Care and Feeding

I Might Leave Our Daycare Over What They Haven’t Been Telling Me

This is my first child, and I don’t know how much of a fuss I should make.

A little boy holds a balloon and looks up at it.
Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by Getty Images Plus.

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Dear Care and Feeding,

Like all parents, we chose our son’s daycare carefully. We wanted a daycare center, and we chose one that got rave reviews. It’s just a few blocks from our house, which was a huge draw. When our son was born in January 2020, we planned to start sending him there in March. And then COVID happened. We pulled him out after he had only been going there for two weeks, and didn’t return until July 2021.

My son comes home happy and tired every day. But we aren’t getting the level of communication that we had been promised. There is an app that is supposed to be updated with naps and meals, and most days it isn’t updated at all. When I go to pick up my son in the afternoon, his usual teacher is gone for the day, with newer staff taking over, and my question of “How was he today?” is met with confused shrugs about half the time. When other parents show up at the same time I do, they seem to get a more effusive greeting and a report on their day. My husband has also noted this on the days he has done pick-up.

I approached the director with concerns after we weren’t adequately notified about an accident involving blood. She apologized profusely, but the level of communication hasn’t changed. We still love a lot about this daycare, and I don’t want to leave, especially given the childcare crisis. But this is my first child, and I don’t know how much of a fuss I should make. I’ve asked friends, and they are split. I guess I am wondering if I’m right to be concerned, or if I am just being anxious?

— Anxious Mom

Dear Anxious Mom,

Your concern is warranted and understandable. Accidents do happen in childcare facilities, but it’s not acceptable that you weren’t notified when your son was injured. If you’ve urged your child care center to improve their communication or asked for a more detailed account of what’s gone on with your son throughout the day, and you’ve haven’t noticed any change, those are red flags worthy of further consideration. Because the childcare system is indeed overstrained at present, finding a new spot for your son may take time, but if that’s an option for you, it wouldn’t hurt to start looking into the possibility.

In the meantime, if you haven’t already, document your concerns in writing and submit them to your child care center’s director. Keep track of any written response you receive from them, as well. It may be useful as you move forward, either in holding them accountable to their promises, or in taking legal action, in the event that unreported instances of accident or injury persist.

—Stacia

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