My short bio: I babysat like every teenage girl does, but at 16 I started working at a small daycare in the infant room. Since then, I've worked at four different centers: one was so shitty I can't believe it's still open, another was Christian-centered (which was terrible), another shut down, and the one I'm currently at is completely controlled by corporate. I have tons of feel-good stories as well as times when parents were total assholes.

My Proof: Not sure how to post proof of this without getting in trouble with my current company. The best I can do is a photo of me and a coworker at one of my former workplaces:

Comments: 241 • Responses: 69  • Date: 

jiggy6836 karma

My wife has worked as an elementary school teacher both in public and Catholic schools for 20 years. We are actually atheists. She says the religious schools are far and away a much easier environment with more involved parents and better behaved kids. I find it odd that a religious daycare for you is the most stressful. What exactly makes that environment more terrible than others?

heirofathena62 karma

We really have to watch what we say to parents. They're typically more sensitive and conservative and particular when it comes to their children. As far as staff goes, we're not allowed to do anything for Halloween, we just do fall activities. Management talked serious shit on Harry Potter and spoke down to me when they learned of my support for Obama (they pulled the Muslim card). We had to memorize this prayer that we all recited/chanted before eating. It just feels like needless stress added on top of an already stressful job to me.

jiggy6812 karma

Really? That's bizarre. At the Catholic school she works at now they have a halloween party and the school lets out early for halloween. The kids are encouraged to come to school in costumes. Harry Potter is in the library and every kid that reads that book (because it is so big compared to the others) gets extra points. The Obama thing I can understand, they're right wing parents mostly, but a lot of the teachers are lefties, like my wife and at this particular school they don't care. I guess it depends on how religiously wacko the parents are as well as the supervisors and owners. And how wacko lefty the teachers might be. religious nut supervisors and parents don't mix well with leftist tatted up sjws. But I still find it interesting that you find these christian schools more of a problem to work with than a different school. Have you worked in a special needs school? I would think that would be the most difficult.

heirofathena30 karma

I'm in Texas if it makes a difference. And that center was in a somewhat small town.

I haven't worked in a special needs school, but I substituted for a while and I would occasionally pick up jobs in a SPED room. Also, my mother has been a SPED teacher for nearly 8 years and I'm quite familiar with the students. Once you know their tics and triggers and how to calm them, you can see their personalities and uniqueness.


Let's do feel good. What's your best feel-good story?

heirofathena63 karma

Well, I've had a lot of parents tell me that their kids ask for me or pray for me at night. I get pretty good teacher-gifts around the holidays, too.

One stands out, though. Every teacher, I believe, has that one kid who is special to them. My one kid, at the time, was a little girl with some sort of developmental/commutative issue. My guess was autism, but it's just a guess. She hardly ever talked, but followed me around and would mimic my postures. I just loved her. She left the daycare for financial reasons, but after her last day her mom sent this huge edible arrangement and a $50 Wal-Mart giftcard for me (she knew I'm a single mother, and she wrote for me to spend it on myself).

BringTheNewAge17 karma

you got a mini me!

heirofathena5 karma

I do have a daughter, yes. She just turned 6.

DeffingAllTheDeffies5 karma

...and a daughter!

heirofathena3 karma

And a daughter.

Juffo_Wup5 karma

As the son of an elementary school teacher (mostly kindergarten, now retired) I don't let my wife buy christmas ornaments and huge boxes of candy and body lotions etc. for our daughters teacher at Christmas time or the teachers birthday. Let me tell you all who don't know, teachers who are lucky enough to get gifts (usually pre school and elementary school only) get so much of the same stuff it becomes almost useless. And you really can't re-gift "best teacher ever" christmas ornaments without people knowing what you're up to. Teachers don't get paid much at all, give them something they can really use like a Walmart gift card or Target gift card. It's basically as good as cash without it being actual cash so it's still "gifty". It may feel generic, but trust me it will be very much appreciated. Just put it in a nice envelope with a nice thought out hand written note about how much they mean to you and that will be the best gift ever. Include something like "<name of child> says you should spend it on dinosaurs and marsh-mellows" or whatever.

I remember every Christmas helping my mom open all of her gifts at the dining room table and wondering what we were going to do with another dozen ornaments and 8 boxes of Whitman chocolates (well of course we'll eat a few).

And don't forget that most teachers spend their own hard earned money on stuff for their classrooms as the schools will not pay for it. My mom did it every year. If she needed certain supplies for a project for her kids that the school would not provide she would buy them herself. So that walmart gift card directly or indirectly may not even be going 100% towards just the teacher in the long run.

