Did I Pick the Wrong Daycare? (Concerns about Daycare's Policies)
Berkeley Parents Network >
Did I Pick the Wrong Daycare?
My infant recently started at a highly recommended large
family daycare. I've seen a few things that have raised some
flags, and I'm hoping that some parents with daycare
experience can give me some perspective. The issues include
baby napping on her stomach with blankets, napping on an
adult bed, taking only one nap per day because she ''refused
to go to sleep,'' and microwaving bottles.
I've already addressed the stomach sleeping issue, but how
would you handle this? I really like the people and want to
make it work, and I understand that concessions have to be
made in a daycare setting. Is it worth talking to them about
all of this, should I look elsewhere for child care, or
should I expect these types of issues at all family daycares?
I would remove my child at once, but that is just me. The
things you have observed are dangerous to your baby (and
other peoples babies, in their care). NEVER EVER should a
bottle be microwaved, it creates hot spots in the formula,
and it will break down breast milk so its not good any more.
If your baby or the ones you saw sleeping on their tummy
are too young to roll on their own they are being put in a
compromising sleep position same goes with or adult bed. If
your committed to staying with them I would start by bring a
sleep sac or two and say please use this on my child not
blankets and never ever warm the bottle in the microwave or
make them ahead of time, it's better served up room temp
than burning your baby. But if that is just what you
observed what is going on that you don't see? Sounds like
the care takers lack good judgment, which is not your place
to teach it to them.
move on mama
Our 3rd child is now in daycare and the older two children
were also in daycare when they were little. With all of
them I have had to switch daycares at least once in order
to find the daycare that was perfect for me.
I am certainly not an expert, but I definitely have
experience in this. I think you should go with what you
know is right and what isn't. I have been swayed by
other's opinions about a daycare just to find out that I
thought that they were actually not good at all. That
doesn't mean that the other parents are out to lunch.
Their priorities are just different from yours.
Only you can decide whether it is okay to continue with
this daycare or not. Obviously, your standards are quite
different from theirs. Will a conversations about the
issues actually change their standards?
I know how you must feel right now, 'cause I have felt
that way also in the past. It's so frustrating and a real
problem. I have always confronted the daycare provider
with the issues that I saw and they were eventually never
resolved. In the end, I pulled my child and ALWAYS found a
daycare that was a much better fit for me and my child.
Hang in there!
Wow, the microwaving bottles is definitely not good. It
sounds like there are too many issues there... I'd look
for something else.
I work at an agency that trains family child care providers
so I have seen lots of providers and programs over the
years. It is true that they generally aren't run like a
child care center but you can (and, in my opinion, should)
definitely insist that your provider follow basic safety
standards such as ensuring that infants sleep on their
backs, without soft blankets. Unfortunately there are many
providers do the questionable things you describe, but there
ARE providers that take things like this quite seriously, so
if your provider won't, I strongly recommend that you move
your child to one that will.
Bottom line: It is NOT inappropriate for you to expect that
your child's basic needs are met, so don't hesitate to
express your concerns in a respectful way. You also might
offer them resources to help them learn how to do manage
things like napping in a busy family child care environment.
For example, you could refer them to their local Resource
and Referral agency for free child care trainings.
(Bananas, for the Oakland/Berkeley area, has LOTS of
trainings for child care providers.) Family child care is
very hard work, and sometimes providers just need support in
figuring out how to manage it all. However, if your
provider won't work with you, look elsewhere.
My 9-month old daughter started daycare when she was about
5 months old. She seems to have adjusted well. I don't
know if some of the issues I've had are common - and
should be expected, if not tolerated - or if I should say
something and expect something different. I don't want to
be unreasonable, but yet I feel I should do everything in
my power to make sure my daughter's daycare experience is
a positive, safe, and healthy one. I apologize for the
length of this, but would appreciate your feedback and
experience on the following:
1) Diapers - It's not uncommon for me to pick her up and
find she has a soiled diaper that seems to have been that
way for more than a couple hours, and/or horrible diaper
rash that was not there before. The policy for this
daycare is to check diapers every 2 hours. I don't know
that the caretakers stick to this schedule. My daughter
was treated for a UTI not long ago, which the Dr.
indicated could be a diaper changing issue. I also notice
on occasion that her bum is not completely wiped clean.
2) Environment - My daughter is a happy, energetic,
engaged, playful, and curious baby when she's at home with
us, but appears to be on the reserved (yet observant) side
when at daycare. I am wondering if this is not unusual. I
understand there may just be too much stimulation so she
decides to sit back and observe. But I am hoping the noise
and ''activity'' level are not stressful for her.
3)Sick/coughing caretakers - On more than a few occasions,
a caretaker has gone to work sick. I asked a caretaker how
she was feeling after she'd been out, and she told me she
was feeling feverish but hadn't yet called the doctor. I
realize that the caretakers probably don't get paid if
they are out sick, and the daycare center may have few
back-up providers. However, is it unreasonable to expect
caretakers who are coughing, sneezing, have fevers, etc.,
to stay home until their symptoms are gone, or at least a
practice that requires such caretakers to stay home?
4)Lost items - clothes, blankets, pacifiers, bottles,
etc. - On occasion, my daughter's belongings have been
lost or misplaced. One day I picked her up and she had
another baby's pacifier in her mouth. Is it unreasonable
to expect a system to limit these kinds of mix-ups?
Another parent had shared with me once that her son came
home with some other boy's shoes and she was not happy.
Thank you for your thoughts!
In Need of Reality Check
I operate a small family day care home where the majority
of children are in diapers. I change diapers every 2-3
hours or AS NEEDED. A soiled diaper is usually obvious and
always tended to immediately. There is no excuse for not
cleaning a child properly.
Yes, it is unreasonable to have a sick, feverish person
caring for your child. I understand it's a tough situation,
but what you described is unacceptable.
Lost or misplaced items is a common problem in group care.
The best way to minimize the problem is for parents to
label everything possible. Go crazy with the sharpie (even
pacifiers) Even so, sometimes a parent or provider will
grab the wrong sweater or jacket. In the case of shoes,
they must have been very similar for the parent not to
notice. There really isn't a fool proof method, but
compared to dirty bottoms and sick providers, this is small
Oakland day care provider
I dont have my baby in day care so I'm probably not the best person to answer
this question, but I do have part time childcare help. My first question to your
post is I'd really like to know what you pay to have your child in this day care. It
really scares me if this is the average daycare out there. I cannot even imagine
some of the things occuring to my child that you are describe.
Is this day care licensed? Are there certain rules a licensed day care needs to
follow? Like changing dirty diapers on a regular basis? not having sick
employees come to work? etc. I would be alarmed with the things you mention
too. If I were you, I would look for a more hygenic daycare for your child, and
ask about all these issues during the interview process.
distressed about day care
All the issues you raise are unacceptable in my mind. Our
daycare *never* had any of those problems, ever. The
director wouldn't have tolerated it.
I suggest you switch to a better daycare. Your #2 especially
makes me sad. My children came home from daycare happy and
excited about their day. It sounds like the director of your
daycare does not have high enough standards, may not be
paying the staff enough if they are encouraged to come to
work sick, or may not be hiring enough staff in order to
squeeze a bit more profit out of the operation.
It doesn't have to be this way! With the tough economy,
there are many great daycares and nannies looking for kids
to take care of. It's a buyer's market these days. I'd
suggest you interview a few other places.
Are these mistakes random or consistent? Have you addressed
them with her caregiver?
Is your daughter quiet when you drop her off? Do you think
she is like that all day? Drop off and pick up time are a
major emotional transition for a child, to go from home to
school environment. Do you really think that your infant
just sits and watches the entire day?
Ask for a meeting with your daughter's caregiver. You have
the right to bring up these issues, and the best person to
bring these concerns to is your daughter's teacher. If then
the issues are not corrected, ask for a meeting with the
teacher and the next person in charge.
If it were my daughter, I would pull her. The lost items
aren't such a big deal (though having another kid's pacifier
is pretty gross -- I would label your daughter's with her
name and always leave the same, brightly colored one(s)
there so they get used to what hers look like). But in one
of the few observable parts of her care, how well they
diaper her, they are clearly failing. Your daycare clearly
isn't changing her often enough. It's enough that it has
made her sick. That's not okay. We have 3 kids and have
sent them to 3 different daycares, and all the daycares have
offered to change the kids' diapers when I was leaving if
they were soiled.
I also have real issues with sick providers and your
daughter hanging back after 4 months in care.
It seems like your gut is telling you that something is
wrong, and frankly, from your posting, I think you're right.
Please don't ignore your feelings on this one; the best
thing may be to find another daycare.
Please TAKE YOUR CHILD OUT of that daycare immediately! It is not
acceptable that your child is so neglected there that she has to stay in a
soiled diaper for 2 hours! Any reputable daycare will be tuned in to your
child enough to notice a dirty diaper quickly and properly clean her. the
fact that she's had an infection due to the daycare's negligence is horrible!
You absolutely have the right to expect your child be kept clean and
healthy. Your child is giving you clues in the way she behaves that are
saying ''I'm not happy here!!'' You are her advocate and protector so do
your job and take her out of there. Here's your reality check, so do the
right thing!!!! I would also urge you to report this place to the licensing
agency with the hope that future families won't end up in your situation.
I didn't need to get past point one. Checking for soiled
diapers every two hours is a good back up policy but if no
one is interacting with your daughter enough to notice she
needs changing, that's problem. It's time to find a new day
care provider. Your daughter deserves more attention.
Hello there. These problems are real. It is unacceptable to
come pick your baby up and find her wearing a soiled
diaper. Checking the diaper every two hours is a good
policy but you should expect that the diaper is changed
whenever soiled, every time. It seems to me this is a large
day care center, and I supposed these are common problems.
But I would speak up and bring my concerns with a tone of
authority (if not threatening) to the main person as well
as to the other workers. What about checking in with the
other parents at the day care and even try to meet with
them outside of the center? I think it is totally worth
it. I also would be concerned to find my baby girl
behaving more reserved, I think this is a good signal she
is not thriving at this place. Without rushing maybe it is
a good time to start looking for another place?
I remember a line from Gavin deBecker's book ''Protecting
the Gift'' which said, ''If you feel the urge to put a nanny-
cam in, so you can watch how your child is being cared
for, then your instincts are telling you, it is not a good
situation and you should find other arrangements.''
Leaving our precious babies in child care is hard enough,
we HAVE to be able to trust that the care is top notch.
The only thing you mentioned that I wouldn't worry about
is your child's quiet, observant demeanor. If your child
gets like that in other situations with lots of people and
commotion, it is likely an inborn personality trait and
nothing to worry about. You could talk to your child care
providers about your concerns, but the underlying issue is
their values are misaligned with yours.
If you need child care help, my mother-in-law is wonderful
and available. (Former preschool teacher). Email me if you
like and good luck!
