Faith and Trust: Building a Relationship With Your Home Daycare Provider

When I started Tiny Steps Mommy nearly three years ago, I would write about my kids or about issues related to running a daycare. Over the years, I have stopped writing about my experiences as a daycare owner/provider. I hardly even mention this part of my life in my writing anymore. Some people have asked me why. My answer is that this is deliberate. I stopped writing about being a daycare provider to protect the privacy of my daycare families. As Tiny Steps Mommy grows, I feel a strong responsibility to be a Mama bear to the children entrusted to me each day and I would never want to exploit or share stories that are not mine to share. I adore all of the families who are regular parts of my life. Some have been with me for years, bringing their second and third babies to my home to care for and love on for up to 50 hours a week. As you can imagine, this is a responsibility I take seriously. I am not perfect, but I am dedicated. And so are the amazing women I employ as my assistants. Our standards are high because there is nothing more important than the safety of the children in our care.

I have extremely strong opinions about what it means to not only care for, but teach other people’s children. I am an advocate for early learning initiatives and am always studying the latest research and standards for caring for children — which change ALL the time. I listen to the debates over the “best” methods for putting your baby to sleep or getting your child interested in reading. I know the difference between a “trend” in a child care and an actual well-researched and proven method. I trust my instincts and take pride in my ability to connect with little ones. I am calm under pressure and can handle most child care related issues with grace. I pay attention to milestones, but understand that every child develops at his or her own pace. I respect differing parenting styles and try my best to never place judgment or make parents feel like I know more than they do when it comes to their child, because no one other than Mom or Dad truly knows best.

To do what I do, requires a very fine balancing act between running a professional-minded business and building real relationships with not only the children, but the families I interact with each day. Running a home-based daycare is not easy. It is exhausting and stressful and can lead to burn out. But, most of us who choose to do this, do so out of a love and devotion to children. We don’t do it because we enjoy the traffic of people in and out of our homes. We don’t do it because we enjoy losing some privacy and having to divide our attention away from our own children. We don’t do it because we like the lack of adult interaction. We don’t do it because we love being spit-up on or having to deal with runny noses or other potentially explosive bodily fluids. We don’t do it because it’s easy money. It can be a good living, but it is not an easy means to an end.

Sadly, I do not think many people understand this point. To read the news or message boards or mom groups on Facebook, you would think that anyone who chooses to care for children out of her home, is only in it for the money. To read these people’s comments, you would believe that somehow we intentionally treat your children worse than other child care settings. Or that we are hiding something.

I know that being a parent requires many choices. It is also stressful. You never feel like you are doing enough. Or that you are making the right decisions. It’s easy to question things regarding your children. I don’t fault people for this natural feeling. What I do take issue with, is the insinuation that someone other than you or your provider can tell you what is best. If your child is thriving and happy in an environment… if your child is making progress in all areas and meeting milestones… if your child is securely attached to the person you choose as a provider while you are at work, then this is all you need to know. This is what you should trust — not strangers on a message board using scare tactics. Not bloggers or parenting sites that give you check lists or ideas for taking “prudent” measures.

When my son was a baby, I dropped him off at a wonderful home daycare. I didn’t need daily written reports or regular newsletters or emailed reminders. What I did require was a safe place and a person I trusted. I knew my son and I knew he was being well taken care of, whether she did everything the way I would or not. You see, part of entrusting someone else to care for your child while you are at work, is realizing and accepting that you are not able to micro-manage every aspect of your child’s care. You can ask for some things. You can bring lists. You can share your concerns. Ultimately though, you have to allow the person to do her job. You have to respect her expertise. You have to have trust and a little bit of faith. Because believe it or not… it takes faith and trust for us to allow you into our homes as well. We open our hearts and our houses based on more than just contracts.

You have to have trust and faith when building a relationship with a daycare provider. @tinystepsmommy

I am not saying this means you stop being vigilant. You never stop wanting the best for your child. But, it does mean that you need to learn to have some perspective. You need to be measured. You need to build a real relationship with your provider and be honest enough to communicate your concerns directly. We are human beings with feelings. We get as attached to your children as they do to us. We open our homes and our hearts to families every day. So, remember this the next time a chain of negativity is started in some online mom group. One diaper rash or bump on the head does not equal negligence. You don’t call social services because you dislike a clause in her contract about paid vacations or deposits.

