Say Thank You

It’s that time of year again, the one when we show appreciation to our moms, our teachers and our child care providers.  That day or week when people go out of their way to show appreciation to the people who do the most important work in our communities - raise our next generation of well adjusted, kind and capable human beings.

I think it is wonderful to have national days or weeks to remind us to acknowledge something or, in this case, show appreciation but I’d like to argue, we should be doing that all year long. Especially for those who are caring for and educating our young children.  Child care providers.

Why?

There is the most obvious reason - child care providers are talking to, hugging, teaching and loving our most valued treasures when parents are earning the living to care for their children at home.

There is the other obvious reason - they do this for multiple treasures.  All. Day. Long.  I’m going to be honest with you for a minute, I have two children under five and I can’t comprehend being able to do this.  Child care providers have a unique skillset of multi-tasking, caring, mediating tough behavior, problem solving, drying tears, attending to owies, listening, making the most of teachable moments and the list goes on.  All while taking a moment to understand that they are talking to a young child and maintaining that ever-so-calming “teacher voice.”

Oh and then there’s this - in addition to caring for children all day long they document how they cared for each and every child.  What developmental milestones were reached or is a child showing signs of needing extra help?  How many wet or poopy diapers were there?  How much did they eat?  How long did they nap?  Who did they play with?  What did they play with? What adorable thing did they do?  What difficulties did they have?  And, And, And…

Let’s not forget about all of the regulations, best practices and extra things they’re doing to provide the best quality care possible!  With all of these things comes additional paperwork, conversation, learning and monitoring from agencies that child care providers address every day, week and month.  

And What’s the Wage?

In most cases it's not good and actually pretty terrible.  In many circumstances, unlivable.  In 2015, the national average of a child care worker was $9.77. (Early Childhood Workforce Index 2016

So Why Do They Do It?

If you ask a child care provider why they do it, many will say they love the hugs.  That you can’t start or end your day any better than that.  Which, I mean, is pretty awesome.  But let’s be honest.  Hugs aren’t paying their bills or giving them their time back. Believe it or not, child care providers have their own families to support, love and be patient with.

SAY THANK YOU - EVERY DAY

So, aside from the simple fact that they are helping us grow the best little humans possible, they are doing a slew of other things that we might not be wholly aware of and we should thank them.  EVERY DAY.  THANK YOUR CHILD CARE PROVIDER EVERY DAY when you pick up your kids.  It’s hectic and crazy and you have to get home and get dinner ready and any other number of things, but take a moment - look your provider in the eye and say thank you.  

Child care providers have one of the most important jobs in society and in the grand scheme of life, what they do is under appreciated.  In addition to the card, flowers, certificate or gift we give our providers this year on provider appreciation day, let’s also make a pledge to say “thank you” every day.

Take the Pledge
 


Reference:

Early Childhood Workforce Index 2016

Copyright © 2016, Center for the Study of Child Care Employment

Center for the Study of Child Care Employment, University of California, Berkeley

Accessed on 5/4/2017: http://cscce.berkeley.edu/files/2016/Median-Wages-by-Occupation-and-State-2015.pdf

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Samantha Marshall, M.A.

Samantha is, just like you, excited to make a difference in our community and our world. With a Master of Arts degree in English Literature, you might ask how she found herself building and writing for a website focused on child care. From 1995 through 2001, Samantha started her career working for Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) sponsors which introduced her to the importance of non-profits, community and quality child care. Her experience with Sponsors, State Officials, and Family Child Care Providers left a great and lasting impression. Later in her career and her most recent position at SAGE Publications, an academic publisher, was as a product manager for a new online resource! During this time many of Samantha's passions collided. A love for the written word, children and the proliferation of knowledge as well as a fascination with the resources the internet gives us, building a community for child care on ChildCareInfo.com is the perfect way to make the difference she wanted to. Needless to say, she is very excited to be an active part of creating and building ChildCareInfo.com.