As many of you know, I worked as a daycare teacher for over four years. During that time, I met a lot of different parents, each with their own unique style of doing things.
Daycare teachers talk to each other. We like to know what to expect from each set of parents when a child moves up into our class. Partly, we want to be able to ease each parent’s specific anxieties and make sure the children have a smooth transition into our class. Also, we like to prepare ourselves emotionally for some of the parents we know we area bout to encounter. Sometimes prayer is involved. 😛
Here are the five types of parents I’ve encountered in my years as a daycare teacher.
This parent is prepared for everything.
Diaper cream? Check. Sunscreen? Check. Three changes of clothes for any time of weather? Check. Nasal aspirator in case they get sick? Yep. With the boogie wipes right next to it.
It can be a little overwhelming sometimes, but daycare teachers tend to love The Boyscout because we’re not having to send home constant reminders about what their child needs.
They tend to bring in extra diapers with wipes without being asked. Their child never has to borrow daycare center clothes. They always get picked up on time (there seems to be a definite link between organization and punctuality).
Thank for, all you Boyscout parents out there. Daycare teachers everywhere love you.
The Forgetful Parent
On the other end of the spectrum sits the parent who is never prepared for anything.
We send home five notes asking for sunscreen and they’re confused when their kid gets a sunburn. We keep asking them to bring in diapers and they wonder why their three year old boy is squeezed into a size 3 Barbie diaper.
This is the parent who may bring their child in without shoes on occasion, or with only half an outfit on.
(I kid you not, we once had a dad bring in a child with nothing but a diaper on under her coat)
Every classroom has at least one forgetful parent, and a few others who are teetering on the border.
I get it – life is hectic, especially with kids. You’re trying to get everyone out the door in the mornings, you’re running late for work, and the best you can do some days is grab McDonalds for breakfast so your child isn’t starving.
We don’t expect every parent to be a Boyscout, but can you at least set a reminder in your phone or something? Your kid’s been out of diapers for two weeks now.
This is the parent we actually dread. They have very specific ideas about the way their child should be raised, and we inevitably let down their expectations at some point.
They’ll come into the classroom and start rearranging furniture and dictating which other children their kid gets to play with, what they should be eating, and how far away from the electrical outlets their child should sleep (despite the safety covers).
And heaven forbid their child should be the one to get hurt. We daycare teachers groan inwardly (and sometimes outwardly) whenever we have to write an accident report for the Micromanager’s child, because chances are we’re going to lectured about negligence and possibly reported to the office.
(newsflash: the office also knows which parents to take seriosuly and which ones are in their lodging complaints every other week)
Unfortunately, as a teacher in a class of 10 kids, we can’t always accommodate every specific request. If you’re the Micromanaging type, please hire a nanny. Everyone will be happier that way.
The Helpful Parent
These people are wonderful.
The Helpful Parent is the one who walks into the classroom, sees that Baby Boo has dropped his bottle, Baby Bee is stuck in the toybox, and the teacher is changing a diaper while the changee is wriggling his way backwards off the changing table. The Helpful Parent gives Baby Boo’s bottle back, gets Baby Bee out of the toybox, and grabs a dangly toy to distract the diaper changee.
I realize not everyone has time to be The Helpful Parent. Sometimes you see the chaos, but you’re running late for work, and you have to dash. I understand, and I appreciate that it isn’t your job.
Still, it’s nice to have a helping hand on occasion. We won’t forget it.
Does this child have parents? We aren’t sure. We never see them. A kid just magically appears in our classroom.
The Absentee and The Forgetful Parent tend to go hand in hand for the simple reason that if we never see you, we can’t let you know what your child needs.
I get that you’re in a hurry (sometimes that’s a hurry to get your weekly pedicure – yeah, we know about that), but it’s common courtesy to at least let us know you’re dropping your child off. It’s a safety issue if we don’t know he’s in the classroom.
The primary reason for the sneaky drop off that I’ve noticed is that the Absentee parent is on their phone and can’t be bothered to hang up and talk to the caretaker of their child. Please know that we consider this very rude. In fact, I know some daycare centers have a specific policy against phone conversations during drop off and pick up.
The call can wait. Come say hi, see what your kid’s classroom and teacher are actually like, maybe even ask how their day went when you pick them up.