[Edit] Sorry for the "As the son of an elementary..." and "Let me tell you all" I just read that and it sounds like I'm some know it all. Trying to write fast and it came out bossy or something. I love teachers and just wanted to get this message out there. It would be so cool for them to get 20 gift certificates at Christmas even if some are just $5 or $10 instead of a bunch of stuff they really can't use. Also I'm not knocking what OP got edible arrangements are awesome and not a common gift. That and the gift card obviously make it something above and beyond what is normally considered a typical teacher gift.

heirofathena3 karma

Very good points! I got fking tons of lotions and body washes this Christmas, but I also stocked up on gift cards. (I also got a meat At the center I'm currently at, we fill out a page with our favorite candy, store, etc for parents to use.

heirofathena23 karma

I'd like to note the interesting demographics of childcare workers. Personally, I'm a young, white female. However, the majority of my coworkers, regardless of the center, have been heavyset minorities, either in their 20s or 50s. Furthermore, in my entire time as a childcare teacher, I have only worked with two men who were not at a corporate level.

sirdevinstine16 karma

Do you think more men should be involved in the childcare buissness? If so how does one even start? I find myself up against alot of bias.

heirofathena36 karma

I absolutely do. Children tend to have vastly different relationships with men because they're around them less often which reinforces the gendered societal norms. It also reinforces the notion that women are the caretakers. Apart from the asshole I worked with at the Christian center, the two other men I've worked with who were teachers were fantastic and the kids just loved them. It's important to note, though, that all of these men worked with the school-age kids, never in the younger classrooms.

Maezren2 karma

The question I'd add to this is how many men actually apply for positions in daycare? In 35 years I've never met a single man who had aspirations to work in daycare, yet I run out of fingers when it comes to the amount of women I currently know who want to or do.

You can't really force people to do something they don't want to do to fill a quota and attempt to enact change. Although, that being said...society has changed quite a bit and is continuing to change. So while you don't see it now, you might see more men interested in daycare in the coming decade or so.

Also, after reading about all the crazy shit the parents request of you guys...I can say happily that if my daughter is missing a bow, or a cup or some socks. It doesn't phase me in the slightest. None of that stuff is something that can't be found later or replaced if need be. No need to ruffle the feathers over some stupid, temporary shit.

heirofathena2 karma

That's an important aspect to note. I can't say I've seen too many men wander in asking for an application.

It's nice to know there are some chilled parents out there. Thanks for being lenient.

Maezren1 karma

I look at it like this. Life is all about being able to adapt to unknown situations. If you're unable to make that adaptation, then you're going to have a very stressful life. So I'm hoping that my daughter misplacing things, missing things or being inconvenienced by daycare workers taking things from her...

...welcome to life little one. If you deal with it now, it will make life easier for you in the future. Also, not flipping out over minor shit...I'm hoping she takes after me on that one...her mother...not-so-much :p

heirofathena2 karma

Yes! Set an example! Also, the way you treat the teachers will be similar to the way your kid will treat them. They're just tiny wobbly copycats.

heirofathena11 karma

As far as starting, I'm honestly not sure. Have a solid resume and references. People will be creeped out that you want to work with little kids, there's some sort of assumption that dudes who want to do that are pedophiles. Just act professional and friendly and hope the center will be open-minded. You're working against a lot of stigma.

bamhurgerdeluxe12 karma

Guy in his 20s who's worked in child care for a while here. It's a very interesting dynamic when you're one of three guys working in this kind of environment. Corporate made a special note of us because I guess we did a good job being dudes. There were a few cases when parents were a bit hesitant to leave their kids with us, which I kinda do get, they don't know I've worked with kids for 7 years, but dang let me do my job. But conversely, we did get complimented a lot on being really good at our job for guys.


heirofathena2 karma

Haha, I understand! What age group did you work with? Did the kids treat you differently or act differently in comparison to the female teachers?

bamhurgerdeluxe6 karma

The program I was a part of had infants to 11 years old for the after school program. Most didn't really notice anything weird or care at all. A lot of the really younger ones, like the infants, seemed a bit restless when I tried to look after them. But that may be because of me, I never really worked with that age group until I started there. Dealing with 9 year olds who form crushes was a bit tricky. Parents of boys loved me being there though, they liked having another male role model around. I got a TON of babysitting jobs as a request.

heirofathena2 karma

Wow, that's really great. The guys I worked with were fantastic and the kids really took to them. They listened better, I think, because of their booming voices which probably resembled their father's/grandfather's/whoever's. But I also noticed that if parents had an issue, they'd talk to me or another female staff rather than the men.

glory873 karma

My son's daycare has one man - he works in the 3 year old room. He is a lovely guy and the kids and parents seem to love him.

heirofathena2 karma

That's great! Hopefully other centers will open their eyes to potential employees.

shmeckmo3 karma

One more daycare-dude checking in. I love my job!

heirofathena2 karma

I'm pleasantly surprised how many of you there are!

shmeckmo2 karma

There are three of us right now at our center of about 300 kids...there have been as many as 5 guys during the summer! We've had a family or two decide not to choose our daycare before because of it, but those are few and far between. They're the ones missing out!

heirofathena1 karma

I totally agree!