Your concerns about your daycare seem completely
legitimate to me. Follow your gut and do not be afraid to
speak up. I would not hesitate to share your concerns
loudly and often with the daycare people - and other
parents. You can do it in a nice, but direct way. Don't be
shy or feel badly about doing so. The diaper thing is
serious. I remember this happening twice to my girl when
she was a baby in daycare. I'd pick her up and smell an
awful stinky diaper. It made me mad! But I just made a
point of saying, Hey! there's a stinky diaper here!! and
changing her then and there at the daycare changing table
while the caregiver watched and apologized and fretted. It
would be totally unacceptable to me if my child hadn't
been properly wiped and had a diaper rash. They need to
pay better attention. And the UTI issue is serious. Did
you share the doctor's comment with the daycare?
The sick caregivers is also very serious. My god!
Feverish? Give me a break. Stay home! The daycare needs
add'l people to cover for the ones with fever.
Lost items? That is annoying. They should definitely have
a system in place to keep track of which things belong to
which child, especially pacifiers! Good grief. They sound
very disorganized. Good luck and hope things improve and
turn around immediately. If not, move on. I know it's hard
to swich daycares, but it sounds like this place is sub-
I think all these issues are, in fact, both normal aspects
of group care AND something to speak to the caregivers
about. Re: #1 and #4, I think these are issues where good
intentions sometimes go by the wayside in a busy daycare
environment, and sometimes caregivers start to assume that
it's OK as long as the parents aren't complaining. So just a
gentle questioning from you upon dropoff/pickup will
probably remind them to resume their good habits.
1) Diapers - keep on them about this. At your next dropoff,
ask for more specifics about the diaper changing schedule,
and let them know that your ped indicated that your baby's
diaper must be changed more often. (Even if this isn't
*exactly* how the dr put it, it will help you feel better
about not being a ''complainer'' if you can attribute it to
2) Environment - I think this is a pretty normal behavioral
difference between social and home environments. Kids are at
their most relaxed and uninhibited when at home with their
parents. I would say keep an eye on this but don't stress
about it unless she seems really unhappy at daycare rather
than just observant.
3) Sick caretakers - this is a problem and I understand your
concern. Your caregivers may not have paid sick days or
health insurance, and may be sick many days out of each
month given that they work w/kids. This is a difficult
problem to solve, but you might start with a conversation
with the caregiver/director about the staff's sick leave
policy, whether they have enough backup to cover an absent
staff member, etc. Their awareness of your concern is at
least a starting point.
4) Lost items - this is a problem at every daycare I've been
involved with. It takes real conscientiousness on the
caregivers part to keep track of all the clothing and
accessories, and some do it better than others. Here are
some things you can do: ask about their policies/procedures
for getting discarded items back to the right cubbies, etc.
Let them know that it's been a problem for you. Also, label
obsessively if don't already. Last, get to know the other
parents so you can ask them directly about whether anyone
has seen your lost hat, etc. Parent email lists are SO
helpful in daycare. My daycare NOW does a pretty good job
with keeping track of stuff (after complaints), but every so
often we bring back a piece of misplaced clothing or a lunch
container. Not a big deal b/c we know the other parents are
returning our stuff too.
On some notes I dont see a problem. My son is very shy at
daycare, preferring to observe and not always sit in circle
time; so thats not so bad. Also, my daycare which is great
but always losing stuff. He comes home with other kids
clothes and lunch containers etc. This upsets me and is a
sign that the daycare is not 100% on top of everything but
not a huge problem.
In my experience, if you think your daycare is not the best
for your child; then its probably worse than you think. It
is a natural tendency to say ''all is well'' when its not;
because if its not you may feel like a bad parent and now
have to search for a new daycare and re-adjust your child
to a new place.
Although this wil be hard, sounds like this must be done.
How can someone care for your child when they are sick?
I think you have every right to be questioning these. I
have 2 sons both of whom were in a small home daycare from
about 6 months old to about 3 years old...all told we were
there about 5 years with the caregivers. In this home,
there were about 10-12 children and 2-3 adults (always 2,
1. I NEVER found either child in a soiled diaper. On a
couple of occasions they were being changed as I arrived as
they had just ''soiled.'' While I am sure they had a changing
routine as I have seen the kids line up for new diapers,
they also change ''on demand'' through out the day as the
child needs one. Never a dirty bum and I was the one
embarrassed if my child had diaper rash...it would have been
me who left the diaper on too long on the weekend (but
neither child had it more than a couple of times and never
2. Our daycare provider was extremely organized (each child
had a drawer, a regular crib to nap in, etc.) and never lost
a thing over the 5 years.
3. The 3 care providers are regulars and once I think she
brought in someone she has on call in case one of the 3 is
4. All the children always seemed busy and happy (other than
when they were eating which is the cutest affair where they
all eat together at little tables). They did regular art,
sang songs, had music on for dancing, someone in to play
I am so hopeful that ours was the norm and that yours is not
so that you can find a wonderful place too.
I've used three different daycares for my children, and
you are not being unreasonable at all. There are some
serious health and hygeine issues listed here, and if it
were me, I'd be looking for another daycare.
It's just unacceptable for a baby to be sitting in her own
poop for more than a few minutes, and diaper rashes should
be a rare occurrence. Most daycares make sure to change
the kids right before pickup because they know the parents
don't want to see their kid in a full diaper; if they
can't get it together at your place to do this, then
that's a major warning sign. I don't think it's
unrealistic to expect a caretaker with a cough to wear a
mask, especially this winter. If my kids have a fever,
they get sent home; the policy should be the same for the
staff. And if I found my kid chewing on another baby's
pacifier, I would flip out! My current daycare uses an
erasable pen to label all of the kids' stuff - bottles,
pacifiers, food jars, chewing toys - and there are no germ-
transmitting mix-ups. (My daughter occasionally comes home
with someone else's socks on, but I can live with that.)
You didn't say in your post, but if you're using a larger
daycare facility, you might want to consider a small home
daycare with less than 10 children. Your daughter might
not be so overwhelmed and shy at a small place, she'd get
more attention, and the caretakers can stay on top of
hygeine issues. You definitely can find a daycare that
does an excellent job eliminating all the issues you bring
up. Good luck!
I'm sorry but I had none of those issues with my family
daycare situation. A poopy diaper occassionally is nothing
but if it happens all the time that is an issue. My
provider always changed my son before I picked him up so
he'd be clean for the drive home. Sick workers should not
be care giving, and I would have been really upset to see
another child's pacifier in my son's mouth. I'd be looking
for a new situation personally. Good luck!
Have you raised your concerns to the director/owner/caretaker in charge? That
would be a first step. Personally, I would not have my kid continue. Doesn't
sound like a good situation for your child or a good fit over-all for your family.
I think your concerns are enough to warrant finding a new
daycare! There are so many wonderful ones reviewed on the
BPN, that I'm sure you can find something better. You are
not being unreasonable! Trust your mama's instincts.
Good to Love your Daycare
It seems like some of your issues are valid and should be
looked into. I run a small family daycare and deal with
most of these things.
I do think it is not okay for your child to be sitting in
soiled diapers for hours at a time. I normally do diaper
changes every couple of hours as well. Of course if a
diaper is super soggy or poopy, I change it as it needs to
be changed. No need to wait until a ''scheduled'' changing
time. I do one last change around 4 pm.(I close at 5:30)
Once again, if a child needs to be changed between then and
closing, I change it. Provides should also be applying
diaper cream as needed and wiping properly.
It can be common for children to act differently at daycare
than they do at home. She could be just taking it all in as
there is normally a lot going on at daycare. Especially if
you have her in a larger daycare. She is also young, and
will most likely begin to interact more as she grows.
As far as being sick, I have a general rule, for kids and
myself a like. If you have a cold, go a head and come. It
is almost impossible to keep colds out of daycare/preschool
situations. If there is a fever involved, stay home. If
you are not sure about symptoms, a call to the director
should be expected to check in. Since I work alone, I try
not to close, but if I am at risk of making the kids sick I
will do so.
Lost items here and there are to be expected. I would
suggest not sending your child in things that are very
special to you. It may also help to label your child's
things with a fabric marker. I provide all pacifiers and
bottles, sippy cups ect. That way I don't have to worry
about which belongs to who. If it is something like a
blanket and snuggly for sleeping, putting it in the child's
crib at the beginning of the day and placing it in cubbies
at the end can be helpful.
Hope this helps, but overall you should feel comfortable
with your child's daycare situation. I would talk to the
director, as communication between provider and parent is
I recommend calling the Community Care Licensing Division
Child Care Offices (part of the State's Dept of Social
Services). Here's the Bay Area office:
They should be able to tell you what are the standards are
and help you work with your daycare to improve things.
ALso, here's a national website and number:
(The woman at this number was extremely nice and eager to
help when I called them.)
Here are a few of my own thoughts:
1) Diapers -- I think this is unreasonable. A poopy diaper
should not go 2 hours (or more) before being changed. That
would definitely cause a diaper rash for many babies and
that would unacceptable to me.
3) NO WAY! The workers should never be feverish on the job,
but especially with the H1N1 (swine) flu going around.
Those babies are at highest risk. You can check the CDC
guidelines, but I believe they say no one should return to
work until they are fever-free for 24 hours, and not for a
week from onset of a flu-like illness.
4) Clothes and pacifiers should not be exchanged! They
should be labeled (a sharpie usually works) and kept to the
I'm glad you're questioning these practices. They don't
seem at all right to me!! I hope you will pursue them with
Good luck! L
My 2 year old daughter has been in daycare full-time since
she was 3.5 months old so maybe our experience can help.
1. Checking every two hours seems pretty standard. I'm not
sure what you mean by soiled but if it's poop you of
course don't want it sitting there long. It's reasonable
to request increased vigilance -- and better care in terms
of wiping -- on the part of the caretakers. We've done
this before with our daycare teachers and they've always
readily honored our request. Enlist the doctor's concern
to help bolster your conversation. Our experience with
diaper rash is that it happens occasionally. Sometimes our
daughter has a ''stealth poo'' and it doesn't get caught for
a while. She develops a rash, sometimes a big one, but the
teachers are always concerned about it, bring it to my
attention and we all work diligently with diaper cream to
get rid of it.
2. I think she's just taking in all the activity. I
wouldn't worry. As she grows older, she'll probably feel
more confident in participating. For my daughter, the
activity around her was one of her favorite parts. She
loved watching older kids and what they did. I'm sure she
was just storing up all this information for when she
could try it herself.
3. Uh, yeah, sick caretakers should stay home. I'd speak
to the director about this. It's a serious concern.
