom or dad is lucky to have a large amount of family members nearby who can watch little Jimmy when he's coming down with a cold. In times like this, some parents may just give their child some cold meds, a box of tissues, and send them off to daycare hoping for the best.
This action is understandable, but at the same time, this only leads to germs spreading, more kids getting sick, the teacher getting sick, and then spiraling into a sick teacher teaching sick children.
16 But I'm Early!
Sigh. I feel like I would be this mother unfortunately. Knowing how busy parents are, some drop their child off at daycare early.
While that's great that their child is early and more prepared for the day, that can also throw the teacher off a bit.
Teachers have lesson-plans they have written up for the day, and when they arrive early to work, they're usually preparing for the day, communicating with staff (maybe a morning meeting), and getting mentally prepared to deal with a crazy class. So when one child (and another and another...) shows up early, it can throw a few wrenches in the plan.
15 Sorry I'm Late... Again
Just like arriving early can sometimes be a pain for the teacher, so can picking up late.
Picking up your child up from daycare late doesn't just worry the child but it's also a sign that you don't value your child's teacher's time. It's disrespectful. The game changer here is if you know you're going to be late and make arrangements; either by letting the teacher know or having a friend's mom give them a lift home. Open communication makes all the difference.
14 Mail Invitations — Don't Bring Them
Rules vary depending on the daycare, however, a popular rule among many is to not bring invitations to the classroom unless they're for the whole class.
There's nothing like a day ruined when Tina finds out she wasn't invited to Rachel's birthday party, but every other girl in the class was.
No child deserves that kind of heartache, and no teacher deserves that kind of drama either. Do yourself a favor, pay the couple of bucks and mail your invites like adults do.
13 Keep Your Kids Awake
One daycare teacher explained her pet peeve to Redbook, that when parents drop their children off while they're still sound asleep. "Parents who 'sneak' their kid in while they are asleep hoping to escape the tearful goodbye drive me crazy," she says. "They always say that their kid should sleep for several more hours but they never do, and waking up somewhere other than where they fell asleep is upsetting for them." This is true, imagine being sound asleep and waking up in school with your mom or dad nowhere to be seen.
This may be news to some parents, but typically if your child isn't going to daycare that day (whether they're sick or just decided to play hookie), the parent should let the daycare know.
Most parents don't do this. Open communication is a beautiful thing. Letting a teacher know that Billy isn't coming to daycare that day will let her continue on with her lesson without worrying about where Billy is or if they should start a little later just in case Billy strolls in.
It takes two minutes to make a phone call and say your child isn't coming in — just bite the bullet and help the teacher out.
11 Who Are You?
Remember how I said parents should inform their teacher if they're not coming to class or are going to be picked up a little later than usual? Well, the same can be said for when someone else is coming to pick up your kid that day.
Most daycares require notice when a sibling or family member is coming to get the kid, instead of the parents. So don't be surprised if the daycare doesn't let this random person in or makes a few calls before letting the kid go home with "Aunt Michelle." And please, parents: don't be offended. The staff is just doing their job.
10 When In Doubt: Label
Oh, you don't think it's a big deal if you label your kid's lunchbox because they should know which lunchbox is theirs? Well guess what, folks: kids get confused. Kids become forgetful. Kids make weird trades in the day, which means they're not always going to come home with what they brought in the morning. This is why you label everything because if you don't, you might find out that there are two of the same lunchboxes OR some kid wanted your lunchbox more, so they stole it.
If there are no labels on extra clothing, toys, foods, or products — they could become fair game to the wonderful world of daycare.
9 Breaking What They Just Learned
The whole point of sending our kids to daycare is so they can interact with different kids their own age and learn things they wouldn't necessarily learn elsewhere. So if a child comes home, showing mom and dad what they just learned, it's important for parents to encourage those traits.
Some parents ignore what their child says or criticize what they just learned, which abruptly ends the learning process for that kid.