Darkchyylde22 karma

What's the absolute most insane head shaking experience you've had to deal with?

heirofathena91 karma

I have more with parents than with kids.

At the crazy Christian place they had cameras in each room that sent their feeds into a wall of monitors in the front lobby, that way when parents walk in they can see where their kids are and what they're doing. One day a grandmother saw me "snatch" a toy away from her granddaughter. She exploded into my room - I was in the middle of changing a diaper - and started screaming at me that she never wants me to be in the same room as her granddaughter again, she calls me a bitch and a child abuser and all sorts of things. She yanks the poor child out of the room and leaves, hollering the entire way out. Immediately after my boss comes in to check on me. Apparently that lady is a repeat offender, once she got kicked out for calling a teacher the n-word and other such terms.

Darkchyylde12 karma

Damn. You should write a book :P

heirofathena27 karma

Man, I've been thinking of it, to be honest. This one place I worked at has been open and nearly unchanged since the 60s. Still run by this conservative and stubborn old couple. It's still open.

I also have a parent/customer perspective as my daughter as attended nearly every daycare I've worked at.

s_c_w15 karma

What has been your craziest most over the top experience with a parent?

heirofathena54 karma

Apart from the story I've already mentioned, Friday I had to dig through diapers and other stuff in our garbage to retrieve this little girl's bow. Parents don't fuck around with bows. If you lose it, they tell your director. Y'know how the bow got in the trash? The little girl put it there. Did her mother seem thankful? Absolutely not. She thought her daughter's behavior was adorable.

bamhurgerdeluxe7 karma

Oh god yeah I know what you mean. A mom came in one time screaming at her daughter because she lost her hair tie, while me and two other people are scrambling all over to find it for the sake of this poor kid. It was like looped around the toilet seat handle of all places.

heirofathena17 karma

It's completely insane how parents are about shit like that! We usually just take their bows out when they arrive and put them straight in their backpacks to save us trouble.

glory872 karma

The director dug through a trash can to get a shoe (put there by a toddler). I hope the parents were grateful

heirofathena6 karma

I hope so, too, man.

Durbee12 karma

What is the most ridiculous "accommodation" a parent has requested for their child? I ask because I saw a woman tell the teacher that 4yo Snowflake HAD to be rocked at nap time, otherwise he would worry himself sick trying to sleep. Not sure what the world can expect out of that kid.

heirofathena20 karma

Eh, they're usually only ridiculous in a group setting. Sure I can remember to put this super special sunscreen on your kid, but when there are sixteen kids in my class and ten of them have requests like that, they're hard to keep straight.

One kid has to wear a bib nearly constantly because he drools (teething) and his parents are anal about clean clothes.

funktopus6 karma

How can you be anal about kids clothes? That just seems dumb. Like when my son plays outside, I expect at the very least grass stains. If they are pants we want to keep nice we only dress him in those for nice occasions. Most times they grow out of them too fast to get really destroyed.

If you don't want your kid to get soaked in drool for hours at a time, I get that.

heirofathena2 karma

Yeah, if it's drool, we keep them in a bib. But there's only so much we can do to keep all 16 kids looking immaculate, y'know?

funktopus2 karma

I can't keep my 3 year old looking nice for longer than 30 minutes. Unless abcmouse or starfall is involved.

heirofathena3 karma

My own kid drives me crazy sometimes, but with the toddlers I'm getting paid!

littlemonster0108 karma

I have a "spirited" child. She's 21 months, but has been difficult since birth. She has had trouble adjusting to daycare. She doesn't take naps with the other kids often. Sometimes she doesn't eat. She is doing better now, but I know she's difficult for the staff. What can I do for the staff to make them feel appreciated and so they will hopefully be patient with my spirited little girl?

heirofathena21 karma

Honestly, just tell them. I really don't get a genuine thank you often. Or, like in any workplace, tell the director. Giving the boss good feedback gets passed to the worker and totally increases morale.

