Babies: 3 - 6 Months
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expectations of daycare center

For you working moms...how have you handled encouraging your daycare provider(s) to do things like tummy time and social interaction (songs, talking to LO, etc.). I'm new to this and we're in our second day of a daycare center. My husband visited LO twice yesterday and I gave him his bottle while picking him up...and during the half-hour I was there, I so almost zero social interaction among the providers and the babies there. My husband had similar concerns. We're both child psychologists who often work with teachers and caregivers re: how to interact with their children (when such advice is solicited), so we may be letting our knowledge and expectations get the best of us, but it is really hard.

I certainly understand divided attention and their need to meet the basic needs of all the children there (it is tough to socially interact with children when you are changing a diaper or feeding another child), but I observed a daycare provider sitting on the floor kind of staring into space for about a half hour...none of the kids were crying or demanding attention, but everyone was just kind of sitting there. It broke my heart. I know I'm not paying for a nanny to give my child such individual attention - I get that - I really do. But, I'm just concerned re: the interest of the workers there...and I'm not sure how to get around it.

Re: expectations of daycare center

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    I used to work in a daycare and yes it is hard to divide attention BUT it is their job. My best advice is to go to the center director and ask what the teachers are supposed to be doing with the children all day.  If you are concerned bring up what you saw and let them know that this bothers you.  Ask if there are activities they do or if they create a "plan" for the children.  As silly as it sounds we had lesson plans for the infants and we made sure the children had a variety of activities each day: tummy time, sitting in the boppy, playmat time, bouncy seat, sitting in a caregivers lap with a bok, etc...
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    I don't use daycare, but if I did I would certainly speak to the director.  Daycare is NOT cheap, and in my opinion, daycare providers should bend over backwards to do everything they need to do to ensure that EVERY child is receiving adequate care, which includes social interaction with the daycare workers. 

    If you don't see an improvement, I'd find yourself another daycare.  Keep in mind that these people spend the majority of each day with your child, so don't settle for less than you expect. 

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    We spent a lot of time beforehand checking out daycares for this reason.  Like pp said, daycare is expensive and since DS spends 8 hours a day I expect for them to interact with him.  Licensed daycares have a ratio for a reason.  Ours is 4:1.  I also understand that they can't devote 100% of their attention to my kid, but a teacher just sitting there zoning out is totally unacceptable.

    I would absolutely talk to the director.  Explain your concerns and ask them what their daily plan is.  Drop by unannounced and check out how they are interacting with all the kids.  If you find things you don't like I would start looking for a new place. 

    It could be an uncomfortable conversation, but it's one that absolutely needs to happen for the sake of your LO.  GL!

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    I worked at a daycare center in the infant room for a long time and we were constantly giving attention to the babies. It is harder to do when you are changing a diaper or feeding one of them, but if you are the one sitting on the floor you should be playing and interacting with them. I would say something to the director about it. If our director felt we weren't interacting enough she would come in and tell us right away. Also we were only allowed to let a baby play in a stationary item for 15 minutes and could only have three stationary items out at a time so that we would be playing with them on the floor. It was a state regulation.
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    I just started daycare last week, so it's new to me, but I feel I've gotten a lot just from the vibe of the room and my observations of how the teachers interact with all of the babies. They do have lesson plans for the week posted by the door, I always see them with at least one child doing activities. The only time I've seen my son fussing is when I picked him up at lunch, the two teachers and a volunteer were helping 6 babies with lunch/feedings, and my son was in his crib; they can only do so many things at once; and they had already fed and changed my son so he was ready for me to go. I also haven't been great with coming in right at the time I put on the morning sheet, so I'm sometimes a bit of a surprise, and the staff are perfectly fine with seeing me. Don't be afraid to ask questions and go with your gut as well.
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    Thanks guys - it is helpful to hear this from people who worked in daycare settings. I also worked in a daycare setting back in college, but I was one of those people who loved doing it. It is so challenging to see your child go from having tons of one-to-one social interaction at home with Mom to very little at this less than ideal daycare setting. And we thought long and hard at the choice we made re: daycare center versus nanny, so I knew from the start that I'd probably have some of these concerns, but didn't anticipate what we saw yesterday (still hoping it is a fluke day). The reason why he is there right now is short term (our Plan A fell through at the last minute - delayed by two months due to their wait list), so I guess I'll try to make the most of it with some of your recommendations. I've also set up a meeting/visit for the daycare he starts at in January, to make sure this doesn't happen again. I actually phoned them this morning to explain my neurotic concerns given his current placement, and they were quite open to our coming in for an early visit to meet the teacher and observe things in action. That made me feel better. In Chicago, daycare centers run very expensive ~1800 a month, so I do feel like we should be getting more. I hate even thinking that way - it seems so unnatural to think about social interaction with kids as being something we're paying for...but I guess we are. Welcome to the world of daycare...
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