4. I agree, it's annoying these lost, mixed up items. I've
learned to relax a little about this. I know, it's hard. I
label as much as I can. I try not to send super nice
clothing to daycare. I closely monitor my daughter's bin
to see what's there, what's missing. I, too, have picked
up my daughter only to see her with someone else's
pacifier. I was told she loves swiping others' pacis and
putting them in her mouth. Could this be happening with
your daughter? Just emphasize your concern, you don't want
to be sharing germs, the teachers need to catch this.
Communicate, communicate. I agree daycare is a little more
chaotic, but it has some very positive benefits. A good
daycare will listen to your concerns and work with you to
find a solution.
Knowing what to be ok with and not ok with at daycare can
be tough. Perhaps my experiences can give you an idea of
what to expect. I consider myself to be easygoing in terms
Generally, from your description, I would recommend you
start looking for another daycare provider. My 13-month
old has been with a small family day care (3-4 kids all
under 2 years, 2 to 3 workers) since he was two- and-a-
half months old. I'm pleased with the daycare.
1. Diapers - From what you describe, this does not seem
appropriate. Only on a few occasions has my son come home
with a wet diaper, and never with a poopy diaper. When
it's wet it's not very wet. He's only had one bout of
diaper rash--related to starting cows milk. I don' think
they have a 2-hour rule, but rather change the diaper when
it's wet or dirty.
2.Environment- I think you need to use your best judgement
here--you know your daughter best. My son loves daycare.
He reaches out to be held by the main caregiver when I
drop him off, and hugs and kisses her. At the end of the
day, he's tired, but his usual self. The caregivers are
observant and receptive enough to realize what he likes
(throwing balls, dogs, eating) and what he needs (alone
time to play by himself). Perhaps your daughter needs some
alone time while at daycare?
3. Sick/coughing caregivers. Sick workers, and certainly
feverish workers, should not be around the kids. This has
not been a problem for us, but let me relay a story which
exemplifies what I consider responsible behavior. This
spring, a family member of one of the part-time workers at
my daycare was hospitalized with the flu. As soon as the
provider found out, she sent the worker home, despite the
fact that the worker was not sick. We were told that day
when we came to pick up our kids. The worker didn't come
back until after it was clear she didn't get the flu.
4.Lost Items--I wouldn't be too worried abou this, as long
as you eventually get your things back. My son comes home
with other kids' socks/clothes occasionally, but this
doesn't bother me. I wash them and return them. We've
never had pacifiers, bottles, blankets, or anything else
If you are considering changing providers, email me and I
can give you info for my provider. I think she has a full-
time spot to fill, though she may be looking for an older
Unreasonable & totally unacceptable. Find another place
My son was in a corporate daycare twice a week for 3 years,
and I never saw anything like you're describing. I'd
suggest you find a new place for your little sweetie.
Find a new daycare!
All those issues are good reasons to pull your child out
of that daycare and find a better one. Those things are
unacceptable and there's no excuses for them. That is a
badly run daycare.
You need to feel good about where your child is. 100% I'm
not a picky parent, but I wouldn't not put up with dirty
diapers, switched pacifiers, sick workers and those other
Hi there! I work in a daycare and think that your concerns
are pretty reasonable.
1) Talk to them about your concerns about diapering. My
colleagues and I dropped the ball on the diaper issue for a
period of time - primarily during staff change over (there
is a morning and evening staff). One parent, mentioned
their concern, we changed our 'turnover' procedures, and the
problem ended. Not cleaning well enough...yuck. we don't
have that problem. A friendly comment about your
observation should be enough.
2) Daycare can be overstimulating for little ones. My
personal opinion -- if you can hire a nanny or nanny-share
until your child is 2 or 2 1/2, it is a far better situation
than daycare. After that, preschool or daycare complemented
with a nanny or nanny-share is preferable in my view. We
love our charges. They are hugged, held, played with, etc.
But we are 2 on 12 to 16...not 1 on 2 or 3. Mental
downtime isn't as 'do-able' in a daycare.
3) Yup. This happens. At our daycare, we have two on-call
subs and a very flexible staff. No one (except the owner
and director) is full time. We are always willing to cover
for someone. But, probably, every other week, a staff
member ends up working with 'something,' because there just
isn't anyone who can take. What really is the other option?
Call you and tell you that you can't bring your child in
because you can't come up with the requisite number of
care-givers to maintain state ratios?
4) Send in everything to the daycare labeled. Mention that
you have sent in everything labeled (even the pacifier) so
that it doesn't get mixed up with any other child's
belongings. I amazed at how many parents do not label what
they send into daycare. Regardless, mix-ups do happen. A
Kid doesn't care if a binky belongs to her or not...if she
finds one on the floor, what is to stop her from popping it
in her mouth? We usually catch it, but not instantly. I
may be changing a diaper while the other staff person is
reading a story. Five minutes (or ten) later, one of us
will notice that the wrong pacifier is in the wrong mouth.
Do talk to your caregivers. Treat them like any colleague
at work with whom you collaborate on a project (because,
that is what they are doing - collaborating with you to
raise your child). If at least the diapering situation
doesn't change, then I would look somewhere else.
I would say at least two of your concerns (Environment and Lost Items) sound
just like my experience, but the other two did cause me to raise my eyebrows
(Diapers and Sick caregivers). My daughter is 2.5yrs old and has been in her
daycare since 4months old. The lost items is just totally normal & always
irritating -- mark everything. The switch of pacifiers is a little more
problematic, because of germs; I would expect they try to minimize that but
its still going to happen (ours marked everything -- bottles, pacifiers,
suncream, etc -- with different colored electrical tape per kid to make it
easier). She also is exuberant at home, but is a more jut sit back and watch at
school (she's youngest in class too); it has changed a bit more as she's older,
but I also can now really see that its her personality and daycare didn't 'cause'
it. More importantly is how the caregivers react and whether she seems to be
getting attention she needs as well as the calm she might want, etc. Mine
really know her and recognize that 'she needs her space' and just try to
balance her needs with other kids who want to get in everyone's face and love
If you mean poop in her diaper that's clearly been sitting there, they should
change when they notice it regardless of their schedule (there were times
when she was perfectly wiped, but nothing dramatic). If you mean pee, its
hard to evaluate. Our school actually recorded (for themselves) all their
changes so they could keep track, and I was in the class a lot and could see
that they had a clear schedule so it was just impossible that kids weren't
getting changed regularly. It sounds like a possibly a problem from what you
Ours is a big daycare so there is paid sick leave and I think our caretakers
follow the same rules as the kids in terms of coming to school sick, so they
wouldn't come if they were feverish but would if they had one of the many
colds that go around making them cough and sniffle. That said, I would note
that someone who has just started working with kids will be sick ALL THE
TIME until they pick up immunities (its a common phenonomena) which could
make them feel that it might endanger their job, so maybe there is something
of that kind going on if its a particular caregiver. But the daycare should still
take care that it doesn't happen.
Wow, I'm so glad you posted with your concerns. I am an
Early Intervention Specialist, and have worked in numerous
infant daycare centers before/during my years at school, and
have observed at dozens more. I feel comfortable in my
certainty that your daughter's caretakers are NOT
responsibly meeting her needs.
While I don't want you to panic over this, these issues are
serious cause for alarm. It is beyond inappropriate -- and
indeed a serious health risk and severe lack of responsible
care -- that your daughter sits in a soiled diaper. Once or
twice could be understandable, but severe diaper rash? UTIs?
The fact that this happens frequently? Totally unacceptable.
Furthermore, after four months in the same environment, it's
surprising to me that your daughter is exhibiting marked
personality differences between home and daycare... Perhaps
she is just this way while warming up -- how long have you
had time to observe her there? Is she only
reserved/observant during the time when she's transitioning
away from mom and into daycare? It raises some alarm, but
of course I don't know all the details, and every child is
Childcare providers should not come to work sick, but
unfortunately it is more common than not. I work with a
highly at-risk population, so my co-workers and I are ultra
vigilant about staying home when sick, but for the most
part, those of us who work with children are extra
susceptible and it's not uncommon for daycare providers and
preschool teachers to have what seems like a perpetual cold.
Finally, lost items-- well, a shoe mixup is pretty common,
but adults need to be vigilant about putting another child's
pacifier in your daughter's mouth. That's ridiculous, and
grossly irresponsible. Such cross-contamination should
never happen in a responsible daycare.
You have good cause for alarm. I would not stay at this
daycare -- the diaper issue alone is pretty bad. None of
this I say to make you feel guilty or bad -- on the
contrary, I praise you for bringing up these issues and
realizing the possibility of a problem here. If you feel
comfortable, I'd even mention the name of the daycare so
others know where NOT to attend.
Bananasinc.org, the Bay Area resource for parents and
childcare providers has an excellent article under
resources, called Childcare Complaints: How to Avoid Them
and What To Do About The Ones You Can't.
''Suggestions for Parents with Complaints
-Speak out- sitting on a problem won't solve it.
-Find a time when both parties can talk freely.
-Keep the child (and other families and children) out of a
dispute, don't be tempted to complain to other parents in
-Listen to the other person; there are always at least two
sides to every story.
-Be as clear as possible about what you would like to see
happen (or never happen again)
-Try to leave any meeting with some kind of understanding,
even if you and the provider agree to disagree, and the
child moves on to other care.''
As a childcare professional, I know that caregivers
level of experience may vary, so please give them the
benefit of the doubt and speak to them!
I work at a center that has a policy about changing diapers
every two hours. I can assure you that is just posted
general minimum guidelines for training staff and
substitutes. It does not mean that an infant is sitting in
poop for two hours.
Urinary tract infections can also be caused by other things,
such as dehydration. Infants may be in childcare 8 hours a
day but they are home for 16. It is just as likely that the
illness may have started at home.
Infant teachers do come to work at times when they are not
feeling 100% out of a sense of duty caring for the group. As
infants respond to those they are attached to. It is very
hard on most infants to be cared for by a substitute.
Neither is it an easy job for a substitute to just walk in
and attend to each infant's personal style.
I do hope you find a way to communicate with your child's caregiver,
or move on if you can not communicate your issues.
I just started sending my 14 months old to his first daycare. It
is a small home-based care and usually have 8-9 kids including 2
infants. We just started and today is second day, so I guess it
is too early to tell something. But I just talked to my provider
on the phone this morning, and can't concentrate on my work since
then. I would like to hear any advice from experienced parents.
His first day, yesterday, was okay. My husband and I stayed there
for about 30 min, and my kid even smiled and raised his hand when
we were leaving. Although he didn't eat much and had slight
diarrhea. But today, the provider almost snatched him at the door
and wouldn't even let me in. Of course, my son was crying as the
door shut closed. After about half an hour, I called the daycare
just to see if he is doing okay, not crying so hard. But then the
lady almost sounded like preaching me that I am concerned too
much and crying is natural and he will be doing the same thing at
any place. I totally understand what she said, but the tone of
her voice was as if she was really annoyed by my phone call, and
I don't know if she gets annoyed so much by a phone call from a
concerned first time parents, then how she can handle little kids
I thought I found the right place, but now everything seemed
really bad, like every time I visited the place they were feeding
the kids only cereal and milk (even afternoon), and they don't
take the kids out for a walk. Should I start looking for another
place or wait and see how things are going?
