So you’ve got this amazing child and you finally found a great childcare, your child is settling into the routine, and you feel like it is a safe and nurturing environment. You breathe easy after saying goodbye at the window and head off to work with no worries.
Then your child’s primary caregiver gives her notice. Then the co-teacher in your child’s classroom gives his notice. New providers are brought in, but you feel insecure about your child being in the classroom. You notice things that make you uncomfortable, like lots of gossip, personal phone calls, unprofessional behavior…
What do you do now?
1. Go to the source. Be direct and kind, matter of fact but compassionate. Be honest with your concerns, “I understand you are still getting to know my child, my concern is…”
2. Check in with the director or supervisor. Drop a call or an email if you don’t have time for a visit just saying that you had some concerns and spoke with the teachers. Be positive and open.
3. Be patient, but watchful. Change takes time and persistence. But that’s no excuse for providing poor care to your child.
4. Be direct. Be clear. Speak to teachers and directors, expressing your concerns in a calm and respectful manner. Though our children provoke passionate feelings, people will stop listening if you are too passionate.
5. Look for new care, keeping in mind that it takes time…keep communication lines open while you’re waiting for a new spot so your child is still able to be in a (hopefully) respectful environment.
If at any time you feel like your child is in danger, report it! This may sound harsh, but children can be harmed in childcare settings that are not following regulations, breach ethics, and/or lack the ability to provide adequate care. Your child is your most pressing concern, and if you feel there is a safety risk, you should report the provider. Each state has a department that deals with provider regulation and they are equipped to evaluate the possible safety concerns that arise.
As a provider, this can be a scary possibility, especially if something is misinterpreted or there is a conflict that could illicit a false report. But as a mom, I feel that your child and their spirit are the most valuable and irreplaceable commodities on the earth. If you’re not sure, talk to other resources out there, like your pediatrician, or local child care resource specialist.
But always, go to the source first. Many issues can be cleared up in a face to face conversation. You may hear how you can be supportive to them as they adjust.