This was a tough post to write but we thought it was important to share in hopes to help other families. We were at our daycare for a year and a half and loved it. We had so much trust in them and got very comfortable, every day was the same routine of drop off and pick up. But then our world got turned upside down. After looking back at signs, talking with licensing, Child Protective Services, etc.
We wanted to share some tips to help ensure your kids are safe in their childcare setting:
Injury Reports. Make sure every injury is documented on a written injury report and shown to you at the end of the day. If the explanation doesn’t make sense or doesn’t add up ask questions. Kids are wild and crazy but don’t just blow off the injury, make sure you get the full story. You can ask them to show you were and how it happened.
Request Pictures. Don’t just wait for the super cute pictures daycare sends or posts on social media. Randomly request pictures in a specific setting. It can be a casual text “Hope everyone’s having a good day. Can you send me a picture of “child’s name” eating lunch today?” Or “taking a nap today”. When you get this picture take a good look. If it’s at lunch are they eating what the menu says it is for the day? If there’s no menu does the meal look to be enough? Variety? If it’s at nap, even if your child isn’t sleeping, look closely do they look comfortable? Content? Relaxed?
Unannounced Drop-ins. This is really important to do right now since city and state licensing are doing virtual inspections because of COVID (which is just nuts and not safe for the kids). Pick a day that you’ll leave work during the day, don’t tell daycare and just show up. It’s best to plan to take your kid home that day as it’s hard to come and go. But look around, does the area look clean? Kids are engaged? Teacher is supervising? How’s the temperature of the room? Notice to see if the kids seem to be approaching the teacher not just the teacher approaching the kids.
Unusual or Silly Habits. Kids can do the silliest things and can pick up some unusual habits. If you notice an unusual bathroom habit or perhaps fear of the potty. Ask your kids questions specific to when they are at daycare. And also ask their teacher what does bathroom/potty time look like? Or let’s say your kids puts his hands in his water glass to wash them. Ask their teacher about how they wash hands before meals. Ask your kids if they wash their hands in the sink before meals or to clean them when they’re dirty. If anything appears to be a red flag investigate more. It could be nothing or it could end up being a serious issue.
Ask Specific Questions. At the end of the day when you pick your kid up don’t just ask “Did you have a good day?”. Try something more specific “What did you do that was fun today?” “Did anything make you sad today?” “How about scared?”. It’s important to ask these questions even when they are young, they will find away to communicate with you.
I don’t want to make you doubt your child care or second guess having your kids in daycare, because I’m all for it. Things like this don’t happen all the time but they can happen and we never thought it would happen to us. These are somethings you can actively be doing to help make sure your kids are in a safe environment when they aren’t home.
I’m Renee Platto, mom of two boys ages 2 and 7 months. I love everything about being a mom including those moments of hiding in the back of the pantry to finishing eating my piece of Dove chocolate. I have a wonderful husband who loves playing crazy with the boys. I also try to find a good work life balance as I have a full time position as a Digital Marketing Manager.