Any advice will be sincerely appreciated. Thank you so much.
We have three girls, and although the eldest is now 12, I still regret
leaving her in a
home daycare where the day care provider rubbed me the wrong way! She,
seemed to brush off my concerns, and her comments still annoy me to this
When I compare my feelings about her to the feelings I had with my other
home daycare providers, I am filled with sadness that my eldest did not
loving and comfortable experience that her sisters had.
If I could do it over again, I would take her out in a second, even if
it meant missing
a week of work to find another situation! Your daycare provider should
YOU to tell you that your baby was fine and that you could relax.
Good luck; I do not miss those days at all!
Mom of three school-aged kids
The part of your post where you said you were so bothered that you
get any work done really struck a chord with me. Your daycare doesn't
understand that their job is not ONLY looking after your child, but also
tending to YOUR needs. You are paying for good care for your child
AND peace of mind for YOU. You're not getting what you're paying for
I don't care if you ARE an anxious, overly nervous,
new mom. Is there some other kind? If your daycare can't deliver
peace of mind to moms of babies, then they aren't doing their job.
Tell them "I'm sure you are providing good care for my child, but I
am not getting what I need from you," and spell it out for them.
Even though I suspect this caregiver isn't great with the kids either,
by putting it this way you avoid feeling like you need to have a lot
of evidence against them. You don't need to build a case that they have
neglected your child. Find a new daycare. They've failed YOU. And you
Trust your gut -- look for something else. You are paying this
woman to look after your child and communicating effectively and
civilly with you is a crucial part of your relationship with her.
If it's not working then you will just worry too much and stress
Yes, it's normal to cry and your son might take a few weeks to
adjust (to any new place) but her attitude seems poor. Also, no
walks and cereal in the afternoon? Do the kids get fruit or
cheese or bread or other snacks?
A less than great relationship with the provider is enough reason
to move on.
You should follow your gut, and it sounds like it says get out.
My childs first week at daycare was fantastic, I felt super comfortable
with our provider
and she never ever had problems with us calling or coming by. Your
provider works for
you and should be patient and understanding and kind!
The food thing is bothersome as well. I've dropped by at different times
homecooked meals and different variety of snacks have been served at our
I'd be concerned too!
Please don't let anyone make you feel less for being concerned
about your child. You are their only defense system and you can
read them better than anyone else. A little time has probably
passed since you posted this, so I hope that you've had a few
more days to evaluate if this is the daycare for you and your
son. Good communication is essential for a daycare. If you feel
that that isn't possible, then you should consider changing.
Your 14-month old can't communicate with (many) words yet, so
you need to look at his indicators and observe how he is being
We were once in a similar situation with our (then) 14-month
old daughter and I thought that maybe it was just me, because
there were other children there and obviously those parents
didn't have issues. But your relationship with the daycare
provider is unique and needs to be excellent. Not every
parent/child matches up well with the daycare provider. This
becomes a fairly close relationship so if the chemistry isn't
there and you don't feel comfortable, you should definitely
I think that it is healthy to go inside when you drop off your
child. In fact, I still do it with our son's daycare. I go in
and hang out for a bit before I leave. He went through a period
where he would cry when I left and during that time there were
a few occasions where I just dropped him at the door. However,
under normal circumstances I always go in and get him settled
before I leave.
Go with your instincts and act accordingly!
Two words: CHANGE DAYCARES!! There are so many wonderful
childcare environments where you and your child can both feel
nurtured. While your baby may continue to cry no matter where
you leave him, you should not feel intimidated by your child
care provider, rather you should feel confident and taken care
of yourself. Remember, this is your baby and you have every
right to be on top of whomever is caring for him. There are
people out there who know this and would expect nothing
different. We have been lucky to find several wonderful
situations for both of our children. Good luck!
only the best for your child
YES!!!! For sure, absolutely, immediately. I just went through
this myself, and if you're already having doubts, it won't get
better. I'm not trying to be a Debbie Downer here. With your
kid it is better for you and everyone involved to feel
comfortable. The home daycare we picked first seemed great, but
upon closer inspection wasn't what i thought it was. The daycare
provider wouldn't let my 5 month old take naps in the morning,
insisting that babies had to adjust to the schedule that she set.
She got pushy, and didn't listen when it came to my preferences
for daytime napping and then tried to swindle us out of our
deposit when we chose to go elsewhere.
Go with your gut. It's your kid. There is always a reason to
have a plan B.
I found your message heartbreaking. Of course, the only
information I have is what you stated in your letter, but based
on that information I would say switch day care ASAP. My first
nanny share situation seemed great beforehand but quickly into
it, things didn't seem quite right. We only kept it a month
and I wish we had stopped much earlier. Of course, it is
heartbreaking to have a baby cry, and sometimes they will and
things will settle down in a few days. But you HAVE to have
confidence in the provider to help you with this. She doesn't
sound like a partner. Perhaps a nanny share would be easy to
find on short notice and you might find it is not too much more
expensive than day care. Best of luck in your decision.
While your daycare provider may be right about how children
deal with separation, I would be concerned about the
communication style she's setting up. Your ability to
communicate openly and effectively with your child's care
provider is extremely important. It seems that this person's
style is exclusionary to the parent(s), which probably has the
effect of making her life easier, but this may continue to be
an issue in the long run. Or it may simply be a matter of
style, and you two are not a good match communication-wise. The
other things you mention -- especially not getting outside --
would worry me too, but it seems that your ability to
communicate with her about how your child is doing is paramount
in considering whether this is the right provider for your
I strongly encourage all parents to listen to their instincts if
something seems wrong. If the daycare doesn't seem right to you,
and if you are not comfortable with your child there, you should
start looking for another.
Dear First Week,
I say go with your gut. This person is being insensitive and
rude in my opinion. I'm a first time mama of a 10 month old
son. He's be with his in-home daycare provider since he was 4
mos old (found on BPN!) and she let me call, and call, and call
those first weeks. She giggled at me, but she had the patience
to explain how he was doing, how he was eating, how much he
pooped. I was a nervous wreck and thank goodness she
understood! Don't ever let anyone snatch your child at the
door and slam it!! If this person is brushing you off...what
are they doing while your child is their care?
I know it's hard, I often question my own irrationality when it
comes to my son. But it's yours, and you have every right to
explore it and own it.
Don't question ''you'', question ''them'' until you feel better.
Or find a person that feels right in your gut. I have a
recommendation if you live in the Oakland, Laurel Dist.
I can't tell you how many times I worried (often over nothing),
called, stayed longer in the morning, came back early, asked
for reassurances if I had to drive away while my daughter was
crying. NOTHING would make the pre-school teacher my daughter
had ever use a scolding or insulting tone with me or any of the
parents. Even when she had to inform someone of rules, or
disagree, there was always a respectful tone. Not to mention,
anyone could stay as long as they needed to in the morning (but
most were out by circle time so as not to be distracting). Does
the teacher seem loving and kind to the kids? I might give it a
little time, see how your child seems to feel, soak in your
impressions over the course of a week, maybe talk to other
parents?? But if you keep feeling bad, trust your instincts.
Go with your gut. It's hard for both the child and parent when
the child starts daycare and a good daycare will know this and
will help you through the transition as well. My first daycare
would call me a minute or so after I left to tell me my son had
stopped crying and was doing fine. Most daycares have snacks of
fruit and crackers. Cereal sounds not so great to me. I say
wait a week or so. If you still have bad feelings and they
aren't nicer to you and your child, then take your child
somewhere else. You should be allowed to stay with your child
for a minute or so before leaving him there. Erg...
I know it's a hassle, but I'd pull your child out of that daycare and
find another one.
There are many great home based child care facilities in the Bay Area.
The fact that
this woman would not let you in the front door on day 2 (!) and gave you
a hard time
for calling is a huge red flag. Your instincts about outdoor play (or
lack thereof) and
snacks are correct. Most kids need time to adjust to a new arrangement.
provider won't work with you on this, and tries to make you feel badly
about it, then
you should take your business and child elsewhere.
Hi - I sympathize with your situation. Trust your gut instincts.
I think something seems odd about the daycare situation myself
and will likely not change. I say trust your instincts!
trust your gut
They sound very unprofessional. I would go with my instincts
and look for a more caring environment.
I strongly believe you should listen to your gut. Not knowing the
specific daycare to
which you refer, I can't say definitely whether anything hinky really is
going on, but
you clearly are not comfortable with this situation, which makes it a
bad fit, in my
Also, just for the record, I have to say that I'd be mighty livid (and
suspicious) if I
was actually denied entrance to the daycare facility on day 2, with my
away from me and crying. Moreover, when parents call their daycare to
check in on
their child/voice a concern, I believe they are entitled to have their
addressed, not blown off with a condescending and preachy retort. (I
think a good
daycare staff will even extend a little extra tolerance/hand-holding to
parents.) So, yes - if I were in your shoes, I'd start looking for an
makes both you and your child happy. You know what's best for your
child. Best of
luck to you - I know the transition to daycare is not easy.
Feeling for You...
You should feel comfortable about where your child is. If you
don't feel you have a positive relationship with the provider,
then your child will sense that. It is often harder on a parent
then a child to be at day care but the provider should be as
empathetic to the parent as they are to the child.
I have left my son at two different day cares, we moved so we
needed to change and now we are soon starting a thrid, since he
is older we are moving him to a large family rather then the
small family day care he is at.
The new place prefers parents not stay more than 5 minutes at
pick up or drop off but we talked about transitioning him with
either parent staying about 1/2 to 1 hour on the first day and
maybe 30 minutes on the next until we feel he is comfortable. I
work full time outside the home and my husband is the one to
bring and pick up our son so I have little contact with the day
care provider. I plan to call daily and she knows that. If she
is not OK with it, we would not put our child there.
You have a right to be concerned and all about your son anytime.
The other side of the coin though, if she is on the phone, she
is not with the children so keep that in mind when you call.
Keep questions short and try to call during nap times.
Again, bottom line, if you are not comfortable, work it out with
her or leave.
touchy feeling mom
Your post almost made me cry. That first week is so tough on a
mom, and it's mean that your daycare provider isn't sensitive to
that. Not sure how you chose that place, but if there are any
other good options around I'd consider trying a different one
before your child gets all settled in. I had a great feeling
about my daycare provider right away and have always felt that
my boy is being well taken care of and that my needs are
respected (one year later). You deserve the same. Hang in there.
