Dealing with Unpleasant Parents in a Daycare Setting

Hi everyone! I'm sure some of you have childcare center experience prior to becoming a nanny, and I would love your thoughts. On the flipside, I know some of you have dealt with parents like the one I am about to describe, and I would love to know how to deal with this family, as I have never dealt with one like them before. Surprising.

I work in a childcare center, and our sick child policy is pretty clear-if we send a child home with a fever of 101.1 or higher, they must be picked up in an hour and can return to the center fever and med free within 24 hours. If I send a child home with a fever at 1030a, they have until 1130 to be picked up and can return to the center anytime after 1130 the next day, providing they are fever and medicine free. Most of our families are prompt in pick up and they do not bring their child back the next day. It's not fun leaving work to pick up a sick child, but it's part of being a parent.

I have a child transitioning into my classroom from our one year old room. and when K (his current teacher in the 1 room) brought him to our room, she said she called Mom, because he has a fever, but it wasn't high enough for him to go home. It was easy to tell by looking at him he wasn't feeling well, and our class went outside. When we came back in, I checked his temp to see if by chance the fever broke. It went down slightly, but spiked again. I took his temp again, and let a member of admin know I was calling Mom to pick him up. Mom has a tendency not to answer her phones, so I was surprised that I actually got in contact with her. She wanted me to take his temp again, considering at this time it was over 101, which meant he had to go home. They have been there for two weeks, and I understand they are still trying to familiarize themselves with our policy manual, yet she told me she was at work, and couldn't pick him up until 1230-130ish, which was clearly over the policy time. She sounded like she didn't want to be bothered with such trivial matters, and other teachers have gotten the same impression, as if she doesn't want to be bothered with sick children or a child's needs. Through a phone call to admin, and six calls to Mom and Mom's boyfriend, he was finally picked up. Mom's recation? " 'If he's sick that isn't my problem, because I have to work' ".

Other teachers who know the family have said they don't care for the Mom, as she seems to not care about her children: she ignores calls, doesn't return calls, drops off early as possible and picks up at 600p every night, ignores teachers notes on development and what her children (the 1 and 2 year old specifically) need; diapers. wipes, etc. She doesn't even bother to listen to teachers when they talk to her and won't make the time to chat with us. My co teacher's sister has the younger child, and my friends K and A have the 2 year old, who will be in my room full time next week.

This child seems very sweet, considering the fact that he cries literally all day, doesn't talk. and has no social skills. (Mom drives a school bus, and for the last year, he would ride the bus with her all day). I don't like having negative impressions or attitudes of children or families, and for me not to like a family or a parent is rare.

How do I deal with this parent? I'm thinking in all honesty they will leave soon due to being angry with the policies and the fact she has to be a mother, and can't be lazy. I think she wants to be coddled, and I cannot do that.



Anonymous said...

I understand your frustration but, it is up to the admin to enforce to sick policy. Your job is to care for the child no matter how frustrating the mother maybe. If she doesn't give the child attention or want to be bothered like you said, then the daycare center might be the only place he gets love and affection. Just continue to care and teach the child and let the admin deal with the mother.

Letsbehonest said...

I agree with the above poster....it should be the head of the day cares job to really deal wth the parent if she isn't doing what is supposed to be done not the teacher personally over and over. And ok just to play the other side of the field for a minute....I worked in a daycare for four years after high school and many many teachers fudge the temp of a child to get them sent home. It happens a lot. The kids temp will be 100.0 but they are fussy and obviously not feeling well so you say it is bigger as not to deal with a sick child among the other kids. If anyone says that doesn't happen in daycare a they are not being honest, so I do know the sick policy is tough for some parents because they will have to leave work to pick up a child that was maybe just teething or have a small ear infection and thus have a little fever but now they have to miss two days of work. I know, I know if you have a child you need to take care of them and why have one blah blah but that is why so many parents try and go the nanny route even when they can't completely afford it so they don't have to miss so many days due to kids having green snot and low fevers. Overall just be nice to the kid and try to have patience with the mom and maybe she will be more flexible if she gets someone coming at her with some care and concern and not just with notions of what they are told. Start fresh with your opinion of her and not just from what you have heard from other teachers.

Anonymous said...

The center needs to kick them out. End of story. Filling her spot won't be an issue. Cut ties. Things will not improve


nc said...

Continue to enforce the policy. Eventually mom will get with the program, or will leave and go to a different center who will let her get away with being lazy. While he is there, give him as much love, attention, and stimulation as possible to hopefully counteract mom's negligence.

Anonymous said...