As for your daughter, she'll get the hang of things soon. Communication is key with her teachers and be sure to ask if you can do anything to help them on your end. I'm sure your daughter will adjust and get more comfortable as more time goes by.

wintercast1 karma

Just a thought about the eating and naping part. When i was in nursery school (so like 3-5 years old) i often did not eat or nap well. Partially this was because the food they served was nothing i wanted to or could eat. It was mostly dairy based (cheese, big glass of milk).

This was over 30 years ago.. people did not really understand or prepare for lactose issues/ dietary restrictions. It could really come down to her not liking the food or even the nap situation.

I know in one day care center, i could not really nap. but i was willing to play quietly on my cot. So in the end, my mom sent requested that i not be forced to eat the snack they provided and that i could play quietly on my cot.

heirofathena2 karma

All centers are required to accommodate any dietary restrictions. My center makes sure all teachers are completely aware of all allergies or preferences.

SomethingClever178 karma

How do you handle situations with kids you think are being abused? Does there need to be proof of abuse before you can contact anyone to protect the child?

heirofathena9 karma

At most centers, new employees undergo pretty extensive training. Usually that involved signs/symptoms of abuse and who to call if we think something fishy is going on. I've personally never had a kid in that situation, thankfully. But there does have to be proof: bruises, changes in personality, abnormal behavior on the parent's part, etc.

Pesto_Enthusiast8 karma

Every generation has its batch of fad names that parents think are really adorable at the time, but two decades late no one gives their children.

What fad names do you see that you think aren't going to, or shouldn't, last the test of time?

heirofathena23 karma

Oh, gosh. There's one kid named Breck. I think that's hideous. I've had lots of Preciouses and Blessings and other abstract noun-names. I 've had an abundance of Williams and Masons and Sofias. I have one girl named Sophie Belle right now. I had one boy named Fisher whose brother was Hunter.

Pesto_Enthusiast8 karma

I vaguely remember being at summer camp with a kid named Hunter, who had two brothers, Gunnar and Bowen. The sad thing is that's not even the weirdest theme name family I've come across. I also know a family of three sisters named Mary-Ann, Mary-Jo, and Mary-Beth. When they were pregnant with a fourth, they had picked out Mary-Lou, but it turned out to be a boy and they named him Mark (and called him Marky).

heirofathena11 karma

That reminds me of twins! God, people love applying alliteration to twins. Brooklyn and Bailey, Josh and Jake, Tanning and Tatym. Or, really just siblings; Lauren and Leighton, Paxton and Presley. It gets confusing for staff.

onlinedavis3 karma

the day care i used to work at, at one point we had 3 different kids named Caden as well as an Aiden. lots of -den names floating around. Jaden, Braden. i think the goofiest i remember having were two brothers named Jaxon and Braxdon

heirofathena2 karma

Lots of places, too: Bronx, Memphis, Dallas, Camden, Asia.

a_real_pothead8 karma


Folks are naming their kids after shitholes in Jersey now? Wingo! Let it be known that my firstborn shall be called Newark--or Secaucus if it's a girl.

heirofathena7 karma

Braintree Johnson would be a winner.

a_real_pothead4 karma


heirofathena6 karma

Be sure to get their name tattooed. Somewhere visible.

a_real_pothead4 karma

I was thinking forehead. Or neck. Which is preferable to teachers?

heirofathena7 karma

Forehead, definitely. We'll never forget sweet little Braintree that way.

too_rare_to_die7 karma

If you were to open your own day-care center, how would you run it? What successful things from your past jobs would you try to keep, and what would you stay away from if you could?

heirofathena28 karma

I would make sure that my workers are content. It's such a stressful job. I'd pay them as much as I could and always make sure that there's a sufficient amount of staff. There have been days where more than five teachers are out and the whole center is stressing with too many kids. Sure, there are state ratios in place, but some kids count as 3 kids because of their behavior. Furthermore, I'd give every employee a discount after, say, six months. I'll be leaving my current center for this reason soon. I would also keep tuition rates low and accept CCMS (federally paid for childcare assistance). Maybe have a discount for single parents. Nearly all parents need childcare and it should be accessible. I would stay away from religion in child care centers, I feel it attracts radicals and turns away potential clientele.

lambda_schmambda1 karma

Is this plan financially viable? Were any of the places you worked for struggling financially?

heirofathena1 karma

One was, and it shut down after laying me off. Another, which I can't believe is still open, charges virtually nothing but also pays their teacher minimum. The place I just got hired at is one of many in the area and is doing very well.

