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Concerns about Childcare Owner/Staff
Recently some of the teachers at my son's family daycare have confided in me that they are very unhappy with ''their boss'', the woman who runs and has the daycare in her home. After staff and owner have been working together for many years, the owner now has a new boyfriend and this boyfriend, although a nice guy, is not very sensitive. He has been fingerprinted, etc. He interacts with the children some, playing ball and offering them snacks (some inappropriate, like peanuts) that he is eating. He is around the house a lot during the day. He does not seem to respect the daycare staff; they have confided that he leaves a mess and expects them to clean up, that he is noisy during naptime, and generally seems to consider himself their boss. They are so unhappy that they are considering leaving their jobs at the daycare. This really worries me, because my son's bond is entirely with them. I was planning to have my son stay another year at this daycare (he just turned 2), but now am not sure how to proceed. I am thinking of talking to the daycare owner, but don't want to get the staff in trouble. Since this boyfriend arrived, she has tried to get them to sign a contract (first one ever) saying that they will not talk to parents about things going on at daycare. This seems odd to me, too. In general the owner tries hard to address parent concerns, but also tends to get defensive. It seems to me that she is not setting appropriate boundaries for her boyfriend in her home daycare business, but this is a hard thing to talk about with her! My main concern, obviously, is for my son's well being and happiness. The daycare staff are wonderful loving women and he is very attached to them. What is your advice on handling this situation? Want a win-win solution
I need advise! My 15 month old son is in daycare and has been since he was 4 months (part-time the first year). He loved his daycare and gets lots of positive love from caregivers and peers. He is very bonded with one caregiver. Let's call her Dee. I have been alarmed about a certain behavior for some time but I keep putting off having a discussion with her about it. I want to make sure I own my part of it and calm down first. I visit my son every day at lunch and I treasure these visits. He is always exceedingly happy to see me. Many months ago, I noticed that quite often she would hold on to him after I arrived while he struggled to get free to run over to me. She would joke that about him hurting her feelings, or say things like ''oh now that ''the mom'' is here, you forget about me.'' Or, I would arrive when he was crying and rather than pass him to me, she would totally ignore me, snuggling him so he couldn't see me while I stood directly in front of them. I had to ask her to pass him to me.
Lately (I went full time three months ago) there is a new tone to things. Maybe it's harder because he is getting more and more bonded with her the longer he is in full time care and he is asserting his independence more as well and of course that hurts me-- a little. Mostly I want him to be healthy and happy and however that happens is fine. But this doesn't seem healthy. Yesterday, I had just arrived and she was on the other side of the room with another baby while my son and I played with a train set. We were just about to go on our daily walk that we both look forward to. She suddenly came across the room and started to cuddle up to him from behind and pull him on her lap.
I only have 45 minutes all day to be with him and she knows this. With the other caregiver, I feel like a collaborator, and when I talk to her about my son's day she gives me info about him. (I don't have anger in me when they are being close. It makes me happy.) Dee on the other hand will give me only one type of feedback: stories that show how much he loves her, like how much he cried when she went on her lunch or left for the day, etc. I try to validate her relationship with him all the time. I say things like ''Yes, he loves you very much'' and ''there's your beloved Dee'' etc., telling her how I show him the class picture and point to her when we are at home, thinking that she just needs this acknowledgement and validation. But now I don't feel so disposed and plus it doesn't seem to be enough.
Not only does it hurts to have someone else spend her days with him and not me, but she seems to be in an active competition with me for his love. I expect her to support my relationship with my son, not interfere with it. Yes, I am jealous of the time she spends with my son, but she seems to have an agenda of making him love her more and seems totally unconscious of there being problem with this behavior. In fact, today, she totally denied her behavior, when she interrupted me by taking him in her arms while I was trying to wash his hands. I kind of lost it and said, ''do you want me to leave?'' She said, ''No this is prime parent time, no no.'' But her behavior said something else. I can't have these sorts of interactions going on in front of my son again. Help. the mom
My advice is to scedule some time to talk to her one-on-one away from your son and the other children (even for a few minutes). Try telling her that you NEED HER HELP to make you feel comfortable leaving him there for such a long time. Then, without necessarily telling her to stop doing something, give her examples of exactly what you would like her to do (i.e. ''As soon as I arrive, please encourage him to give me a big hug.'')
You want her to understand that it's difficult for you and that since your son has such a special relationship w/ her, that she is the one who can best help. When you ask for her help, you are again validating her need to feel important, but this time you are telling her that you are the one who needs her help, as well as your son.
I hope that this works, but based on her previous reaction, you may need to get help from her supervisor. If this is the case, try sitting down w/ both of them and, again, asking for her help. When it comes down to it, you are the parent and you get to make the decisions that affect your child and his relationships. If they cannot support your needs, then maybe that school/program isn't a good match. Don't feel bad about asking for what you want. Good luck. paula
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