That daycare does not sound like a good place. They should
help you with the transition of dealing w/dropping off your sad
toddler and they should welcome all calls from you and they
should not just be feeding them cereal and milk in the middle
of the day. Those are all things that are unexcusable in my
Dealing with having your toddler at a daycare is hard enough -
I've been there - so the place you chose has to be 110% to your
liking or else it'll make a difficult situation (dealing w/a
sad toddler) that much more difficult for you.
Switch. You'll be much happier elsewhere.
It is never easy leaving your child with someone else because
noone will take care of your child the way you do. Even with my
own mother, I found things to complain about because she didn't
do it ''right'' or because that's not what's recommended these
days, AND I feel that my mom did an excellent job raising her 6
children. You have to make compromises. I was not thrilled that
my son's state-of-the-art brand new daycare facility did not
seem to know the very basics of infant feeding and nutrition.
For example, they did not know the basics of handling
breastmilk, and fed my son foods that were inappropriate for his
age. But over all they provided a lot of stimulus and age
appropriate and developmental activities, and most importantly,
my son was happy (though it did take him a couple of weeks to
adjust). So I made compromises because the feeding part,
although not ideal, was something I could be vigilant and nag
the caregivers about.
Having said this though, please go with your gut feeling. If
your instinct is telling you something is not right, there's
probably something not right.
It's always tricky to weigh in with only one side of the story,
but I will tell you this much. (1) As a ''new'' parent, the
caregiver should have been more understanding of your need to
check in. My son was having a freak out when I dropped him off
one day and an hour later, his daycare called ME to tell me that
he was fine and playing with the other infants. (2) If you
suspect the children are not receiving their proper meals, ask
the caregiver to give you their weekly menu, or to tell you what
your child ate that day. They should be ready to communicate
this to the parents. Or show up for lunch to volunteer and see
what they are serving. (3) My son has been at two daycares, and
both were amiable to parents sticking around for as long as the
parent felt it was necessary to help the transition.
Another thing is to stop by early during drop off time or pick
up time to have a chance to chat with the caregiver because you
two also need to get to know each other and get used to the new
And if all this still leaves you unconfortable, start your
search again and find another daycase.
I think you need to have an immediate, frank talk with your
daycare provider about your legitimate concerns. If you don't get
the kind of timely response and action you want, you should
switch providers, and the sooner the better. Transition time is
important, communication about your child is important, nutrition
and physical exercise are important. Don't settle for less than a
great situation for your child.
My 6 mo old daughter just started a new daycare 3 weeks ago. It's a
great place- very developmentally focused: in just four days there, she
went from a floppy bassinette baby to sitting up well on her own, playing
alone for 15-20 minutes, with excellent manual dexterity.
As early as day 2, though, the provider was complaining about the
amount that my daughter wants to be held. Monday, she left her to cry
most of the day, the longest uninterrupted stretch was 45 minutes.
Tuesday, my daughter slept ALL day.
Early Wednesday morning, I ended up with my daughter at hospital:
turns out she had an ear infection, and was in pain on Monday.
It really bothers me that the care provider is so inflexible about picking
up my daughter and holding her. The other children at the daycare have
been there a long time, and are securely attached. Even the provider's
supervisor thought that 45 minutes crying was excessive. Yet this place
is good developmentally...
I am trying to decide whether to switch my daughter now, or stick it out
another couple of months until my daughter is crawling and more
My heart goes out to your child. I don't think I would want to stay at
a day care like that. What if it had been more life-threatening? 45
minutes seems like a long long time to me. If I knew this was happening
at my son's daycare, I couldn't keep him there. I wouldn't worry too
much about teaching your child to sit up etc. I think a lot of day
cares will do this. I would want a place where my child felt loved and
In the couple of weeks since this post was submitted, we stuck it out
with the crying daycare. One day, quite by accident, the provider
discovered that my daughter loves it in the high chair. She flips out
when she's on the floor for playtime for more than 15 mintues but she's
peachy in the high chair, playing and watching everything from above. No
problems, no crying for a week!
Find a new day care. It is not ok to let a 6 month old in a new
environment cry it out. 6 month olds like (need) to be held.
Find a smaller facility, even a home day care that is more inclined to
give more personal care. Poor baby, and she was ill....... I'm sickened
to hear that they treated your baby that way.
I would listen to your instincts and find another daycare. You are
paying for the care provider to care for your child, and in my opinion
leaving a baby to cry for 45 minutes is absolutely UNACCEPTABLE-would
you continue to use a babysitter who let your child do this?
Also, it seems as if you started this daycare right before your child
turned 6 months old-most babies learn to sit at this age- it most likely
has NOTHING to do with the daycare. Honestly, if the care provider
won't even pick up your CRYING child, I would doubt she is spending much
time interacting with her when she is happy.
A 6 month old doesn't want to ''play'' on their own for long stretches
of time, what they really need (and want) is to have interaction with
adults. They naturally want to be held and interacted with. This is how
they learn about the world around them. Sitting on their own for long
stretches of time without interacting with others is not a stimulating
environment for them. And playing isn't going to happen until they are
much older. If the daycare can't provide it, I would find another.
Or if you can, try to do a nanny share where there is more intimate
involvement. This is a critical growth period for your child and they
need to be with someone that will give them physical touch constantly
and loving contact. A loving nanny who can devote her energy to him/her
would probably be a better option!
Your saying that the place is great seems mainly to be based on the fact
that in a week she went from being a floppy bassinette baby to sitting
up and playing--but that would have happened anyway! If they are
complaining about holding your baby, they are not great! Try to find
something else! It is one thing for them not to hold your baby as much
as you, the mom, would, but for them to complain to you about it is
really a red flag to me that they do not think babies need that much
attention and I don't see how they could be as ''developmental'' as you
get that baby out of there
I personally wouldn't care about how ''developmentally'' advanced a
child care center was if it wasn't grounded in love and understanding.
Your baby is only 6 months old! A little early in my opinion to trade
development for basic infant needs. The provider should have understood
that some babies just need to be held and coddled and protected... that
transitions are hard on babies, too. 45 minutes is excessive... plus she
was actually in pain, which makes it even worse. I think you will never
be able to get past this in your own head, even if you stay with them...
it will always bother you, and isn't the best way to start a caregiver
relationship. I say get out!
I bet you're going to get a lot of responses to this one, because it
certainly struck a chord in me. I think it's very strange, and not a
good sign, that the daycare provider would complain that your baby needs
to be held a lot when she's at a brand new place.
It makes total sense to me that on her very 1st day there she would want
to be held a lot, and the provider should expect that.
I also don't think it's appropriate to let a baby cry for 45 minutes w/o
holding her. It's interesting that the supervisor thought 45 minutes was
excessive -- did she tell the provider?
My personal philosophy is that at 6 mos, what's most important
developmentally is to be loved and held and cared for. If the provider
can't give your daughter that, what's so great about this place? (And
I'm not a total attachment parenting afficionado by any means, just
That said, I also know it's not that easy to find great day care.
I've made a few compromises to keep my daughter at a place that overall
I like. So maybe you could stick it out a couple more weeks and see if
your daughter seems to be happy there. You mention waiting until she's
more independent in a few months, but given my experience I don't think
at 9 mos she's suddenly going to become more independent; she'll still
be a little baby who will still need care, and hopefully she'll be with
a provider who can give it to her without resentment. I wish you the
best of luck.
I would run as fast as I could!!!!!!!!!! I feel awful on behalf of your
baby that a childcare provider- a stranger still to her- let her cry all
day. I don't mean to be alarmist but it sounds almost like child abuse
to me. This place is not so great developmentally if they think it is
strange that your 6 month old wants to be held alot. Don't they all????
concerned mother of 2
You say this daycare is ''developmentally focused''? I can't think of
anything a 6-month-old baby needs for her development more than to be
soothed, held and loved when she needs it most.
If it were me, I would run -- not walk -- away.
A baby holder
You know what? You need to go with your gut feeling. Don't worry about
how ''good'' this place is developmentally. It doesn't matter at this
point; your daughter will hit her milestones with or without learning
them at daycare. I would be much more concerned about the lack of
physical contact your baby is experiencing and how THAT is going to
affect her development in the long run. At the least, YOU are probably
going to have a hard time getting your work done, thinking about how
your kid is doing, hoping she's getting attention, etc. 6-month-olds
should not be left to cry for 45 minutes without being comforted. In
the Bay Area we are so lucky to have lots of caring providers and
daycare situations that nurture children. You can do better than where
you currently are!
You'll get a million posts on this, but I have to add my two cents. The
situation your child is in sounds really bad and I hope you can move her
elsewhere soon. Anyone who is not willing to be responsive to a child's
cries or need to be held (after two days away from mommy for the first
time, for crying out loud!) should not be working in childcare. And if
your child did make developmental leaps as she was starting daycare
(which I'm sure she would have made anywhere--they can't ''teach'' her
to sit up, she just becomes ready to do so), those new experiences could
make her fussy and clingy, as any halfway decent care provider should
know. I'll tell you, if my child appears even slightly under the
weather, her care providers are on the phone to us, suggesting we take
her in to the doctor. You can definitely find better care. Best of
luck, outraged on your behalf
Personally, I think that the daycare provider does not sound great at
all. Babies need to be held. In a few months she'll be crawling all
around and won't need it so much, but she does need it at this age. You
say you like the provider because it's ''developmentally-focused,''
which I find curious because most babies don't really need much help
(other than attention!) to develop - they do develop in spurts which is
why your baby has changed so much recently - it is not because of any
special training the daycare is providing. I would switch daycare
providers as soon as you can, and would not return.
Honestly, from what you described, that daycare sounds awful
developmentally. Your provider should know that it is not good for your
baby's development to cry alone for 45 minutes (especially when pain
might be an issue!). I'm sorry to be so blunt, but I'd get my child out
of her care. Now.
concerned by what I read
I think it would be best to switch to a small daycare where your
daughter can be held when she needs to be held. To me, it's a
no-brainer. It is developmentally INappropriate not to respond to a
crying baby and not to hold her if that's what she needs.
At this stage, I'd focus on her emotional needs; she will roll around
and crawl and walk where ever she is. All I wanted for my child at that
stage was a loving person who would hold and love him. Later, when
she's close to a year, you can either return to the current place or
find a place where there are fewer little ones or more adults available
AND more empathy.
My Two Cents Worth
You say this daycare is good developmentally, doesn't really sound like
it to me. A 6-month old baby may go through periods where she simply
needs to be held more (even without the ear infection to boot!) and I
would be very uncomfortable leaving my baby at a place where this basic
and important need could not be met. Obviously they have other kids to
take care of and can't hold your baby all the time but 45 minutes of
I'd be upset. It is just as important to ''development'' that babies
feel safe and comforted as it is for them to be guided to meet their
milestones (which they will do when they are ready anyways).
hold those babies!
Switch daycares. Who cares if it's supposedly developmentally
appropriate? Your daughter would have learned to sit and play on her
own -- but you don't want her to learn that no one comes when she's in
pain and crying out for comforting.