Draestrix7 karma

Were there any disturbing/creepy instances you had to deal with, whether with kids or with parents?

heirofathena28 karma

Once this guy showed up trying to pick up his son. He was dressed in baggy jean shorts, a huge black shirt, and had greasy, shaggy hair. He had missing teeth and badly scarred skin. Whatever, anyone can be a parent, y'know? So he gives his son's name but isn't on the pickup list and doesn't have clearance. He flips out and pulls out a boxcutter, screaming about absolute nonsense. The rooms are put on lockdown via loudspeaker until the cops come and take him away. Turns out he was tripping on something and has shown up at previous daycares.

With kids, I only have one story. This little boy, who I love dearly now, was very shy and quiet in my room at first. He would just stare and observe. But he would look at people from up under his eyebrows so that it looked like a glare. Teachers who would pop in would be seriously creeped out by him. Now he's very friendly and amiable and one of my favorites.

hannaguist6 karma

what is the absolute dumbest thing you have ever heard a kid say/do?

heirofathena11 karma

I'm currently working in the two-year-old room, and they're constantly running into shit. It's hilarious. Of course, I'm at their side in a flash to help them, but they're called toddlers for a reason, y'know? They have constant bruises. They've only been walking for a year at this point and when they get overexcited they just trip over their feet or collide with another equally excited toddler.

I had one kid who shoved his hand in an ant pile thinking it was a pile of dirt. That was terrible, but thankfully he didn't have an allergy. We just stripped him down and got all of the ants off of him, treated the bites, and called his parents.

ThatOneChappy3 karma

You should totally film the kids colliding into each other. Death Race for children.

heirofathena5 karma

Dude I'd wear a hidden camera if I didn't think I'd be unhirable afterwards. So much happens during a day that I couldn't possible type everything up, but kids are fucking hilarious.

IcrapRainbows6 karma

What kinds of kids are your favorite? Do you know if you're going to like a child straight away?

heirofathena16 karma

My favorite kids are affectionate, follow directions most of the time, and display creativity. Also, I tend to like kids more if their parents are friendly and amiable.

Not, straightaway, no. I tell parents that there's a two-week adjustment period where the kid gets used to our schedule, the personalities and methods of the teachers, and being around a completely new group of kids. For kids that have never been in daycare before, it can be more than two-weeks. Imagine being three years old and being dropped off with a whole bunch of people exactly your size and exactly at your mental level for the first time in your life. Kinda trippy. Anyway, after the adjustment period, the kid's personality starts chilling out and they show interest in particular activities. They sleep during naptime, they know that after snack we go outside. It's then I get to know their temperaments and behaviors, as well as information from their parents.

kbphoto5 karma

My 2 and a half year old daughter refuses to take naps at home...sometimes she will nap at Day care, but not for long. I've tried driving her around(which sometimes works) but she stalls, throws tantrums and I'm not sure what to do anymore. She's miserable w/out a nap, so I need her to get back into it. Any tips?

heirofathena10 karma

Wear her out in the morning! Run or dance with her, take her to the playground or to McDonald's. Then give her a big lunch and read her a book and get her to wind down.

Some kids just don't nap. Mine hasn't since she was about three. What's the most important is that they rest. Have her lay down and watch a movie or flip through some books or just do a quiet, relaxing activity. Even if she doesn't sleep, her body is still resting.

kbphoto3 karma

Thank you! Great ideas. Will get right on it.

heirofathena2 karma

Glad I could help. :]

DVXT5 karma

Funniest thing you've experienced either with kids, parents or other staff members?

heirofathena24 karma

We think it's hilarious when kids act like us, especially when they think we're not watching. We have babydolls that they'll put in time out or sing songs to. Or they'll say, "You go to time out, Ms. Smith!" or "I'm telling your mommy!" Friday one of my kids saw one of my tattoos and told me her mom had one "on her booty-butt."

It's really just "kids say the darndest things."

NotZach_4 karma

What's the darndest thing a child has ever said?

heirofathena15 karma

That "booty-butt" comment was pretty good.

Sometimes kids will try out curse words that they've overheard. One 2-year-old tripped and said "dammit!" His parents thought it was hilarious.

LadyBijou4 karma

Have you ever had a kid/s that were just unfortuntely stupid? I don't mean mentally handicapped or developmentally challenged, I mean just really dumb. How do you handle that?

heirofathena15 karma

Oh, totally. You just do what you can for them. Sometimes the parents are aware and will be apologetic and help us, but usually the parents are completely oblivious and blind to the fact that their kid is a moron. But as a teacher, we just try to hold their hand a bit more and keep them near the level of the other kids.

wellthissucksass4 karma

My girlfriend works at a daycare centre and she wants to know how you deal with the insignificant little issues. For example she told me the other day that a kid cried his eyes out just because he didn't get the red spade, he got the blue one instead. She struggles sometimes to find the empathy for situations like that especially towards the end of a long shift!

