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Home Daycare

What Not To Do When Dropping Your Child Off At Daycare

1.  Let your 2-year-old walk to the door alone while you watch from the car.

2.  Say “Junior just threw up in the car.  Call me if it gets worse.”

3.  Give your child a kiss goodbye, while stuffing his pockets full of Halloween candy.

4.  Tell your child “Miss M. won’t mind if you don’t want to nap today.”

5.  Say “I forgot to bring (mitts/snowpants/underwear/etc) for Junior.  He can borrow your daughter’s, right?”

6.  Pat your pockets absentmindedly while muttering “I forgot to bring this week’s payment.  I’ll just bring it next Friday along with next week’s payment.”

7.  Brag about how you have the day off and you plan to enjoy it by sleeping, shopping and taking a “break” from your child.

8.  Ask for a discount for the month because you’re “a little short on funds”, while checking the texts on your new iPhone 5 with your freshly manicured hands.

9.  Say “I know breakfast ended 20 minutes ago, but Junior hasn’t eaten yet …”, and hand him a can of Coke and a Chocolate Dip donut, while guiding him into the playroom.

10.  Arrive a half-hour earlier than opening time.  Knock and ring the bell repeatedly until someone answers the door.

11.  Stand idly by and chat for 35 minutes about your crazy ex, your terrible boss, your expensive trip to Hawaii and your plans for a fourth child, while your daycare provider tries to get 5 toddlers and 3 school-agers out the door and to the bus stop before the bus gets there.

12.  Bring a six-pack of Cream Soda for the kids to share at snack time.

13.  Forget to bring more diapers for your child, and then tell your daycare provider that “It’s okay, the diaper she’s in will last her for the day.”

14.  Ask if you can pay your daycare bill with canned food items.

15.  Try to guilt trip your daycare provider into opening on a Saturday because you really need some “me-time”.

16.  Try to pull the old “dope-and-drop” — drugging your child with medication so that your provider won’t notice she’s sick and potentially contagious.

17.  Ask your daycare provider to keep your 8-month-old awake all day so that he’ll sleep better at night.

18.  Tell your daycare provider that Junior is in Big Girl underwear now, without any previous warning or toilet training attempts at home.

19.  Forget to mention that your preschooler has a pocketful of loose change after he goes to play with 2 or 3 of the babies.

20.  Say “Baby didn’t want to change out of her diaper and pajamas this morning.  Here are her clothes for the day.”

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Article written by:

Megan is a WAHM to 3 (and then some) kids, who spends the majority of her time working as an Administrative Assistant, blogging and washing dishes. She loves to write about her adventures in parenting, running a home daycare, adoption and whatever else strikes her fancy!


  1. Mrs Steinel

    The best one I had was while dropping off her 15 month old, “He may have drank some, well the bottle was empty, spray and wash.” I made her stay while I called poison control.

  2. Pat

    I’ve seen and heard all of these over the 43 years I have been providing care. It cracks me up. It made for an entertaining article and a walk down memory lane…I could probably add a few more….Like what not to leave in a diaper bag when dropping off. I’ve seen birth control, drugs, drugs paraphnilla (sp) prescriptions, weapons…And it’s a diaper bag!!! One child came in wearing Mom’s underwear….???? And I’ve had parents hand me medication to administer to the child that was not their medication it belongs to someone else, and sometimes to an adult. “Oh it works on them too it’s okay to give it to them” NOOOOOO

    • Megan Elford

      Wow! Just … wow! I’m shaking my head at the things people are capable of sometimes! But with 43 years experience, I think you should write the next list 🙂

  3. Alexis

    My personal favorite: telling your daycare provider you can’t wait till bedtime and Monday morning to get a break from your kids … when they’re with me 55-60 hours a week.

    • Megan Elford

      I’ve heard that one too! I always felt sorry for those kiddos because they were always the ones craving mom & dad’s attention the most :-(.

      Thank you for stopping by!

      • AlexisAlexis

        Yes! It made me very sad. But thank you for the laugh — I can definitely identify with this.

    • Annoyed

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t I PAYING you to watch my child? What does it matter what I’m doing while my child is there????????????????????

      • Megan Elford

        Yes, you’re correct — you are paying for a spot and you have the right to use it. Many daycares are open 10 or 12 hours each day, and likely you’ll pay for one space, as opposed to by the hour. And if you’ve paid $40 for a day, you’ll likely want to get your money’s worth. If you have that day off, you may want to use it to run errands, go to appointments, etc. and that’s great, because then when your child is at home with you at the end of the day, you’ll have more time to spend one-on-one with him or her.