Anyway, I *don't* think it's developmentally sound to let a baby cry for
45 minnutes straight ...
It makes me sad that your daughter was left to cry. I don't like that
at all. Switch her to a more nurturing center! Feeling safe is part of
developmental stimulation. It sounds like you agree in your gut to have
posted. Let us know what you decide.
my daycare provider has sent my 6 month old home several times
now for being too fussy. He has been great at daycare up until
this week and now all of a sudden he is just crying a lot, and
not wanting to eat. When I bring him home he acts perfectly
fine though. My question is
1.any advice on how to get my son to settle down at daycare?
2. is it okay for the daycare provider to repeatedly send home
your child home if she feels he is too fussy, but still charge
you for full time care?
I can't keep taking off work so I am desperate for any and all
advice on this matter. Thanks for your help.
Find another daycare. This one sounds horrible for your child. I have never heard of a daycare doing this, btw.
wouldn't tolerate it
Something is happening at day care that is making your child unhappy to the point of tears. If the teacher(s) aren't able to pick up on what it is, and simply want to send your child home rather than work to make a change, perhaps this isn't the best place for your child.
It isn't professional by any standard to send a difficult child home! Ask them, if you decide to stay, to keep a written log of your child's day. They'll balk and say they don't have time/staff, but they do. A small notebook (you can provide) in an apron or pants pocket can be whipped out and scribbled in (no major entries) every half hour or even just for the hour or so leading up to the usual crying time. Another thing might be to try calling just before the difficult part of your child's day and see what they are up to. Something is triggering it.
Is it nap? Is it a staff change (am teacher goes home?) A strange parent or teacher is present? Children don't just burst into tears for no reason, it will take some detective work, but once you identify the problem you will also see a solution. Best of luck!
you would have to pay for full time if you are signed up, reserved space for full time; however I am comparing to child missing school due to illness, family vacation, or even a DRASTIC behavioral incident. Your situation sounds very
concerning- I don't understand fussing too much as a legitimate reason to send a child home unless they clearly seemed to be coming down with a cold. The daycare provider is supposed to be providing care- helping soothe, figure out what's going on. I would seriously wonder whether they are overly stressed and not providing healthy stimulation for the babies- do they prefer to keep them in swings for too long? well a lot of questions come to mind but in short babies cry and those who cry a lot are communicating something- any number of things- and I would have more questions to your provider why ''too much'' crying is reason to be sent home (from what you've said I don't think you should have to pay- it sounds to me like daycare provider is stressed out and sending your child home for her own convenience)and what they think may be going on, what they think he needs, etc... good luck C.
You need to find a new daycare right away. These people are supposed to be professionals and be expert at caring for infants -- even difficult ones. Can you imagine if your doctor said to you ''You're too sick, I can't handle it, go home.'' Or if you said to your boss or a client, ''This is too difficult, I can't do it. Only give me easy assignments.''
The only time a baby should be sent home is if it is sick -- fever, runny nose, etc. And it doesn't sound like your baby is sick.
When you look for a new daycare, look for one with a low caregiver ratio (3 babies per caregiver), with low turnover of staff, and where at least a few members of the staff have several years of experience. A good daycare/caregiver should be offering YOU advice on how to deal with a cranky baby, based on their years of experience with all sorts of babies.
That's not okay. If your baby is fine at home but crying too much there, it seems to me that it's an indication that something is amiss at your daycare. I would switch.
I am in the midst of a daycare dilemma and I don't know how to
My son is four months old and has been in daycare for three
weeks now. He attends a childcare center MWF and I work from
home T/TH with him by my side.
Little things I have noticed at the center bug me and have set
off my ''mother's instinct.'' I can't flat out say they are
abusing my child, but it is little things like: one primary
provider not knowing my sons name (if you don't know who he is,
then how do you feed him the right bottles?), their use of the
baby swing as a cure all, and their attempt to feed my son
whenever he gets fussy instead of soothing, letting him play.
The just don't seem to know our son and their attitude has been
that this is what I can expect since he is in a Center
environment. Twice I have picked him up with dried spit up all
over his clothes. When I pointed it out, they hadn't even
realized he had spit up. Also the area that is supposed to have
been ''his'' crib always seems to have other childrens linens in
it. It is things like that...nothing blatant, but alarming to
me all the same.
I have also come to notice the condition of the other kids and
their parents. I can't tell if I am being an educated snob or
attentive parent....a few of the kids are WAY behind
developmentally for example. The parents are young (which is
not a crime I know;I am young-ish) but they seem more
interested in their fingernails and talking about their ''babies
daddy's'' than the welfare of their children. Many of the
toddlers have a negative energy that I just don't want my son
exposed to. One has apparently taken to knocking my son over.
Bottom line is that I don't think he belongs there. I did all
my homework and thought I found a nice place. I was mistaken.
Am I being over-sensitive? My hubby seems lukewarm about moving
our son. He worries about the financial end of it all. But he
has never done the pick-up and drop-off due to his work
schedule. The director of the center is a warm woman with a
strong personality and I truly believe she would write my
concerns off as a newbie mom.
If I decide to move our son, the nearest availabilty at a
quality daycare wouldn't be until December. What do I do until
then? I worry that finding some other place so quickly will be
traumatic on my son--especially since he will be heading to
Montessori in Decemeber (hopefully).
To make matters more complicated, we live in Fairfield. We
moved here last year since homes are cheaper, relatively, and
because my hubby works in the East Bay and I work in Davis.
Fairfield seemed like a decent stop in between. But now that we
have a child, I am finding the entire community to be less than
what I had hoped. Not many places even have childcare here.
And Davis has childcare waiting lists that back into 2005.
What should I do? We can't live on just my husbands income. I
am not getting any work done when I am at work, since I am
constantly worried about my son. Grandma works and my husbands
parents are not an option as help either.I have called/visited
many home based daycares and have been constantly disappointed.
I don't think I have unrealistic expectations. I just want a
quality daycare where my son can grow and where I know he will
be safe and happy.
Any ideas or thoughts greatly appreciated.
I think you should follow your instincts and take your son out
of the day care. A friend of mine took day care provider
classes and has since had a thriving at-home daycare business.
Previously, she had a career she enjoyed, but wanted to be with
her child more. Although it's not perfect, no job is, but with
this one, she can make money and be with her children, as now
she has two kids, and has been doing it for about 9 years. She
has never said to me that she wishes she didn't choose this
You sound like a loving, smart, caring person who would
probably be great at it. It also sounds like your town could
use another daycare provider choice.
Plus if you decide you don't like it, you can always get
another job, you can't retrieve this precious time you have
with your kid. I think you should look at this as an
opportunity, a door that has been open for you. It's true that
being a mom is the toughest job, but it's also the most
By taking these daycare classes, and by providing daycare, you
will learn so much and you'll get to help other moms who are in
your position now. Lastly, think about what having a job
really costs you in clothing, dry cleaning, gas, car-
maintenance, daycare, lunches out, plus stress, which spills
over to your spouse and child.
Another idea I just thought of: If you have a skill, maybe you
could offer community center class(es).
an opportunity awaits
Others may disagree, but my advice is: GET YOUR BABY OUT OF
THERE. Your intuition is more likely than not right on the
money, and the examples you give of why you're worried sound
like real issues to me. I don't think you're being
oversensitive -- this is a 4 month old we're talking about, not
a 4 year old who would be in a much better position (relatively
speaking) to take care of himself. A 4 month old is very
vulnerable, and it sounds like there are a lot of warning signs
at this place. Have you looked into doing a nanny-share? When
I researched it, they weren't that much more expensive than
daycare, though I was looking in Oakland, not Fairfied. It's a
long time till December, which I know might be hard finan! cially,
but this is your baby. Waiting till December to move him
doesn't sound like a great idea. I'd do whatever I could to
find an alternative.
Good luck to you.
It sounds like you have very legitimate concerns and are not in
a high-quality daycare situation. I would definitely start
looking around for something else. A good daycare situation not
only provides attentive, nurturing, loving care for your baby,
but also support for you as a new (and sometimes nervous)
working mom. Maybe you should consider a family, home-based
daycare if there are no high-quality centers in your area. You
should call Bananas in Oakland, which can offer advice on what
to look for in a daycare setting. You might also call AOCS in
Oakland -- it is a wonderful childcare center. 510-261-1076 --
ask for Claire or Liisa. While it is probably not at all
convenient for you, taking a tour of AOCS could give you a
better understanding of what to look for in childcare. And
Claire and Lii! sa are always happy to offer advice. Good luck!
Judging by what you have described, it absolutely does not
sound like you are needlessly worrying. There could be no
excuse for a caretaker not knowing your child's name, unless
maybe it was her few days there. I assume that they demand
that you label and date any bottles or food, binkies, etc.
that you bring in for your child. And they should be keeping
your child reasonably clean (at least of things like vomit and
any other bodily fluid!). If that is not happening, then that
means that those fluids are around the facility, possibly in
reach of other crawling babies, etc. (At ours, any time a baby
spits up and it lands anywhere other than the baby, it is
immediately cleaned up with a disinfectant.) Some places
differ in philosophy about the mess of food, and wearing
bibs... but still. Th! ey should ask you for add'l sets of
clothes and should be changing your baby into clean ones if he
gets wet or messy.
I'm not sure how you know that they try to feed him rather than
sooth him in ways that you're more comfortable with (do they
actually tell you that?). That could be a stylistic
difference, (and I've noticed that that approach can be a
cultural one), but it is not typically the approach of most
reputable daycares, or for that matter, pediatricians. I know
at our daycare they do not allow baby swings or bouncy chairs,
or anything that allows a caretaker to just put the child in a
restrained device that could promote ignoring them. It's a
safety concern as well as a child development philosophy. The
babies are either held, or when that is not possible due to the
demands of other children, they are either given ''tummy time''
on a mat on the floor, or put in a large, raised crib (only one
child at a time). The ratio of caregiver to children of this
age is roughly 1:3 or 1:4, depending on the day (and ! even that
doesn't seem enough sometimes when you want your child to be
held as much as possible!)
Anyway, I believe you're right to consider removing him. Don't
worry about his transition, he probably has not had a chance to
bond with anyone there yet, and besides, he's young enough that
it won't ultimately matter. I know the options are expensive,
and apparently there isn't much choice in the way of daycare
centers where you are. Have you tried asking (on UC Parents)
for recommendations for other daycares in your area? There may
be some smaller family place that you may not already know
about. If you only need to find something until December, is
it possible to hire a nanny until then? They can be expensive,
but I often hear of people who pay/charge under $11/hour. If
someone comes to your house you could have a much better idea
of what's going on (if you're able to separate yourself enough
to get work done - and that can be tricky). A cheaper solution
would be a! nanny share, finding someone who will take care of
both your baby and someone else's, at either house. This made
us very nervous when our daughter was that age, but from what I
read on this site LOTS of people do it and are very happy with
their arrangements. You could probably expect to pay about 2/3
of a full rate, it seems. Either way, it's probably a
financial hit in comparison with a daycare, but I think you're
right - something is not quite right with the practises you
describe at your present daycare. I would feel the same as you
Best of luck!
