Ten suggestions your child-care provider wants to share
If you outsource any part of your parenting to a child-care provider, chances are that person has opinions about you and your parenting. But relax! Most of the time, he or she probably thinks you are an awesome mom and that your child is the best kid ever. Seriously. Most people who devote their lives to taking care of kids love their job; otherwise, they would go crazy and find another one. They also want to support you, not undermine or judge you.
But here are some things your child-care provider is likely thinking and won’t say:
- Your child freaks out when you drop him off because you do. Separation anxiety is a normal part of your child’s development. Sometimes, though, it is exacerbated by your response. If you are anxious and upset about leaving your child, chances are he will pick up on that energy and react accordingly.
- Let your child be three or two or however old she is. Three-year-olds do not need to hit all the milestones for five-year-olds, and childhood isn’t a contest.
- Let your child grow up. It can be distressing to see your child grow up and reach new milestones, but it is also an important part of his development. Let your child grow and thrive without babying him or responding to his growth as a personal tragedy. Kids become more and more independent as they grow up, and that is normal and OK.
- Stop complaining about your child’s other parent. Your ex probably is difficult, but the better you and your ex-partner can collaborate, the better it is for your child. At a certain point, your child will understand, and it isn’t healthy to put a child in the middle or poison her against the other parent.
- Boundaries don’t make you mean; they make you a good parent. Children usually have a structured day when they are with their child-care providers. Structure and reasonable expectations help your child behave well and thrive while you are at work. You can respect, love, and nurture your child while providing structure and boundaries. It probably isn’t a coincidence that your child behaves better at day care than he does with you if you have trouble structuring your time with your child or setting limits.
- Stop obsessing about your child’s size. Kids come in all shapes and sizes. You do not get a plaque if your baby is in the 99th percentile for height and weight. Likewise, if your baby is petite, that is fine, too. If your pediatrician is happy with your child’s growth, stop comparing her to all the other kids out there.
- All kids throw tantrums. Meltdowns are part of being a kid. It doesn’t mean you are a bad parent, and your child-care provider probably isn’t judging you. Everyone knows kids melt down from time to time.
- Stop judging other kids and their moms. Sure, Johnny might not share toys, but he isn’t evil, and his mom isn’t negligent. Provide other parents the grace you would like them to extend to you.
- You don’t need to rescue your child. Stop raising your child to be helpless.
- Your child won’t break. All child-care providers should be committed to the safety of your child above all else. That said, if your child gets a scratch, it is not the end of the world. Your kids get over minor bumps, bruises, and colds quickly. Seeing you freak out can make them more anxious about something that is normally a blip on their radar.
Child-care providers aren’t opinionless marshmallows. Chances are your provider has noticed a few patterns with your child, so if you’re curious about what your provider thinks, ask! This person spends a lot of time with your child and would probably be more than happy to share his or her perspectives and observations.
Danielle Bostick, a former Solo Mom and ESME’s Wellness–Mental Health Resource Guide, is a Latin teacher, an advocate, and a mom to six kids in Winchester, Virginia. When not working as an educator, Bostick writes about the National Football League for various sites and sexual assault and child sexual abuse for the Huffington Post. You can find her on Twitter: @danibostick, and on Facebook: Dani Bostick.
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