How to Stay Off Your Daycare’s “Bad Parents” List

One of the things parents look for when evaluating a child care provider, whether it’s a child care center, preschool or home daycare, is the discipline policy. After all, we all know that our toddler or preschooler is going to misbehave at some point. So it’s important to know what happens when a child misbehaves at daycare.

I know what you’re thinking:

But my child never misbehaves? Congratulations, you are the one we have been waiting for! There’s a bridge for sale in Brooklyn we’ve been holding for you :)

Seriously, though, one thing you may not have considered is that you may also be misbehaving sometimes.

Yes you, the grown up! And your child care provider or preschool director may not even tell you that you’re one of the “bad parents”. After all, it’s awkward to tell customers they’re being jerks! Especially when it involves something they care deeply about. Like, you know, their kids!

Therefore, if you want to stay off your daycare’s “bad parents” list, we kindly ask that you please:

  1. Pay child care tuition on time. Back up a second… this one, they may actually tell you about (and they should) if you’re behind. Child care is a friendly business but it is still a business. Don’t make anyone chase you for payment, especially if your little one attends an in-home daycare.
    In most cases, family child care programs (aka home daycares) are owned and run by one single person, and their entire income depends on you paying the daycare fees. So please, please (please!), pay them on time.
  1. Respect what they do and show appreciation. Taking care of kids requires a wide variety of skills: early education, of course, but also entertainment, food preparation, and even treating boo-boos like a super nurse! You don’t necessarily have to go out of your way to thank your child care provider, but it’s nice if you show respect and appreciation.
    Oh, and if your child got a kick out of a particular activity the teacher picked out, let them know. You’ll instantly see a smile on their face.  Of course, if you really want to thank your child care provider, here are some ideas to show appreciation on a special occasion.
  1. Make sure your child has everything. Part of respecting your child’s preschool teacher means paying attention to their planned activities and making sure your child has everything they need to participate in them. If a shoebox is necessary for a preschool arts and craft project, then pack a shoebox.
    If sunscreen is necessary for playing outside, pack it. Make sure to also pack your preschool lunch box (by the way, here are 6 AWESOME preschool lunch tips from the “Dark Side”). Usually, child care centers will also require a change of clothes, a water bottle, etc. Just make a list and check every day!
  1. Back up your child care provider at home. That means making sure your child knows that you respect what the caregiver or preschool teacher is doing. Children who see that you respect the teacher, are more inclined to respect their teacher as well. If your child played a game at daycare or preschool, you can play a quick round at home too. Or implement a specific routine before a meal, for example, to show that it is important.
  2. Keep your sick child at home. Don’t wait until the last minute to move to the DEFCOUGH level 3 of a sick child (wondering what DEFCOUGH is? Check out our post about what to do when your child is too sick for daycare). If there is a reasonable doubt that your child is sick, go ahead and keep him or her at home.
    Don’t be the one whose personal issues cause problems for the whole group! Having a sick child is inconvenient, but what goes around comes around. Another parent in your daycare will be in your shoes one day, and you’ll hope they do the same thing.
  1. Be on time for daycare drop-off and pick-up. If your child attends a daycare center or preschool with before and after school care options, then it’s just about money. You can be a little sloppy about scheduling as long as you’re prepared to pay for it. However, if there is no before and after school, then it’s about courtesy!
    Waiting around after-hours is inconvenient (frustrating is probably a better word) for preschool teachers. Same thing goes for dropping off your child early, even if your infant or toddler goes to a home daycare. The child care provider probably needs to get his or her own children ready before you drop-off yours.
  1. Use the right channels to handle issues. As mentioned above, children misbehave. Most child care and preschool programs keep a close watch on misbehavior and have a specific discipline policy. Especially when it comes to serious issues like preschool bullying. However, caregivers and teachers will never be able to avoid issues completely.
    If something does happen, try to keep calm, gather the facts and respect the procedures the center has put in place to deal with them. That probably means speaking with the director and teachers. NOT the other child’s parent (initially, anyway).

Remember that your child is YOUR prima donna (or primo uomo) but not EVERYBODY’S. Your child care provider should respect her individuality, but you should remember that she is part of a group when she goes to daycare or preschool.  That’s life! Getting familiar with this idea, or in other words learning social skills, is one of the greatest benefits of daycare and preschool, actually.     

If you’re a child care provider or preschool teacher, please share your thoughts on how we can all can stay off your “bad parents” list! :)


CareLuLu is the easiest way to find safe and affordable child care that fits your family’s specific needs. Created by parents for parents, our website lists over 200,000 licensed daycares and preschools with verified parent reviews, photos, daycare cost, etc. Best of all, it’s FREE! Don’t waste hours looking for local child care and preschool programs, check out!

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