Every blogger has a “vision” for the blog they create. I can tell you that this post you are about to read does not align with my vision. What this post does, is provide a real experience for family child care providers to relate to. It will show an insight into my center, my current issues. Unlike most other posts, this one will not have a “solution” to my problem…because at this point, I do not know what the answer is…Maybe you will!
I have five families enrolled this year, and as we know there is bound to be a “bad apple”. I know every provider has those families, and I am sure your experiences could “trump” mine…. Yet, one of the things that gives me the biggest headaches about my job (aside from the amazingly long hours 55+) is parents…and their obnoxious requests…and inability to meet you in the middle.
So here is my current parent scenario:….The Sleep Nazi’s
Family “Sleep Nazis” came in last week to drop off their 3yr old boy & infant. As mom is putting their coats away, diapers, etc. she says to me “Oh and by the way can you not give my 3yr old a nap anymore? I mean, I know you have that “rule” and everything but he just can’t take naps anymore.”
……….uh…..seriously lady?! That “rule” isn’t a rule, it’s a law. ALL licensed providers (group, family & otherwise) in my state are required to offer a 1/2 hour rest period for children under 5. If they fall asleep we are required to allow them to sleep…which is her problem because he falls asleep within the first 10 minutes of resting consistently every day.
So I say “I am not sure if there is any flexibility in that law (Am I the only one thinking that statement just sounds ridiculous?!)….let me check with the licensor and get back to you”. and she says “Well I can provide a Dr’s note excusing him from naps., it’s just that if he does nap here he wont fall asleep until 9 or 10 and sometimes he is awake longer than us. We can’t get him to sleep at night and then he is tired during the day and naps here. I’ll call my Dr. today and have it to you this evening.”
So….the real problem is: You can’t figure out how to get your kid to sleep and night, and now I, dutiful caregiver need to bend the LAW so you don’t have to deal with your kid in the evenings….And your pulling a dr into this??!! What off-their-rocker doctor is going to write a note saying “Sleep is detrimental to this 3 yrd old child, please excuse him from sleeping”.
Look, I get that some parents feel their child does not need as much sleep. I understand that kids can be extremely challenging in the evenings, and some kids don’t need as much sleep as others. But daycare mom did you ever think that it is not say…his “naps at daycare” that are the problem?? Maybe it is oh I don’t know: 1. that you just moved to a new city & home 2. that you have an infant taking your attention away from him 3. that school just started a month ago and he is missing you in the evenings 4. that his evening routines need to be adjusted???? Is he getting his bath, snack, books, cuddle bed?
I honestly can’t stand how often parents want daycare providers to do things, that they are not willing to explore at home. (Toilet training anyone?!?) I am not opposed to working on assisting with issues (we’ve already began “waking” this child up after an hour of sleeping at the beginning of September)….but I am opposed to I don’t know BREAKING THE LAW….for the sake of your sanity.
[FYI I spoke to my licensor and there is absolutely no exemptions from the 1/2 hour rest, including the usage of a Dr’s note]. If I break the law, what does that say about me as a provider??? That I am “willing to be flexible”? NO! it says that I am willing to be negligent. And part of what drew this family to hire me in the first place is my level of professionalism. How can I call myself a professional in one breath, and go along with this mess in another??? I can’t.
Even if this child’s body truly only needs say 10 hours of sleep…..Which is what they are implying…and could very well be the case….I am still obligated by the law to uphold a 1/2 hour rest. Can I let him get up if still is awake?? absolutely that is what I do already (that is also the law in my state). However, as I stated before he falls asleep immediately.
So now..I have to look like an awful provider who is uncompromising on the issue. Yes I can blame the “state” and the “law” and explain that every licensed childcare provider has to follow these rules….but you and I both know that response will not satisfy them. They will still view me as being to blame.
Is it worth it?? Upholding the rule vs. honoring their request??? I know that some providers would just honor the request and take the risk of getting caught. To me, your reputation in this business is all you have…maybe this family would say to others “we love our provider she is so flexible, we were having issues with our kid sleeping and she didn’t force him to rest at nap blah blah blah”….but then another parent who understands the rules will ask themselves “why did this provider break the law for that family? what kind of provider would do that”
You tell me what the better option is….I’ve chosen to be licensed for many reasons, and will honor my obligations as a regulated provider…for better or worse.