        However, I would suggest that we should see our children a little bit differently than we see a hotel booking or groceries or gas for the car. I really think it’s in the child’s best interests to spend as much time as possible with mom or dad, rather than a daycare provider who, although she loves her daycare kiddos, has other priorities. Any chance you get to spend more time with your kids, take it! After your errands are done, show up an hour before you normally pick up. It will cost you about $4 (if you’re paying $40 for a 10 hour day), but it will make your child’s day! And really, it’s only $4. $4 for you to have a spot at an amazing daycare (I hope) AND for an extra hour of your child’s time. Totally worth it, in my opinion 🙂

      • Chandra

        I have to agree with you on that one. That is why I rarely mention if I have a “day off work” that I also take my child to the sitter. Sometimes you just need a day to be at home without taking care of someone else. Especially if you aren’t feeling well. Not sure why a day care provider wouldn’t be able to understand that. ?? Who knows. Some people just tend to feel superior to others.

        • Sara K

          What about the provider? Parents can (and many often do) take a “me” day, but providers don’t have that luxury. How about giving your provider a day off, or at least an easier day, and have a family day with your child?! You have your own child to get a relaxing “free day” from- the provider probably NEVER gets a day.

        • Kati

          I certainly don’t feel superior to the parents I provide care for.
          I also very very rarely get days off work. If I take a sick day I’ve just put 5 families in a bind and am likely going to get a guilt trip from at least one of them. That being said, I can tell you exactly when my last 2 sick days were. 1 day in March of 2014 and one in March of 2012. Both for d and c procedures following incomplete miscarriages. 1 day. I worked through the miscarriages. Prior to the 2012 day it was maternity leave in 2008. I’ve done this for 10 years. I think it’s great that you have a day to go relax and unwind… But don’t rub it in my face please.

      • mel

        It’s sad To see parents that would rather get their money’s worth than spend quality time with their child….we spend more time with your child than they do you.,., then you wonder why they are so well behaved for me and hellians for you

      • Beverly

        Of course you are paying for child care. But when that child is with me for 60 hours a week, goes home with you for an hour or two at night and then goes to bed, and you get here at 7 am and hand me his clothes because you didn’t have time to dress him, pardon me if I choke on, “I just need a break from Junior. I’m going to the spa for some ME time!”

  4. Rachel

    Another good one, “they are full of it today, glad they are with you. Good luck.”

    • Megan Elford

      I’ve heard the ominous-sounding “Good Luck!” too. Always a bad sign!

    • Ty

      I was only a daycare mom for about 5 days. I came home from work to find a workers child had bitten not only my child, but a couple carpool children also, end of me bringing my kids to daycare. Anyway, I have a special needs child. Last year before school, I was sitting with his team when I realized not one of them had been listening to me. I got up at the end of the meeting and sprightly wished them good luck with a smile.
      I received a call from one of the members a few weeks later she only said, ” You knew it and now we need your advice. I remember how you told us all good luck and not thank you.” She laughed, and I drove to the school to educate those who should have listened. It has become a joke among us, but it’s better to hear “good luck” and know something may happen than be blindsided with everything.

  5. Rhiannon

    Oh the things I’ve heard and dealt with from parents over the years!!! Thank god I have the guts to let the CRAZY ones go!! It’s hard enough watching their children for 10+ hours a day!!! Wake up people!

    • Megan Elford

      I think that’s so essential — having the courage to let the ones that make you dread each day go. It’s just not worth the stress!

  6. Tammy

    My best one was when mom walked in the door and said her son was on the porch having a fit and did not want to get dressed this morning so she just put him in the car seat to drop him off. I opened the front door for him to come in and he was buck naked from the waist down and this happened in Januray. He did have his winter work on though. Needless to say he went straight to the bathroom which is by the front door to put underwear and pants on.

  7. kathy brenner

    I had a parent come in with a child under two years old telling me he has asthma like his older brother so she is giving him nebulizer treatments..That are for her 10 year old son, said she doent need to waste the money at the doctors she knows by his syptoms..She has been through this before…I told her not here you cant give a 20 month old the same thing your giving his brother…

  8. Lori

    I was pregnant with my youngest when one of the parents showed up with his daughter. I had about 5 other kids there and as he walked out the door, he looked over his shoulder and said, “Oh, by the way, she has pneumonia.” Really? NO!!!!

  9. Raini

    My personal favorite is when they bring them without shoes!!! And still expect that we will all get to play outside!….What do you mean you wont watch my child even though he has lice, chickenpox, etc! …I brought you diapers and wipes on the first day…6 months later what do you mean you out!…what do you mean Johnny is sick vomiting and diarrhea I cant leave work just put him in the front of the Tv with a bowl Ill be there in 9.5 hours! ….I could go on for days…19 years experience…I surely got a chuckle reading these because THEY ARE TRUE!….Lastly, Im late because I had to work over…with a NEW manicure (because this morning you were missing/broken 3 of the same nails that magically grew back 9 hours later) and smelling like burnt skin from tanning wearing different clothes then when you dropped off this morning and having your hair a whole different color trying to tell me that you got alllll that done on your lunch break! WHERE so I can start saving time like that!!!! LOL

  10. MD

    My most horrid story is when a mother had her horribly sunburned and blistered child walk up to my door alone wearing only underwear and a towel. She then took off not to be found again until that evening. Father and all other emergency contacts were not to be found either. Luckily I had a copy of the child’s insurance card, medical history, and an elastic skirt that I could turn into a dress for her. Off we went to the ER… All 8 of us.. Infant, toddler, and 5 others under age 10. I have many other stories but this one really sticks with me.