Also she wants to know what the worse accident you've seen is? Apparently kids are pretty clumsy.

heirofathena2 karma

As I'm sure she knows, when there's a new kid who's adjusting to a classroom, they cry, like, all the time. Constantly. Adding that on top of an already noisy, stressful classroom is a lot to handle. It can get very irritating. You have to find a balance between giving that child special attention to ease their transition and maintaining the rest of the class. Thankfully, there are usually at least two teachers in each room and if they have good rhythm, they'll tag-team.

The worst accident actually happened last week. This kid tripped and hit the bottom of his chin on the plastic barrier that surrounds our playground. He bit his lip really hard and was bleeding quite a bit. But he essentially walked it off but allowed us to hold an ice pack on it for a bit. There actually wasn't that much swelling.

Twenty3isNumberOne4 karma

As a parent, what can I look for in my daycare center to know that it is a quality place? It's a franchise center and I absolutely love it. My daughter is very happy to go to "school" and she's learned so much.

Speaking with other parents and friends who have worked at daycare centers, they seem to think that all centers are terrible places. This shocks me because we love our center so much! So my question is, what would be the warning signs I should look for that a center is subpar?

heirofathena3 karma

Ask about ratios and make sure they're maintained at all times. Note the composition of the teachers: are they stressed? do they seem flustered? Ask about teacher turnover rates; the more frequent the teachers come and go, the more stress it adds to a classroom. Continuity and stability are vital for children. Note how many special events there are. Typically a center is happier and more coherent with parental involvement in classroom parties and such.

Twenty3isNumberOne2 karma

This is great, thank you so much. Our daycare does seem to tick all the boxes. The main teachers have been working there for a long time, her infant teacher has been there 25 years! I do notice that when they need to replace a helper (each head teacher has a few assistants depending on class size) they sometimes will hire someone and then they'll leave right away and someone new will come in. This has happened twice in the last 6 months. I have to wonder if this is because the girls don't like working at a daycare or if the environment is a bad one.

My daughter is almost 2 and is in the toddler room. Ratio is always 1 adult to 4 children. I believe that is law in Michigan.

They do tons of fun activities and they give out a calendar at the beginning of the month to let us know what they are. This month I'm going to go in and read a story to her classroom. Is that the type of thing you would do in your classroom?

I am reading every word of your AMA :)

heirofathena1 karma

We don't have parents come in to read, but I really like that idea! Your center sounds like a keeper and congrats on finding somewhere quality.

Turnaround rates are always a bit high in daycares because of their stressful working environments. It's not for everyone. Sometimes a teacher will come in and quickly discover that it's not all coloring pages and giggles. People who stay seriously love it.

Thanks for reading! I really didn't think people would be that interested. It's really, really nice to get all of this stuff off my mind.

CustomMadeGJ4 karma

Hey! I'm also a child care worker and it will be a decade for me as well in June. My question to you is, what keeps you in the field? I've been at the same site for the whole ten years and it's going from an independent non-profit to a big corporate outfit, and I'm struggling with why I'm still doing this

heirofathena9 karma

Same here. I do it, honestly, because the hours work out really well for my current lifestyle as a single mother and a college student. No nights or weekends. I only work part time right now as I go to class in the morning.

But the days where I can see a child's emotional growth or they tell me they love me make it worth it, as I'm sure you know. I try to really cherish the good days and let the bad ones just roll off my shoulders. Gotta keep chugging on.

pedantic_dullard3 karma

You mentioned a male teacher in another comment. Does your center have any male teachers currently? How did the parents react to / treat him?

I worked in a daycare in college, I was one of two part time males. The parents loved me, I loved spending time with their kids, and the kids would try to all cuddle on me during movie time. I'm not so sure that's an average reaction, though.

Also, has any single child made that lasting impression, good or bad? It's been twenty years since I last worked there, but have fond memories of one, and am still waiting to see the other in a story about a cross-country killing spree. You look young, so this may not be easy to answer yet.

heirofathena3 karma

The only male at my center is the owner, and he took on the center when his wife died.

I had this one really, really sweet school-age boy who I'll always remember. He was a first grader and amazingly articulate and thoughtful. He colored me Harry Potter pictures (and this was at the Christian center). I still miss him to this day.

