If your child isn’t getting enough attention at daycare, it can cause problems both at home and during daycare hours. Many parents worry about whether their children will get enough one-on-one attention from their daycare teachers.
This concern is understandable, considering daycare teachers have multiple children to care for. Most of the time, the attention children receive at daycare is sufficient. But if your child needs a little extra help learning to share, or if they’re used to receiving more undivided at home, daycare can be a big adjustment for your kids.
Signs Your Child Isn’t Getting Enough Attention at Daycare
Maybe you notice your kids acting out after coming home from daycare. Or maybe the daycare teacher has sent home more than one report of problems during daycare hours. If so, you may worry that your child isn’t getting enough attention at daycare.
1. Sudden Change in Behavior
A sudden change in your child’s behavior could indicate stress in their daycare situation. If your child starts exhibiting new, unhealthy behaviors after enrolling in a new daycare center, you might want to look into why.
2. Regression in Behavior
Even more troubling than new behaviors is a regression in behavior. A previously potty-trained child might suddenly start having accidents. Or, a child who has learned good sharing behaviors might suddenly backtrack and struggle with sharing. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have a “bad” daycare, but at the very least, the teachers need to get on board with your child’s needs.
3. Increase in Evening Tantrums
It’s normal for young kids to have tantrums, particularly in the evening after a long, tiring day. But when kids start having more tantrums than usual, it can be a sign that their emotional needs aren’t being met during the day.
If your child comes home and “dumps it all out” only moments of entering the safe space of their home, there’s a reason for it. The reason could be that the daycare imposes unreasonable expectations on the kids. Or, it could just be that your child is experiencing more frustrations at daycare than they’re used to experiencing at home. Either way, it’s important to find out the cause.
4. Lack of Open Communication
Most daycare providers are eager to be on the same page as the parents. If the daycare teachers or director aren’t open to hearing your concerns, that’s a huge red flag.
Especially when your child has specific needs that aren’t being met, if the teachers are inflexible to discussing potential adjustments, it may be wise to change childcare providers.
5. Care Providers Seem Disengaged
If the daycare teachers seem emotionally unengaged with the kids, this can be a sign that their hearts aren’t in it. This doesn’t always mean they aren’t meeting your child’s needs. However, it could be an indicator that they aren’t rising to the job the same way a more invested childcare provider would.
What You Can Do If You Notice These Signs…
Seeing these signs in your daycare provider can be unnerving, but it doesn’t necessarily mean the worst. If you notice any of the above signs, it’s important to investigate before jumping to conclusions.
Stop by unannounced
By stopping by unannounced, parents can get a good feel for how the teachers are interacting with the kids, even when they don’t expect anyone to see them. Keep an eye out for how the teachers respond to the children’s emotional needs, and whether there’s a focus on educational activities.
Learn the warning signs
The most troubling warning signs indicate abuse. These are huge red flags in any setting, and should never be ignored. Keep an eye out for:
- Sudden, persistent diaper rash
- Unexplained welts, bruises, and cuts that don’t go away
- Unusual withdrawal, fear, or shyness, or signs of guilt or shame
- Child shows fear toward a particular daycare worker or employee
- Night terrors or recurring nightmares
- Urinary tract infections or unusual genital soreness
- You have a gut feeling that something is wrong
If you suspect any of the above signs, it’s important to take immediate action. Gather evidence if you can, and report your observations immediately. Remember, you aren’t accusing someone by reporting your observations. But if your suspicions are correct, your report will prevent the abuse from continuing.
Hire an Au Pair
Parents are often surprised to learn that Au Pair childcare costs about the same (or less) than daycare. This is because the cost stays the same no matter how many children you have.
Since they live in your home, Au Pairs are more likely to develop a close familial bond with your children. Most Au Pairs love their Host Family as much as they love their family back home.
This kind of bond makes a huge difference in the quality of care your child receives. Not only does this loving relationship offer peace of mind to parents, but it also helps ensure that your children receive more one-on-one attention than they would in a daycare.
While an Au Pair isn’t a perfect guarantee that nothing can ever go wrong, you’ll have greater control over how your child is cared for. Most Au Pairs are eager to emulate your parenting style, meaning you don’t have to worry as much about butting heads with someone who is set in their own childcare style.
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