  11. Melissa

    He swallowed a key chain on the way over here, do you think he’ll be alright?

  12. Mama of 3

    One other one could be :do not coddle your only child until they scream uncontrollably for the entire duration you are gone and expect that to be just fine for the daycare provider while demanding #17 already on the list to boot!!!!!!!!!

  13. Daycare provider

    I’ve been a childcare provider for almost 10 years and I have seen all the same things that everybody else has mentioned. Megan Elford, you couldn’t have said it better!!! Yes, parents reserve the right to do what they please when their child is in our care, but they should also WANT to spend as much time as possible with their child. Daycare should be a convenience, but not taken advantage of like it is by so many. I have had children who spend 12 HOURS a day there. That is a very long day for a little one, and I will tell ya, most of them who are there that long are absolutely miserable the last couple hours. Yes you are paying, but isn’t your child worth more to you than money? Coming even an hour or two early sometimes will absolutely DELIGHT the child. We aren’t saying that nobody deserves “me” time, but don’t forget about your baby either. They are only young for so long, and these little guys pick up a LOT more than you think at this age.

    • Donna Evans

      I had a parent who would leave their child from the moment I opened till the moment I closed (7am-6pm), even though his dad and older brothers were at home since school ended at 3:30(dad taught school). For the last 2 hours he was the only child still in care. He would often sit by the window waiting for his dad. It was the saddest thing ever. I finally made a policy that a full day in care was any 8.5 hours during open hours of care. Any time after that was charged as extended care at a different rate. That stopped that right quick!

      • joip

        I had a dad who didn’t work and he would pick up the older kids from school and then be outside with the other kids riding bikes,playing with a ball and wouldn’t come pick up the youngest girl until exactly 6pm. I also had another parents who worked odd hours proceed to walk up and down the block on his cell phone, occasionally stand in front of my house and not pick up his child, she was also the last to be picked up. in the warmer months I often keep the door open or we would play out front and she would looks so sad knowing her dad was out front, other kids were leaving and she had to stay until exactly 5:59 super sad

  14. Kate

    What sickens me the most is the parents who think “I pay you, so you work for me!” I usually weed them out during the interview process but every so often, one slips through. Dear parent, I do NOT work for YOU. I work for ME. I am my own boss. If you want to be the boss of your child care, hire a nanny! The day parents start taking out social security, FICA, and all other deductions required by law for an employer, is the day they can start saying they are my boss.

  15. Camille

    All of these sound awful! Can’t believe some parents do them. I was hoping not to see anything I’ve done on the list and I didn’t. :)

  16. Pingback: 12 Things Daycare Providers Wish Parents Knew | Welcome To The Zoo

  17. Colleen

    I really hope that as Early Childhood Educators, you sought out protective services in some of those disclosed instances, Those are blatant forms of abuse, and those parents should not have the privilege of having children in their custody.

    • Megan Elford

      Colleen, I totally agree with you. Although it’s ironic that you should mention this today. I just posted this post about a daycare operator who reported suspected abuse and was subsequently sued and fined for it. The reaction seems to be that people are more concerned about the family that was reported than for the child’s well being 🙁

      • C-

        It baffles my mind how a parent is even allowed to sue a provider who reports suspected abuse. All providers everywhere are mandated reporters, absolutely required by law to call their boss or the police if they know of or suspect abuse.

        For instance. When I was actively doing daycare, I was watching children for a parent who worked in a
        legal office! When the children started telling me about how their parents “beat” them, and more. I reported it.
        The parents furiously tried to retaliate against me. Other than discontinuing service with me. They could not do anything to me. No suing, no defamation of character. I followed the rules and reported what was stated.

  18. G

    Its very interesting how the providers feel about keeping the kids longer. I am a mother of a 18 month old and have recently started her with daycare. I miss her so much everyday when she is away at daycare. As a result, i used to drop her off late (10am) and pick her up early (3pm). I was told by the provider to not do that because it messes up the activity schedule for other kids. she needs to be there before 10am and can only be picked up after 4pm. Now I get there right at 4pm to pick up my daughter. i want to add that I work from home and my peak work hours are from 10am till 2ish pm so i do have the flexibility to spend more time with my daughter than most working parents and i wouldn’t trade that for anything in the world.

    • Phoebe

      really? thats sad. As educators, my team and I absolutely love and encourage parents to spend more time with their children if they have the time. If it is kept consistent, theres no problem with your hours.

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