I adore all the families and children currently in my care. I do not have problems with any of them. In fact, I feel like many of them are extended members of my family and close friends. But, I know I am in the minority. I know there are other equally wonderful providers who are not being treated with the respect they deserve. They are not being seen or thanked the way they should. They are not being given the credit they are owed. And this fills me with such sadness and apprehension because I understand that the vast majority of people who care for little ones have decent hearts with pure intentions. It takes an even more special person to do this from the sanctity of her home. We are not all like the awful ones you read about in the news.

Choosing a home daycare is not for everyone, but, for those who do find the right provider, it can be a wonderful option… with a little trust and faith.

 

About 

Nicole Dash is a writer, blogger and business owner who lives in the suburbs outside Washington, DC with her husband and four children. She started her career as a journalist and copy editor. She also managed public relations and corporate communications for a national franchise company, but in 2006 started a child care business. In 2012, she launched Tiny Steps Mommy, a lifestyle and parenting blog that quickly gained a following and connected her to an expansive group of women-owned businesses. In 2013, she started a digital marketing consulting business that focused on growing community in an authentic way. Through those connections she was inspired to open Play, Work or Dash, a coworking space that also offers onsite childcare up to three hours per day. It is where like-minded professionals pursue their business goals with the extra level of support parents desire; a place where you "bring your kids to work." She is an active member of the Washington, DC blogger community. She has been published on The Washington Post, Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, Mamalode and Pop Sugar.

Comments

comments

Comments

  1. Robin Rue (@massholemommy) says:

    I have always been home with my kids or had my mom watch the kids. I am lucky I never had to outsource child care.

  2. Wow, I wish I had known you when we were looking for one years ago. So many more need to feel the way you do. I know it’s with children, and parents, but it’s still a career and needs to be handled that way. In regards to privacy, etc. – I agree. Too many aren’t thinking that way. Praise God for people like you! 🙂
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  3. This is just such an excellent informative and insightful article. I shared it with hopes that all parents who use daycare can have your wisdom and insight!!!
    Chris Carter recently posted…Devotional Diary: AngelsMy Profile

  4. Haven’t tried day care for my kids, they started pre-school when they turned 3 and we have a nanny who stays with them while my husband and I go to work. We do things that works for us. 🙂
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  5. I’ve used home care providers before. Some have been great, others not so much. Still in both cases it’s been good to take time to get to know them to see if they are trustworthy.
    Onica {MommyFactor} recently posted…WrestleMania Reading Challenge 2015 #WWEReads #WWEMomsMy Profile

  6. This is a tough one. And it’s definitely a relationship where you’ve got to have trust.

  7. Eliz Frank says:

    It does take trust and open communication to build a great child care provider relationship. When my twins were little, we had one bad experience, but the rest were brilliant. I’m grateful for the lady who helped me care for my kids, and we are still friends today.

  8. great article to read especially for new parents outsourcing child care. I wish we had daycare or nursery near our place back when my son was 2 or three years old then maybe he has more social skills not that he is 7
    Kero Pinkihan recently posted…DSF Mega Deal: Free 1-Month ICFLIX Subscription with Lumia 535!My Profile

  9. I’m so glad that you pointed out the importance of trusting your daycare provider. Like you said, just because a daycare provider doesn’t do everything exactly how you would doesn’t mean they’re bad at their job; it just means that they have a different way of doing things. The relationship between parent and daycare provider should be one of trust, because both parties want the best for their children. Thanks for the article.

  10. This is a wonderful post! Nowadays it is so difficult to keep other’s opinions at a distance whilst trying to try to look for your own way to properly care for you child, and with something as huge as child care, trust is definitely a huge and important part of that process!

  11. Be always cooperative with your contractors. It is also your responsibility to check with them your suggestions and they should consider.
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  12. It is an important relationship in anything especially if it’s about the welfare of your child. Always build a good relationship with those who takes care of them.
    daycare Capalaba recently posted…Learning Through Pebble PlayMy Profile

  13. good insightful article. We also have a good article.

    http://smartwomanworld.com/selecting-good-day-care-center/

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