Anon in Oakland
Given your expectations I think what you probably need to do is
hire a nanny.
The only regret I have with my son, now 9, is that I left him in
a childcare facility that I did not feel good about for too long.
Your child is so young - I know that it seems impossible to get
by, but I would strongly suggest at least considering keeping her
at home for just a few more months. I work with young children
in schools, and I see the difference that being with a parent can
make. This would give you more time to investigate other
possibilities. Is there a chance that your husband could bring
her into town, where there might be more options? Or that a
mother's helper would allow you to go in for a few hours to do
some work? This is time that can never be recaptured, and it
passes very quickly. The sacrifices that we make when they're
small seem to really pay off in spades later. Feel free to
answer back if you want to have a dialogue about this..
TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS. If you think something is wrong, it probably
is (and the things you mention aren't little things). Keeping in mind
you have few choices (I know some folks will tell you things that
realistically won't work), can you take some time under the Federal
Family Medical Leave Act (''FMLA'') and watch your child while you
assess another daycare facility? What about using this site to find a
''nanny share'' situation? What about your partner? Can he/she help
with the childcare situation for a short time, perhaps using the FMLA
vacation. What a! bout a friend? Can you pay someone you trust to
watch your child? If none of these options work for you, then I would
have a very serious conversation with the daycare provider. If she's
to pull the ''new-mom-itis'' stuff on you, tell her that regardless of
opinion, dried spit-up, wrong bed linens, and workers not knowing your
child's name is unacceptable. Let her know that you understand some
slips but that if you continue to see similar irregularities, you will
your child and report your findings to the regulatory agency that
her center for a full investigation. If her establishment is
will take your concerns completely seriously and make certain that the
workers who are responsible for the mishaps are fired. If she runs a
shoddy location, she'll see this as a tremendous threat and you'll know
you're doing the right thing by ! getting your child out.
Bottom line with childcare, particularly before they can talk,
is that you have to feel comfortable. I'm a pretty particular
parent, and have opinions about what should be done & how. For
young babies, you need to remember that daycare means that not
every baby can be held every moment, which means that possibly a
baby may cry for a little bit. That said, you sound
uncomfortable. And the daycare providers generally are
comfortable doing things their way (and I discovered, since I
was home with my child for a while, that I had opinions about
many things, and some providers were uncomfortable with my
opinions and had an easier time w/ parents who just appreciated
somebody taking care of their baby and ''teaching'' them how to do
it. Don't bother analyzing everything-ask yourself ! how you
feel. Financials are important, but your baby is only a baby for
a short time. Everything is a compromise, but you must feel
comfortable with your daycare provider, otherwise you add stress
to your life--even if everything is fine. Check out all your
options, then choose the best one for you. Check out Davis
options too, if your husband is willing to do day care
dropoff/pickup. You'll find something to your liking, but EVERY
situation will have some quirks. find the quirks that work for
I don't mean to alarm you, but get your child out of that center.
I have run a daycare for over eleven years, and I go to extreme
lengths (and make sure my employees do as well) to ensure the
bottles are marked with permanent marker so they cannot be mixed
up. As I am sure you know, infections such as Thrush on the
tongue and not to name allergic reactions from drinki! ng the wrong
formula can occur and cause pain and misery. Each child's linen
is kept strictly in their own playpen etc. We are careful of
SIDS, and check the babies to make sure they are breathing etc.
Sounds like your child is being neglected. Not just physically,
but emotionally too. Contact the local child care referral
agency in your area, as well as Contra Costa County to find a new
place. Even if you have to out of your way, or pay a little
more, it must be worth your peace of mind. In the meantime have
a serious conversation with the owner and tell her your concerns.
As a parent, you have the right to do that.
I do not think that you are overreacting. You however need to
find a way to follow those instincts and make it all work for
you. You are correct about a move being hard on your child
especially since you plan to move him ! to another school in
December. The problem is that if you do not feel adequate care
is being given then you have a problem. The first step to take
would be to talk to the Director and see if you can talk to one
another in an open way where the school doesn't feel attacked
and you do not feel belittled for being a first time mother. I
was a teacher of young children for 15 years and I think the
best thing is always to have open communication between
families and teachers.They should be doing a better job about
taking care of your child. You should not feel guilty about
that. Those little details are what makes it possible for you
to concentrate at work and so those are the ones you need to
address. I do not think they are little things. I currently run
a business where I help families find childcare and preschool
settings for their children. I go to all the schools myself and
spend lots of time there investigating the ! care they give and
how they run the place. Then I get information from the parents
as to what they are looking for and so attempt to find
situations where everyone will be pleased. The main thing I
tell parents is that the place you pick for your child has to
be a place you feel comfortable with all around. This place
becomes your child's second home in away. You have to visit
lots of places in order to compare the various ways people care
for children.There are a lot of great schools out there.
Remember you have to be able to know they are well cared for so
you can concentrate on your work. If talking to the school does
not work you could get a part-time nanny until you get to your
next school. We all have to think about the money thing but the
truth is that if we put our mind to it we can make things work
one way or another in order to get our piece of mind. I would
be willing to give you more suggestions via e! -mail or by phone.
Feel free to contact me.
I just placed my 13-month-old in a home daycare center for
2 full days a week. As our former part-time nanny gave us a
short notice and I'm expecting another child very soon, I
unfortunately had to choose a daycare center without doing
as much research as I would have liked. The home daycare
center I chose came highly recommended by my former
nanny, and after visiting, I felt confident in the high quality of
care my child would receive there, and that my child would
be happy there. However, I wasn't quite comfortable with
several of its policies, which I'm listing below. It may very
well be due to my inexperience with how home daycare
centers are typically run in this area. Could you please
advise? There is a possibility that we may go to full time, 5
days a week at this daycare. Thank you.
- If I take my child out for a dr.'s appointment in the middle of
the day, I should not bring her back to daycare for the rest of
- I need to bring in my child into daycare no later than 9am
(in particular, this conflicts with my child's morning gym/play
class for which she is already pre-registered).
- When I asked about visiting, I was told visiting
times were always at a certain time on certain (2) days.
- We need to pay for staff's two weeks' vacation time per
year, as well as holidays. We also pay for any other days
when the child cannot come, eg. sick days or family vacation
Most of the policies seem normal to me, with the big exception
being limits on visiting times. I believe that by state law you
have the right to drop in at any time. Check with Bananas, I'm
sure they'll be able to tell you.
-same rules at our preschool
Frankly, all of those policies seem reasonable to me. We had
our daughter in a wonderful home daycare for 2 years, and it
had very similar policies. Perhaps your daycare (like ours) is
run similar to a preschool, with a fairly scheduled day,
including circle time, art projects, etc. It can be disruptive
to the other kids, and difficult for your child, if they arrive
in the middle of things, and can throw off nap schedules too.
Taking a child out for a doctors appointment and then bringing
them back can also be very tough. We tried to schedule doctors
appointments for the end of the day, or first thing in the
morning (we could bring her in late on rare occasions). As for
paying for vacation (yours and theirs) and sick days, our
daycare's policy was to pay the same amount every month, year
round, regardless of vacations, holidays, sick days, etc. It
seems only fair - these providers count on the year round
income. Particularly if your child is there full time. Our
daughter left daycare at the end of July and we even paid an
additional 1/2 month for the two week vacation in August - it
just didn't seem right that we should leave without paying for
their vacation, when we had been there the rest of year.
Not all daycare centers have the rules you have listed. I think
the important thing is, if their particular rules don't work for
you, you need to find someplace new. The daycare that my son
attended for 2+ years (before he started preschool) did not.
With the exception of the vacation and sick days. Most daycares
and preschools will require that you pay for care even if you
can't come in (due to illness/vacation). Since you are part
time, you shouldn't have to pay for the entire two weeks that
the staff is on vacation, only for the days that your child
would have normally attended. A good tip (if you're part time)
is to not sign your child up for Mondays. Many holidays fall on
Mondays and you'll end up having to pay for them when they're
closed. As far as the dr's appointments, I had always found
that it was easier to do those very early or late so you can
drop your child off late or pick him/her up early. I tried it
once in the middle of the day and had a hard time dropping my
son off again. He was confused and thought that when I picked
him up, we would be together for the rest of the day. If your
child has a morning committment that will mean you can't drop
him off until after 9am, see if you can work something out. If
not, maybe this is not the daycare for you. If you're looking
for recommendations of a new daycare, the one my son attended
was Sundance Day Care in Oakland. The owner's name is Tae. Her
# is 839-6449. We loved it there.
Most of the policies sound about right, a bit strict, but O.K..
For example the reason they may want all of the kids there by
9am, is that children form connections in the morning and
children who arrive late are usally left out of the play by the
other children.My child is in U.C. Childcare, and they
are ''strongly encouraged'' to be there by 9:30am. However, there
is no cut off. Also, some children have problems adjusting to
coming back to care if they are taken out in the middle of the
day. I don't pay for childcare so I can't tell you about those
policies. The one thing that sounds a bit off, is the visiting
thing. At my daughters school they have an open door policy,
which means we can come when ever we like and are encouraged to
do so. If they want to know when you will be coming, you may
want to ask yourself why? I have a friend who had her child in a
home daycare with similar policies and as it turned out, the
main provider would take a nap when the kids slept leaving them
Two thoughts: one, you have the right to visit your kid's daycare
any time you want to. State law. If they won't let you come in
when you show up, I'd 1) yank your kid out of there ASAP and 2)
file a complaint with the state licensing people.
On the vacation front, though: gee, I get a paid vacation, I
expect you do, too -- why shouldn't your daycare provider? Isn't
she (or he) a professional who provides a valuable service?
Also, if the daycare provider gets some time off, s/he is less
likely to crack and start beating on the kids (GRIN). Shoot, I
*want my daycare provider to have vacation time!
I must say, none of those policies seem terribly out of whack
(when I was doing research, I found a wide range of policies on
each of those topics), but having said that, at the family
daycare we chose:
- there is no late dropoff cutoff. However, we try to get our
daughter there by 9, just as a courtesy; if we're going to be
later than that, I usually call them, just to let them know.
- again, there is no restrictions on visiting, but at the same
time, they're pretty protective of their schedules, and not
disrupting the kids, so it can be awkward if we do show up in
the middle of the day. They have a separate porch, and usually
make us wait out there and bring our child out, rather than
letting us in to the play room or nap room.
