Daycare might as well be defined as a godsend to parents who need additional help. When mom or dad need to go to work and no family members are available to watch the kids for free, daycare is the superhero sans cape.
Daycare shouldn't be defined as a babysitter, though. Daycare is a place where kids can go to socialize, learn, and play. They learn confidence by being separated from their parents, they learn to share with others, and they also learn different forms of discipline from someone other than their parents. Not to mention mom and dad can go to work and run errands without worrying about their pride and joy.
However, as beneficial as most daycare centers are to kids, there seems to be a misconception about the entire system. For starters, daycare teachers aren't your run-of-the-mill babysitters; most have degrees and a passion to help kids get on the right track. But since there are parents out there who don't seem to acknowledge how much a daycare teacher has to put up with, they're left with many pet-peeves that are broken time and time again. From late pick-ups to talkative parents — these are some of the annoying things daycare teachers wish parents knew.
20 Daycare Is Not One-On-One Time
Daycare centers have a lot of kids to look after. Each state has their own policy regarding teacher to student ratio, so parents should remind themselves that a teacher can only do so much with a classroom of screaming kiddos. "Don't expect me to keep your child up all morning so she will sleep in the afternoon for you," one teacher pleaded. "I don't mind if the child is up and happy, but if your child is not ready to drop the morning nap it's not fair to either of us to deny him sleep!" There's nothing worse than a sleepy child who is being denied sleep.
19 Check The Price Tag
Kids grow quickly and they're messy — these are two of the first things we learn about parenthood.
Considering kids don't understand the value of a dollar, buying them expensive clothes is a bad idea because they're not going to feel bad when they mess it up.
One daycare teacher told Mothering "Please don't send your child in fancy schmancy clothes and then get mad when she gets them stained. We painted, ate snacks, and played hard. Stains happen." If these parents get mad at anyone, they should be mad at themselves for dressing a daycare-age child up in fancy duds.
18 Be Considerate
Life gets hectic, and sometimes parents forget daily things their child might want or need. Teachers don't mind when this happens, but when it becomes a habit that's when it becomes unfair.
"Not sending your child in with a snowsuit or a hat and mittens or even boots on the snowiest day of the year because you don't want your child playing outside, is not fair to your child,"
a daycare teacher told Mothering. It's also not fair to "the other children (may keep the entire class inside if ratios don't allow to take some children outside and keep some inside), or the teachers (imagine a classroom full of 10-15 children who've been inside for days, weeks at a time."
17 That's What Meetings Are For
There's this wonderful thing called "scheduling" that really comes in handy as an adult. And for many daycare teachers, they've noticed that not many parents enjoy scheduling a meeting — they'd rather try to have a serious conversation during drop off or pick up (which is way too hectic for that). "If you have a major issue to discuss, make an appointment for a conversation," one teacher told DC Urban Mom.
It's not like a parent needs to schedule an appointment on the weekend. See if there's a time before drop-off or even during nap time where the two of you can talk.
16 Drop And Go
Leaving your child at daycare can be a scary thing for a parent. Sometimes they're more attached to their child than their child is or other times, the child hates leaving their parent. Regardless of the reasoning, dropping your kid off can always be a little tricky.
Most daycare teachers suggest making drop-offs quick and painless. Drop them off, get them settled, and leave. Don't linger. "I've had countless parents who will prolong their departure in order to see their child become upset at their leaving. Extra hugs, and unnecessary coddling, provoking responses in order to satisfy their need to know that little Timmy, or little Suzy will miss them while they are at work."
15 What You Eat Matters
There are a lot of tasty treats out there these days, along with some delicious on-the-go breakfast options. But when a child is developing, it's important to give them the best nourishment you can provide (chocolate not included).
"There was a child in my class who was brought to school each day with a Hershey's chocolate bar for breakfast," one teacher told HubPages. "After months of news letters focusing around the importance of good nutrition and the benefits of breakfast; the parents switched from the chocolate bar to fast food." She continued saying that a young mind cannot thrive on chocolate.
"For a young body to be able to function properly it needs nourishment and rest. Feeding a child junk food for a quick and easy trip out the door for your sake is [not a valid] excuse."
14 Dress Appropriately
After exploring multiple forums from daycare teachers, one thing that annoys many are kids wearing flip-flops. While there are many adorable shoe options out there that have straps and zippers, flip-flops end up being distracting for a young child instead of just being footwear. Even for kids who are not wearing the shoes!
"In the classroom flip flops are harder to keep on. They do not have a supporting heel/back structure. They cause distraction and disruption," one daycare teacher told HubPages. They also elaborated how dangerous they can be outside when a child is running around. Shoes can slip off or they can even lose them while running around.
13 Bottle Training
It may seem obvious for parents to bring bottles of milk with them to daycare when their child only drinks milk... But some parents seem to miss the bigger picture (even with something as obvious as feeding a child).
Not only do some forget bottles (and don't bring any back at a later time), but they forget that where you feed your child also leaves an impact on those who also feed them.
One teacher told Mothering "Parents who only feed their babies bottles in a carseat/crib so when baby starts daycare, they FREAK out when I try to hold them to feed them a bottle."
12 There Is No Room For Negotiating
Daycare prices depend on the size, the state you're in, and what the school promises. But for this teacher, she's had many parents "forget" their payments. Her story goes like this: "Had a parent ask this week 'I have my handbook at home but just thought I would ask what is the absolute latest I can pick up xxxx.' I replied with 'you have contracted hours, anything outside of that will have charges added.'" Having contracted hours and late fees is definitely a way to make parents more aware of their timing (though parents may dislike this).