I can remember nearly every kid who was regularly difficult. This set of twins once weren't allowed to go on field trips because they would take off running and we'd have to try to manage our ratios while another teacher took off after them. It drives me crazy when the younger ones won't stay in time out. Time out is really the only form of discipline we can use that's effective. They tell us to try to talk to them about it, but what two-year-old is going to unpack and analyze their feelings? I haven't seen any of my problem kids turn up in the news yet either, nor have any won the Nobel prize. Still keeping my fingers crossed.

heirofathena1 karma

Also, I'll be 23 next month. In that picture I think I was 19 or 20.

perpetualsaltfish2 karma

I'm interested in getting into childcare as well, ideally as a full-time nanny, but my only experience is with babysitting school-aged kids. I do plan on taking some classes and tests, but I feel like I really need more experience with infants and toddlers.

My question is, do you think it might be a good idea for me to try working at a daycare to get more experience before becoming a nanny? What qualifications did you have before you were hired? How can I tell if childcare is something I'd enjoy and be good at?

I think that it would be really fulfilling for me and I really love kids, but raising them is so important and I don't want to make too many mistakes out of ignorance or lack of experience. I know you didn't mention being a nanny ever so I understand if they're not really similar enough to give advice on. And thanks so much for doing this AMA, it helped me a lot.

heirofathena2 karma

You probably already have your first aid/CPR training done, but always keep those up-to-date. Most daycare centers will hire you without any childcare experience in a center if you have solid references and you do well in your interview. I think it would certainly help to have training/experience in an infant/toddler room if you want to nanny. I'd be far more inclined to trust someone with my young child if they have experience.

perpetualsaltfish1 karma

Great, thanks for the advice!

heirofathena2 karma

Of course!

Toothlesses2 karma

Any stories about bad coworkers?

heirofathena18 karma

Oh, certainly.

At the Christian center, one of my coworkers (coincidentally one of the few male teachers I've worked with) was the son of the director. He certainly got favored. He got more hours and more pay than any of us, even though we're in equal positions. He would get tasked with the easiest jobs and even then put in minimal effort.

At my current center, things are actually pretty harmonious. We're all unified in our dislike of one lady that works up front as the assistant director. She's so unprofessional and unkind. She favors like three kids that she obsessively intrudes into rooms to play with. She takes forever to give bathroom breaks and then rushes us when she finally comes in. She's terrible at interacting with kids. And she's on a salary, making much more than me for doing so much less and being a bitch while she's at it.

carrierightthurr2 karma

I'm currently a school age teacher at my center. What has been your experience with school age children in daycare? Are they put on the back burner in most centers or is it just mine?

heirofathena5 karma

During the school year, certainly. After all, they're only there for a few hours each day and the tuition is lower during that time. But during the summer there's an intake of kids who are out of school and the centers reel them in with their summer programs. As you know, during the summer they go on all sorts of field trips or have special camps visit. Most centers also have a field day. So during the summer they're paid a lot more attention.

cooldude3432 karma

from your experience what is the best way to advertise or get more kids enrolled in the programs?

heirofathena7 karma

Don't just advertise to mothers. Keep in mind that nowadays fathers and grandparents are nearly equally involved. Also, the current center I'm at has their own classroom ratios that are lower than the state ones, which has been a selling point for a lot of parents. For instance, in the 2-year-old room, the state ratio is 11:1, but the center ratio is 8:1. It's also easier on the teachers.

Sililex2 karma

So I'm not a parent nor am I a caretaker but I've always been curious, why is nap time a thing? I ask because I remember hating it when I was young.

heirofathena3 karma

It helps them recharge after a busy morning. Their bodies are smaller than ours and require more rest to keep them focused and attentive and generally in a better mood. Usually 12/16 of my kids nap. The ones who don't are given a book or puzzle or other quiet activity to keep them still so that they're at least resting.

hado-number-41 karma

Former daycare photographer here! Do you have any funny stories about "picture day" or horror stories?

heirofathena2 karma

My picture day stores are mainly about kids barfing or shitting themselves and ruining their outfits just in time for us to line up. Nothing too thrilling.

otakubrie1 karma

The timing of this post is too perfect. My 3 month old just started his first day of daycare today. Any advice to a first time mom? Ways I can make life easier for the ladies caring for him in the infant room?

heirofathena1 karma

Don't stress! He'll do just fine. I love the infant room personally. Just tell them if they're doing a good job. Make sure to pack plenty of extra clothes and any comfort items he likes. Let them know if he had a rough night or if he ate well that morning. Communication is key.