- as far as paid vacation, our daycare takes a week out of each
year for their vacation, and we don't pay that week. But, we do
pay for anytime we don't use thier services, if we go on
vacation, or doctor appointments, or sick days, etc. We
generally end up taking vacation the same week they do, so we
don't run into time where we have no daycare.
I know there are more stringent places than ours out there too..
if you really like the place (and your child does too), it might
be worth trying to work with them. But do what feels
comfortable to you, especially if you plan on a long term
My two children were in daycare from infancy until they went off to
kindergarten and, for what it's worth, here's my take your daycare's policies:
It's fair to ask you not to bring your child back after a doctor's appointment--it
can be confusing and difficult for a child to come back to daycare after being
picked up once already. Being utterly consistent is really comforting and makes
it easier for when you do drop her of each day.
A consistent time for drop-off (9 am in your case) is also a fair request. It's
disruptive to the group to have kids coming in at all different times and makes
planning tough for the caregivers. Again, a consistent routine is best for your
Limiting visiting times to certain days and times is completely unreasonable to
me. You should be able to drop in to visit with no notice at any time. Yes, this
may be disruptive and hard for their planning, but it is a safety issue. I'm
wondering if limiting visits to only pre-set days/times is even legal. I can see if
they require advance notice, but I would feel a lot more comfortable with a no-
notice-needed policy, especially at a home care.
Paying for caregivers vacations is fair. These people are generally underpaid,
undervalued, hard-working and incredibly loving. If, over time you still feel the
caregivers don't deserve this benefit, you might consider moving your child to
a place where you like the caregivers so much you do feel this way. As for
paying for when your child is sick, they have to have staff to cover even so, so
it's fair to expect this.
Sad to say, daycare in this area is extremely expensive, just like everything
else. But the peace of mind you get from a good caregiver is absolutely
priceless. Good luck!
I would call Bananas and ask them, as they know what is and
isn't legal. My understanding was that by State law a parent
has the right to drop in any time unannounced. My daycare also
has the in by 9a policy, as they say it disrupts the flow of the
day to have them come in any later, but they have been flexible
as long as the kids are fed when dropped off. I've been dropping
him off at 9:30-9:45am, and have been told that with a days
notice they would be ok with me dropping him off even later.
Paying for holidays, family vacation and sick days is standard
procedure. If a child is sick a lot and doesn't pay, or you
decide to go on a 2 week trip, it's not fair to the daycare who
is holding your spot and unable to give it anyone else.
I'm sending my son to a home daycare that I absolutely love -- it's
wonderful for both me and him. And the only one of those policies it has
is the last one: 2 weeks vacation for them, all federal holidays off, and I
pay even when my son is sick. That policy seems entirely reasonable to
me: these people are professionals, and so should have holidays and
vacation just like the rest of us; and they need to be able to plan and
staff their center, as well as have a steady paycheck, so I simply pay a
flat fee per month, regardless of sick days, my vacation, or whatever. I
would certainly not like my income to be dependent on how sickly a
child was, or how much vacation other people took.
Of the other policies, the first two seem pretty inflexible, and the one
regarding ''visiting days'' makes me downright uncomfortable -- I would
want to be able to visit whenever.
1) I can understand if the daycare folks PREFER that you not bring
your child back. They may want to minimize confusion for your
child. I'm not sure I would want to put my child back in after a
DR. appt. But I don't know that it should be a POLICY, per se. I
would inquire further about their rationale. If it's a preference,
then I'd feel ok with it. If it's a hard and fast rule, I wouldn't
feel so great about it.
2) Again, the before 9 am may be a PREFERENCE and I would inquire
further. Do they have things planned? Is there a schedule that
they don't want your child to miss out on? If so, great. But would
it really be so bad if your child was late? I often bring my child
in after 9 am! And home daycares are usually chosen for their
flexibility! Maybe you could talk more specifically with them to
arrange when your child would/would not conflict with their
schedule and see if that's ok.
3) Wow, the restricted visiting thing really pisses me off. You,
as a parent, have EVERY RIGHT TO VISIT THE DAYCARE AT ANY TIME YOU
CHOOSE! There is even a form that you fill out that they should
give you, if they are a proper, licensed facility, that states
your rights as a parent. Some daycares may PREFER that you visit
at certain times, and if so they should make CLEAR WHY THEY HAVE
THIS PREFERENCE. But you have a LEGAL RIGHT AS THE PARENT to enter
the childcare facility at any time. And as a parent, you would
want to do this to see what is happening in the home. Not only at
designated times when they can put on a show for you!!! I pulled
my 2 year old daughter out of a daycare that practically shut the
door on me to keep me from seeing what was going on inside. I
don't think it was anything bad; they just PREFERRED that I let my
daughter get used to the place on her own. But I defended my right
and let them know I thought what they were doing was wrong!
4) Yes, if it is a regular daycare and not a drop-in center, it is
normal to pay for days you're not there and vacations. (Can you
imagine running a daycare dependent only on when the kids could
make it? The staff show up every day rain or shine.)
The policy about establishing a particular time and day to visit
is a no-no. You have to be able to walk in at any time and have
a look around, and while they might find that inconvenient, I
believe it is a legal issue. The ''no arriving after 9'' thing and
the ''don't bring her back after a doctor's appointment'' thing are
both permissible, I think, but rather mean-spirited. It seems as
if there should be some bend there, especially if it's a small
home daycare. But that's their perogative, to set up those kinds
of limitations. And finally about the money. We paid for
daycare all year (including holidays and vacations). This struck
me as a lot of money at the time, but I actually think it's fair.
This is the livelihood of the caregiver, and caregivers need
holidays and vacations like everyone else. My caregiver got this
support from me and I'm glad we were able to support her in this way.
former home daycare user
I run a small family home daycare (6 children; 2 providers) and
we charge for one week's vacation (but in the future I can see us
charging for 2 weeks). We also get paid for all holidays and do
not rebate money when a child does not attend because they are
sick (or decide to sah with mom or dad). We have no way to fill
the opening and we feel that we are just as worthy of vacation
time as anyone else in a job with benefits. We simply make our
own benefits. :) I would say that at least one week is standard
in the industry.
Now, as for doctor's appointments, unless your child meets the
DCP's guidelines for exclusion (for sickness), I cannot fathom
WHY your child would not be allowed to return after a doctor's
appointment. I'm sure they have a reason; did you ask why?
We are VERY flexible with our start and end times, so while I
can't comment on not being able to bring your child after 9am for
another center, I personally find it terribly rigid.
The visiting policy is an enormous red flag for me. I encourage
parents to visit at any time, and as a matter of fact, will call
them to encourage them to visit if we're near their work (at a
playground or something). It usually makes leaving (parent
leaving child) hard, but IMO, the child benefits more from the
connection with their parent than from the parent leaving. Yeah,
it is harder work for me, but the point is, what is best for the
I don't think you can research DCP's stringently enough; I would
call the licensing board to check on any complaints, I would ask
to see their DOJ fingerprinting results as well as First Aid and
I have a link on my site with lots of questions to ask - here it
is and good luck! http://3littlemonkeys.vavoova.com/choose.html
My two-year-old is enrolled in an excellent daycare center and
they have some similar policies. The restriction concerning
drop-off times is imposed because the other children can become
upset as new arrivals come and then cry as their parents leave.
The center tries to limit this stressful time by requiring
arrivals during certain hours.
This daycare also tries to ensure decent working standards by
providing vacation times for the head teachers. Teachers' aids
are paid by the hour, however. For a more stable budget
situation, they also require a contract that guarantees the
amount you pay regardless of actual attendance for which you
receive in return a guaranteed space for a certain number of
hours per week.
The restriction on visiting hours seems unusual.
I find all but your last item to be unreasonable. At my son's
daycare, we bring or pick him up as we need to. A doctor's
appointment early or late does not prevent us from bringing him
late or taking him back. If we do not arrive before 9 am, he
doesn't get breakfast; since no one in my family is a morning
person, including my 2-year old, we simply skip breakfast a lot
at daycare and eat at home instead. Limiting times to drop by
also seems strange. The only thing that seems standard to me is
to pay a monthly and steady rate regardless of holidays, your
family vacation time, etc. You are paying to have someone
committed to care for your child whether or not you actually go
every day or attend all hours; the staff definitely needs a two
week paid break. If I were you, I would ask the daycare staff
why they have these policies. My advice is that you should then
get reasonable and detailed answers to your questioning of their
policies that you can live with or you should find another
The policy regarding vacation and holiday pay is pretty
standard, but I would have a major problem with the other
policies you mentioned. They are very unreasonable and should
raise a red flag. The one about the doctor appt. and the ''in by
9:00'' policy are simply annoying and inconvenient, but the one
about visiting times is very suspicious. A good daycare center,
home-based or othrewise, should let you visit anytime,
unannounced, without hesitation. If the place you are talking
about is Higher Reach/Wee Care, please email me and I will be
happy to share my experience.
Your note raises a serious red flag regarding the visiting
policy. Please check this link to the California Department of
Social Services, who licenses home daycare centers, for your
rights as a parent: http://www.dss.cahwnet.gov/pdf/pub394.pdf.
If the daycare center your child is in is licensed, they are in
violation of State law by not allowing you to visit any time and
should be reported to the State. I would NEVER leave my
children in the care of a home or facility that didn't allow me
to show up whenever I wanted to.
1.It seems totally unreasonable that you could not bring your
child back after a doctor's appointment (assuming she/he isn't
2.I think many daycares feel it can be disruptive to the
child and other children to have parents visit BUT you should be
allowed to drop in any time, unannounced,I think that might be a
law (check with Bananas); but as for a scheduled ''visit'' it
seems reasonable to have the structured visiting hours. If they
are downright not allowing you to come in at other times, I
would be suspicious.
3. Fees: yes that is standard to pay for 2
weeks vacation and the 1 or 2 day holidays, because they need to
earn a living wage like everyone else, and I think it feels hard
to pay when you don't use the daycare but essentially you are
paying for your space there and they can't fill it when you go
4.I think some daycares are more relaxed about starting time and
some more structured. The home preschool daycare we have used is
on the VERY relaxed side which works really well for our family,
however I would say the downside to NOT having a ''start'' time is
that often we come into a boisterous group already engaged in
their activities and it can be intimidating for our child to
transition into that, vs. everyone arriving more or less
together. But I'd guess that being that strict about arrival
time benefits the caregivers and might feel too stict for a
family daycare with such young ones, my feeling is they
shouldn't have to be on a kindergarten-like school schedule
unless you need to make it work that way. In short I'd say it
all might be a matter of their daycare philosophy however it
also sounds like the caregivers could be uncomfortable with
guiding the children through transitions and they might be
unreasonably rigid and un-homey in order to avoid dealing with
the feelings or the chaos that can arise at transition times
(i.e all the comings and goings.) Good luck.
this page was last updated: Jan 30, 2011
BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are transitioning to a new website during
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2015 Berkeley Parents Network