11 Relationship Conflicts
We've seen this in movies but it happens in real life, too. Some parents put their child's teacher in the middle of their own relationship. "I HATE being put in the middle of separated/divorced parental conflicts," a teacher told Daycare.
Another similar situation that irks her is being put between parents and their finances.
After reminding a parent that their fees were due that day, they go, "Oh shoot, I totally forgot! Ughhhh I am so broke, I don't know what I am going to do!" in response. What's worse is if one parents asks the TEACHER to contact their spouse about the dues!
10 Don't Play Dumb
It always seems to be a surprise for parents when it comes to setting their child up for daycare. For starters, there are so many things to look into to make sure their child is safe and learning things their little minds can comprehend. Lastly, daycares are sneakily expensive; parents typically understand the costs before they sign their child up, because if they didn't, they would have never signed their child up in the first place.
Some daycares have an annual fee, weekly fee, or monthly fee, which is made known to every parent. But some parents would rather play dumb. One teacher told Daycare one of the responses that annoys her the most: "How much is it this week? Oh, it's the same flat rate? But DCK was sick or with family (OR I just wanted to keep them home and save money) — doesn't that take anything off?"
9 Chill Out With The Excuses
"My current pet peeve is, when I have to address an issue with dcb [the child], his mom and/or dad say 'He got that (behavior) from his sister.' With this excuse they feel it's out of their hands, so nothing for them to worry about." On the contrary though, excuses won't help your child in the long run.
"I don't care where the behavior came from, I just want it worked on,"
the teacher told Daycare. And the teacher has a point. It doesn't matter where the behavior comes from, if it's poor behavior, it's poor behavior. Try to work on things at home so that the child can thrive more in school.
8 It's A Business
Most daycare teachers are incredibly nice. They kind of have to be to work with little kids all day, right? That being said, they're still adults with personal boundaries and their own life. "Calling and texting me after hours and on weekends with questions that are answered at pick up, and then getting mad when I don't respond," is this teacher's biggest annoyance. "Just like any business establishment, I do close. I do have times when I do not want to deal with you, or your family drama. We have business relationship, we are not besties!"
Each parent has their own routine — that's nothing to be shamed over. However, parents should remember that their routine doesn't always work for someone else.
One teacher explained how some parents tell their kids to kiss them goodbye, or worse, tell them to kiss their kids goodbye.
"I cannot stand forced PDA. Don't do it to me OR your kid, it is disrespectful and invasive to both of us. I also spend a lot of time on disease prevention education. RSV risk is very real and still very deadly," they told Daycare.
While the goodbye gesture is sweet, maybe it's best to keep things professional.
6 No Angel
It can be an issue when parents believe their child is an angel with no possibility of becoming a tantrum-throwing toddler. But most daycare teachers would love if their students' parents acknowledged the fact that their child messes up sometimes — and to take action when needed. "It might be hard to accept that your angelic well-adjusted child has been caught doing something horrible, but really, why would we make it up? It’s frustrating when we sit down with parents to tell them something unpleasant and they don’t believe us."
5 Come Prepared
Let's be honest, when a parent goes away with their kid for the day, they're prepared for a full week. They have extra toys, carriers, blankets, snacks — you know, just in case...
This is why it's confusing why some parents "forget" to bring those kinds of things to their kid's daycare; almost as if they expect the teacher to figure it out on the fly.
One teacher vented to Mothering, "What do you expect me to do once we run out of diapers for your kid? Take another kid's? Same with clothes. Keep a spare pair in the cubby. If you don't- what do you expect me to do with little Billy when he suddenly vomits/poops all over his outfit?"
4 Keep It Clean
Life with babies and kids gets busy. Parents lose track of time, chores get pushed aside, and all they can do is focus on eating dinner with their eyes open. It happens, and it's okay. But for the sake of your child, their classmates, and their teachers — having good hygiene is necessary. "When you send your child to daycare dirty or smelly, it impacts him in two ways," a teacher told MetroKids.
"None of the other kids will want to play with him and neither will we. If you are having problems getting your kid to take a bath, talk to us. We are there to help and have resources and ideas in abundance."
3 You're Late...
Being late for pickup seems to be a real issue for most daycare teachers. One teacher really broke down this annoyance through a tell-tale. "Parents who get off work at 4pm, go run errands, take car to shop and OOPS! call at 5:50 saying car is still in the shop and you have no way to pick up your little princess so 'I'll probably be a little late.'" This situation often occurs with mom or dad being 45 minutes late as opposed to five or 10.
Do yourself and the teacher a favor and be on time. If you're running later than usual, make other pick-up arrangements. A teacher does not get paid overtime for waiting.
2 Don't Linger
"Most teachers like talking and catching up after class, but before class? Drop the kid off and leave; there's too much to plan and sort to just linger and talk."
As a parent, all we can think about is making sure our child has everything they need for the day. Getting caught up in watching them explore their class happens from time to time, but making it a habit can make it harder for the teacher to get things started. It's also tough for the child to do their morning routine in class if they know mommy or daddy is nearby.
1 Sick? Stay Home!
This has to be the number one pet peeve for many daycare teachers: if your child is sick, keep them home. It's one thing to see signs for a cold and try to nurse it before it becomes something worse, but when your child is throwing up or going to the bathroom repeatedly... yeah, stay home.
Illnesses spread like wildfire in daycares — including the teachers. So keep your child (and everyone else) safe by nursing them back to health before coming back to class.
Your kids are young enough to spare a few days of class. Plus, they're kind of useless when they show up to school sick. They'll just want to sleep and cuddle in a room filled with screaming kids.