I would be all over the director as it is putting all the other kids and yourself at risk. I would suggest to the administration that the child wait in the office (resting on a cot or books etc) until the parents pick up. I think that may encourage administration to enforce sick policies. If I found out another child was being allowed to violate the policy that is in place to protect my child from communicable illness simply because the administration didn't feel like being bothered I would pull my son immediately. When one child is continually allowed to spread illness it impacts all of the other families and is seriously selfish on the part of the parent. If it keeps up look for another job.

Exdaycare staff said...

The policy I learned in Daycare- and carry into nannying- is that the six big ones(Vomiting, Fever, Diarrhea, Skin Rash that isn't eczema, Pink Eye and Lice) mean child goes home right away and doesn't come in till symptom free for 24 hrs. My center would have kicked her out. Harsh, but we had to think of all the other kids/staff too. I can't believe she cares so little for her kids! SMH!

Anonymous said...

I agree with the above comments. But just to play devil's advocate, she may be in a position that taking any time off of work may jeopardize her job, as many people are in. She also may be having financial difficulties affording diapers and wipes. And obviously if this is the case, she's probably stressed and not too happy in general.

I have no idea what salary sick leave is like for school bus drivers. Just a thought.

STAHP said...

The parents' financial or job situation sadly enough cannot be the school's concern. Daycare isn't the cheapest around here so for all the other parents who don't want to pay just to have heir kids get sicker- as they will catch something no matter what- she needs to come get her child.

If she truly cannot take off work to get him she needs a sitter. Someone who'll accept cheap (ten per hour or so) to care for her child. Being a parent means figuring it out. It's not for this stressed out teacher to deal.

OP, your director needs to be verrrrrrrrrrrrrry firm and enforce the policy.

this_nick said...

^Best answer.

Anonymous said...

I agree that the child should be picked up, but it also sounds like the employees of the daycare just do not care for the mother and they are badmouthing the mother and amping up the feelings. She states they have only been with the daycare for 2 weeks, and that the child was "just transitioning" into this teacher's room. How could she have such a history with the mother if the child just transitioned in her room and in fact the child has only been at the facility for 2 weeks. I don't understand her saying that this mother never answers phone; ignores teacher' notes, drops off child early and picks up at 6 (but never said it was even outside of the stated hours of the daycare. I cannot believe the daycare requires that much daytime interaction with a parent. She also states the mother is a bus driver. I am positive that as a bus driver she is prohibited from speaking on a phone while driving. I am sure the mother would be skinned alive by any parent on this page if they knew their child's bus driver was talking on the phone while driving. Is she suppose to simply stop the bus on the side of the road; get out and abandon bus with/without children? if she is about to walk onto bus full of children waiting to be taken home is she suppose to just turn around and walk off bus?? could you imagine those children's parents reaction when told... sorry your child wasn't home, their driver had 1 hour to get from her job to daycare. An hour maybe just be prohibitive since she is also responsible for the safety of a bus load of children. What if any of these daycare workers were called by their child's school and told get here in an hour. what if they could possible in one hour arrange for alternative supervision of their charges, AND make the commute to the school? would they be a "bad mother"?

Someun said...

I only have this to say: so what!! It's not relevant what this parent's job is. How is her job more important than anyone else's! It's her child. The rules do apply to her as well regardless of what her job is.

What if the parent is a surgeon, a nuclear physicist, a chef who can't leave a busy kitchen, a nurse in a pediatric ward? All of these people could conceivably have jobs where they can't answer the phone. What's to be done? They have someone who can answer the phone be their designated point of contact, they make some other arrangement. It's their responsibility.

In my daycare we charge $ for every late minute. Be late and you owe the teacher that money so bring cash. One teacher even followed the mom to the bank when mom tried to play the I don't have cash card. Teacher was like: no problem, I'll follow you to the bank. Petty? Maybe, but that mom wasn't late again. And she owed the teacher 86 dollars since she was very late.

Bottom line, if you choose to have a child, you're also choosing to be responsible for him/her.

Anonymous said...

The post never indicated that the mother showed up late. The post stated that the mother did not immediately answer her phone. It seems unrealistic to expect a parent to carry their phone in their hand every second their child was in daycare, and if they had to walk away from their phone, that they first contact their "designated" person and have that person "on call". I guess I don't understand this. My children were in daycare prior to everyone having cell phones. There were certainly times in the day that neither I, my husband, and even my emergency contact would not be immediately available. One example right off the bat would be when we would be traveling to and from our jobs and my emergency contact would possible have run to the supermarket.