In the business, we call them the “Golden Parents” and the “Parents You Want”. Because as any Home Daycare Provider will tell you –we’ve all had many experiences with the type of parent that isn’t so shiny. Don’t believe me? Just check out the comment section on What Not To Do When Dropping Your Child Off At Daycare.
If you’ve already read that, you’ll start to realize that really, our standards aren’t all that high. We just want to make sure we’re not taken advantage of, and that you haven’t potentially poisoned your child right before drop off.
So after all of those pointers on what not to do, how about some ideas on how to become that ever-allusive Golden Parent that your Home Daycare Provider will go out of her way for, will appreciate and bend over backwards for? I had several Golden Parents at my own Home Daycare, and believe me, they stood in stark contrast to the Not-So-Golden Parents. These parents were amazing. Here’s what they did:
1. They treated my Home Daycare like a business. They respected my open and close hours, they followed my policies to the T, and they took it seriously when their little one had a rough day or misbehaved.
2. They paid on time. As much as you think teachers, doctors and daycare providers shouldn’t be in it for the money, they are. Everyone has bills to pay, and no one should have to beg for a paycheck. My Golden Parents totally understood that. If they forgot to bring the week’s fee by on Friday at pick-up time when it was due, they would pack up their child and take him or her to the bank with them to pick up the cash. No excuses, no asking for an extension, they just did it. And if for some reason they were gone a Friday and couldn’t pay that day, they would pay in advance or afterwards without having to be reminded about the late fee.
3. They brought supplies for their child. The supplies a daycare provides can vary from place to place, but my policies said that I expected parents to provide diapers and an extra set of clothes. I always had an extra stash of diapers just in case, but these parents were always prepared. It’s a little thing, but it shows me how much you are invested in your own child and in how smoothly our day goes.
4. They dressed their children properly for the weather. A jacket in the spring, snow pants, mitts and a hat in the winter — it seems pretty common sense, but it isn’t to everyone. The parents that thought about their child’s comfort during the day always got bonus points in my mind. It wasn’t just about getting the child from the house to the car, it was about the wait at the school bus stop in sub-zero temperatures, our outdoor playtime and our walks through the neighbourhood. I always overlooked a parent forgetting once or twice, and actually had spare outdoor clothing for those times. But consistently dressing your child too cool for the weather meant parents were depending on me to provide outdoor clothing for their kid, and in Canada that’s not cheap. Now yes, there were times when I was concerned about the parents’ ability to provide snow pants or mitts, and so I would offer hand-me-downs. But when finances aren’t an issue, making sure your child is ready for the day is a great way to become a Golden Parent.
5. They showed an interest in me as a person. Whether that was through bringing coffee or flowers for me once in awhile, asking about my day, learning my kids’ names, or by remembering to park on the road so that hubby could park in the driveway at the end of the day, it all showed that not only did my Golden Parents respect my business and my policies, but they respected me as a person.
6. They kept our daily routine in mind. If they brought their child later than usual, they would feed them breakfast first knowing that we were done breakfast at a certain time because we had so much else to do each morning. If they picked up during nap time, they would let me know in advance what time they would be by, so that I could have their child ready to go without waking the other little ones up.
7. They didn’t expect me to make special accommodations for them. I’ve been burned with this one, but not by my Golden Parents. They didn’t expect special treatment, but I was more than happy to give it when needed.
So what’s the advantage of being a Golden Parent? Here are a few:
– If you need a favour like overtime, an early drop off, or an extra sick day or two, your Home Daycare Provider will be far more likely to want to help you out.
– Your spot at the daycare will be that much more secure.
– Your Home Daycare Provider will be happier, will have far more patience with the kiddos, and will have more energy to do fun things with them. And that just goes straight towards benefiting your own child.
So there you have it — some easy ways to be the parent your Daycare Provider brags about at the playground, gauges other parents by, and does whatever she can to hang on to. YOU are the parent she wants for her business.
Feel free to share the secret 😉