Parents are so selective with daycares these days, so why not do yourself (and your child) a favor by furthering their education and learning by continuing what they learned at home. Don't ignore the lesson plan because this only makes the daycare teacher's life harder.
8 Don't Wait For A Reaction
Leaving your kid for a couple hours a day can be hard for some families. Sometimes it's hard for the kids to be away from their parents, and other times it's the parents who hate being away from their kids. Regardless, when it's time to drop off your kid — make them feel comfortable and then hit the road. Lingering around and waiting for some kind of upsetting reaction on their part is only going to have a negative effect. Plus, it then becomes the teacher's job to calm them down when they have other kids who also need to be taken care of.
7 Healthy Food Is Encouraged, Not Just Preached
It can be difficult for a daycare teacher to be told by a parent that their child can have no sweets throughout the day, but then see those same parents give their kid a lollipop just so they could get out the front door.
Giving your child a healthy breakfast before being dropped off at daycare (or so they can eat at daycare) ensures they're off to a good start.
And while most parents believe they do this, they sometimes bend the rules and give their kids a treat as a sign of affection. But those sweets come with sugar-highs and sugar-crashes, which your daycare teacher then has to deal with...
6 Closed-Toe Shoes
There are so many adorable baby and kid shoes out there. I don't know what it is, but seeing an adult sneaker shrink down to the size of a doll's shoe is the cutest thing in the world. That being said, most daycares would appreciate it if those adorable "doll" shoes were closed-toe. Having your kid show up in flip flops is adorable but they're probably going to lose their shoes somewhere throughout the day or get injured from slipping while running around. Stick to sneakers or boots, y'all.
And these are the more serious rules, moms should never break....
5 Don't Come Back Unless Healthy
I mentioned earlier how most parents send their children to daycare even if they have a cold; that's something that people shouldn't get away with, but they do. Colds happens all the time in daycares and they catch like wildfire. However, when it comes to things more serious like pink eye, high fevers, or other contagious illnesses — keep your child at home.
Every kid is different and some may have a worse reaction to something caught in class.
Keep your child safe at home until they're healthy enough (and no longer contagious) to go back to school.
If you're breastfeeding your child, then it should be obvious to bring breastmilk with your child to daycare, right? So that when they're hungry or thirsty, the teacher is prepared and can soothe an unhappy camper.
But when a parent doesn't come prepared, what's a teacher supposed to do?
They're working, after all, they have rules and guidelines to follow — they can't just give that screaming child someone else's milk or a juice box because who knows if that child is allowed!
I know life is busy and we can become forgetful, but if you forget your child's bottle, you have to turn around and get it for the sake of your kid and their teacher.
3 Food Restrictions
If your child is gluten-free, grain-free, vegan, or whatever else out there — you need to prepare your child and their teacher for the day — especially if it's not due to an allergy. You wouldn't believe how parents assume teachers will have backup snacks or drinks for their child. But if your kid has a restricted diet, then you're the one that needs to have backup snacks for them — not your teacher. No one needs a crying child because everyone in class has a snack but one. Be prepared.
When it comes to the welfare of your child, you need to be on the ball at all times. If your child takes daily medication (no matter the duration), that information needs to be relayed to the teacher. This is not something a parent should pass on.
There are strict rules that need to be followed, and certain people who are allowed to handle the meds.
Parents need to tell teachers how many their child takes a day, the times, and maybe some side effects to those pills in case the teacher sees a small difference.
Failing to tell your child's teacher this information is neglectful.
1 Respect Your Daycare
Life is stressful with kids. The world doesn't slow down just because you need to drop your child off at school, when you also have 100 other things to do. So instead of rushing by your daycare teacher or picking the kids up without so much of a thank you, give the teacher the praise they deserve. This is their career of choice and they're spending their days raising your kid and teaching them daily things that will stick with them for life.
Respect your daycare teacher's time, plan, and rules. A simple "thank you" can go a long way.