Everyone has stress. Stress at work, stress at home, money stress…..one thing you don’t want to be worried about is the welfare of your children while you are working.
My mom (the best kind of sitter you can find) watches my children three days a week and we have a sitter for the other two. We went the daycare center route first but it was more problems than it was worth. It seemed that the kids were sick all the time. They were getting bit by other kids (my daughter got bit twice by the same child). And it seemed that things like potty time were a little to open as anyone could see. There also seemed to be alot of people wandering about who may or may not have been parents, I really didn’t know. I found that to be a little scary. So we switched to an in home sitter.
We went this route with our children thinking there would be less strangers walking around. It would feel homier. There would be less chance of them getting sick because there would be fewer kids. And it was a little cheaper (always a bonus). Sounded good until we started having issues there as well….
Our first babysitter kept leaving little notes in my diaper bag of days that she needed off or needed me to pick up the kids early. I work an 8am-5pm job. It is not a flexible schedule which was discussed when we started there. My children were only there 2 days a week and I needed child care for those two days!
Her cat also went to the bathroom on my child’s coat. The sitter said that her cat does that and that my child’s coat should have been in the closet. They are kids! They don’t always remember everything and that is why they are in someone else’s care. Wouldn’t you put a cat that likes to go potty on other people’s stuff in a room where it can’t do that when you are watching other people’s children? Maybe it’s just me, but between the constant battle of when she needed time off and the cat issues… I couldn’t take them there anymore!
Then I had a sitter who let the kids play outside without supervision. Their yard wasn’t fenced either. That is a big issue all its own! I had no problem with the kids playing outside when there was an adult outside with them.
My latest sitter was my last. I would pick them up everyday happily finding her husband and business partner always outside with them. This was good! Then two weeks ago as I was picking up my children after work I was told that their car, which was parked in the back where all the kids played, was scratched.
This sitter said MY child did it with a plastic sandbox shovel. When I asked who was outside with them…big surprise….she said “no one, the kids are old enough to be outside by themselves”!!! Um, not! What am I paying you for? (No, I did not say that out loud!)
She said her husband got an estimate for the scratches to be repaired and it would cost $344. Wasn’t that fast? In one day, the same day as the scratch? C-r-a-z-y! She also told me that she would be using our money as their deductable from their car insurance as they wanted to get the whole car painted! (Um, yeah, I was born yesterday!)
No one was watching my child, or any of the other children including her own for that matter, when their car was “allegedly” scratched. So who really is to say if at all how the car got scratched? Did it even happen that day? Or did they just decide they wanted to paint their car and this was the plan on how?
Needless to say, I wasn’t about to sponsor her new paint job! We gave her the boot too. And no we didn’t paint her car although we would have liked to have had it painted a hideous magenta!
We have now decided to go back to a daycare center. My plans are to make an unannounced visit to the center to make sure that there is enough security at first. I am fully prepared to not be permitted in at least that’s how I think it should be! If that happens, then I’ll gladly schedule a tour of the facility. Then I will look to see how comfortable I am with how things are done. Is there enough privacy for the kids when it is needed?
I will also take a good look at the information provided while asking plenty of questions about their policy. What is the policy for a child who bites or hurts other children? Who is permitted in the center and how close can they get to the children? Those are just a few of my concerns that unfortunately I have learned from experience.
I hope to find that the daycare centers are set up more like a school and that most have a pre-school included. This would be a huge bonus for my long term plans! Of course I will look at the cleanliness aspect as well. But one of the most important findings I think will be whether I find happy children or whiny children. Is there enough activity to keep them busy?
Plus they won’t be taking random days off now will they? Seems like a better situation for my family.
The point is… if you have a great sitter…keep them, they are hard to find! What are your stories? Please share some of your good or bad stories about daycare centers vs. in home sitters? What do you like better? What list of questions or concerns would you ask when interviewing a child care provider?