Everything you need to know about sorting out problems at childcare

children playing

Whether your child is going to a preschool, family daycare, a childcare centre or being looked after by a nanny or granny; there’s a good chance issues will crop up at some point. 

So how can you spot them and what can you do about it? Here’s the lowdown.

The two types of issues

According to Care for Kids problems with your childcare arrangement fall into two different categories.

The first is personal – so individual concerns that are specific to the family and child, or differing thoughts around how best to care for a child. Common examples include things like worrying whether a child is getting enough food to eat or sufficient stimulation or concerns over hygiene or cleanliness.

The second type of issue is around breaking laws, rules or regulations – such as a childcare service that looks after more children than they’re licensed for, kids being left unattended, inappropriate methods of discipline or a child’s pain or discomfort not being attended to (things like dirty nappies or injuries).

Read more about childcare:

daycare kids

Look for solutions

Good childcare is really hard to find and in many cases any issues you encounter should be easily resolved, especially if your concerns are personal.

Before you go racing off to find another nanny or alternative daycare at the first whiff of trouble, try resolving the issue with your current provider first. Here’s how to prevent or troubleshoot personal childcare issues:

  • Be diligent – Do background checks on any nanny you plan to employ; read your childcare service’s policies; and ask questions about their practices before enrolling your child.
  • Raise requests early – Mention any specific details or wishes relating to your child from the get-go (e.g. sensitive sunscreen needed or no daytime naps). When it comes to nannies or family carers, this is equally important to avoid misunderstandings (especially in the case of foreign carers such as au pairs where there could be a language barrier). Put your requests and/or preferences in writing, if possible.
  • Communicate regularly – Keep your carer updated as things change or if issues emerge with your child, and likewise allow them the opportunity to informally update you on your child’s progress or mention any areas of concern or interest (such as staff members leaving). An open, honest, trusting relationship with your childcare provider is important.
  • Voice your concerns – Discuss any matters you’re worried about as soon as they arise instead of finding another carer or waiting until things get worse. Do so in a private manner away from your child and other parents. Be tactful, covering off positive aspects as well as negative, but also be clear about your issue and offer suggestions for how you would like it resolved. Keep a record of your interactions, in case problems are ongoing and you need to escalate matters.
  • Listen to your carer – Make sure you hear your carer’s perspective on what’s going on as well. Perhaps there’s something happening you’re not aware of which is contributing to the problem? Listen up!
  • Focus on resolution – End any discussions with a clear understanding from both parties how the problem is going to be addressed, and also reviewed later on. 

Nanny with kids

When change might be required

Unfortunately, in some instances issues or concerns with your childcare arrangement are unable to be resolved in which case you might be best to seek alternative care. Examples where this might be relevant include:

  • Something illegal or upsetting has taken place – Such as your child being physically or emotionally abused or neglected; not enough carers are available; or the premises are unhygienic.
  • You believe your child is in unsafe hands – This could be anything from a nanny under the influence of drugs or alcohol; or a grandparent who is mentally or physically incapable of appropriate care.
  • A carer who refuses to respect your wishes – Despite numerous discussions they ignore your requests or concerns, therefore dissolving trust between you.
  • An unreliable childcare arrangement – Such as your au pair regularly not turning up or your daycare centre having different carers every single day.
  • Your child seems genuinely afraid – Not to be confused with normal aversions to childcare such as separation anxiety or shyness, if your parental instinct is telling you something is wrong then perhaps it is. However, of course investigate the matter thoroughly before doing anything drastic.

Have you had issues with your daycare or childcare provider? We’re keen to hear your stories on Facebook.

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