Bellofortis1 karma

Do you do picture day? I am a preschool photographer for a leading national company (think the biggest one). I feel your pain with crazy parents, it's almost always them being difficult, the kids are great most of the time and if they aren't it's often because the parent is nearby lol. What do you say to parents that inspire terrible behavior in their children?

heirofathena2 karma

We do do picture days, but they take place in the mornings and I work in the afternoon. I get to send them home to parents and they always look so cute. :]

I tell parents that their kid's misbehavior is typically either teething, potty training, or something going on at home. If it's at home, I can almost guarantee it's because their mother is pregnant; that causes a kid to become a real asshole for a little while. The vast majority of the time, it's not the kid that's bad, it's them responding to something in their life that they don't know how to articulate. Their verbal skills are minimal, so they experience frustration at their inability to communicate and they act out. They'll bite or pinch or throw tantrums or take off their shoes, but once they sort out their inner monologues, they'll chill out. But that's after my classroom.

AznB33F1 karma

When should you be rough with kids and when should you be gentle with kids? Does it depend on the kid?

heirofathena4 karma

Yeah, it depends on the kid as well as the context. If you've repeatedly told the kid to not do something or given them warnings, you put them in time out. If they resist, you firmly but gently take them by the hand and put them in time out or hold them until they calm down. After that you talk to them as best as you can depending on their age/comprehension level. Tell them what they did wrong, how it could've hurt them or whatever, and what they can do differently next time. Ask them if they understand and then give them a warm compliment or tell them that you still love them.

Never, under any circumstances, should anyone working at a center push, pull, yank, hit, spank, or do anything else that could be considered corporal punishment. I've had parents ask me to spank their kids if they misbehave and I tell them that I'm legally not allowed to do that.

AznB33F1 karma

Thanks for the reply, im just a 21 yr old wondering about how id deal w children when the time comes

heirofathena2 karma

Of course!

bamhurgerdeluxe1 karma

Have you had to deal with coworkers favoriting certain kids, and if so how did you handle it?

heirofathena3 karma

On occasion. I really try to give the other kids more attention or I'll bring it up to that teacher if I feel comfortable about it.

redgirl3291 karma

my daughter started daycare at 4 months and is now 13 months old. she will be in daycare until she starts elementary school. what sort of things can i do to help her succeed in daycare? i'm not looking for a baby genius. i just want to make sure i'm doing everything i can so that she's happy and thriving.

heirofathena2 karma

Parent interaction isn't as needed in daycare as it is in elementary school. Just make sure you have extra clothes packed, a snuggle toy if she needs it, and such. Your part really can be played at home. Try to keep her on a similar schedule to the one at the center. If they name from 12:00-2:00, try to get her to do the same. Read to her. Talk to her about whatever unit/theme their working on. Maybe have her bring some of her books to read to the class.

Faps_McTickle1 karma

Do parents come to you for advice?

heirofathena1 karma

All the time. The most common question I get, and this is particularly in the two-year-old room, is on potty training and the best way to go about it. But they also ask about how to get them to sleep through the night or how to discipline.

funktopus1 karma

How can I tell if my sons pre-school/daycare is shitty?

I ask because my wife and I are looking into pre-schools right now.

heirofathena1 karma

I think I've answered this twice, so if you can't find where I replied, feel free to message me!

SuperLowKey1 karma

Hello, I am not sure if I am too late for this AMA or not, but I figured I would give this a shot.

Can you please give me some key areas of interest that I should look at before choosing a good child care facility? I know that there are public websites that I can review online that will outline the past inspections that have taken place, and that information is helpful...however what are some things that I can physically look for when I walk in the door for a tour?

heirofathena1 karma

Make sure they're maintaining ratios, make sure the teachers aren't stressed or frustrated, look at the bathrooms and changing areas, and ask the director about the turnover rate.

Empalagante1 karma

What type of education do you need to have this type of job?

heirofathena1 karma

Most places it's just a high school diploma.

iamarock11 karma

I just wanted to say thank you. I'm a mother of 2 and I couldn't imagine having the patience to deal with a classroom full of kids each day. I love my kids, but I couldn't do it. So, thank you for being someone who genuinely loves their job!

I have to add a question: My son is autistic. What are some things I can do to help thank the ladies who take such great care of him during the day?

heirofathena2 karma

I don't love it every day, but I do love it. I know I won't work with little kids forever (I actually want to teach high school), but I'm enjoying it when I can!

As mentioned, gift cards are great! And, of course, just a genuine, heartfelt thank you will do wondering. And tell their boss!

argonia-2 karma


heirofathena1 karma

I'm the blonde.