Saturday, October 19, 2013

Weekly Whine: Inappropriate childcare

About a year ago, I met this woman in my building named Diane who had a daughter Mel's age and another daughter a little younger than my toddler. I'd been itching to be friends with her for this reason, but she hadn't been great about replying to my emails. I emailed her about a playdate one day, and.... no reply. Until three weeks later. I am copying and pasting what she wrote below:

Fizzy, a play date on Saturday would be best, I know my husband will be home watching the Superbowl on Sunday afternoon, so just let me know what a good time for you is and we'll work it out. So I wanted to run something else by you, let me know what you think.

I've decided that I want to stay home with my children and care for 1 or 2 other children in my home. Just yesterday I posted on several websites to offer my services for childcare. I am just letting you know that I am available if it would be something that you and your husband would consider for your 2 girls. I understand that your girls have probably been going to [Trusted Daycare] for some time now, and they are probably comfortable there, however, if it is something that you would consider I would love to care for your kids at my home full time.

I don't know if you remember but I do have my Master degree in Early Childhood Education and I have been a kindergarten teacher for 5 years. I have all of my teaching materials and I would teach my daughter and Mel during the day, as well as put them on the bus to go to afternoon kindergarten. That way she will be able to get familiar with the school and kids that she will be attending school with in the future. My specialty is teaching reading and I can absolutely raise Mel's reading level greatly, no matter what level she is currently reading. I will also teach the girls math, science, and social studies and we can do some great experiments and activities involving the younger ones as well. Because I will be able to easily manage and keep the older girls busy, I could do many educational activities with your baby also. I could help with potty training and anything else that you would need for her.

I have hundreds of books and a ton of educational materials. I think the girls would all be easy and we would have a lot of fun learning. Your kids would get more one-on-one attention, and more individualized attention, with a highly qualified teacher. The best part would be that you could stay in the same building to drop off and pick your children.

Let me know what you think. I just wanted to run it by you first before I take on another child.

I was pretty freaking mad. Here I am wanting to be friends and she is essentially trying to sell me something. I would never ever consider doing this for so many reasons:

1) Why would I take Mel away from all her friends 2/3 of the way through the year and plop her in a class of kids who know each other and don't know her?

2) If she thinks she can teach two kids how to read while simultaneously caring for two infants, that is very unrealistic.

3) When you have a job where you MUST be there every day, relying on a single individual who can get sick, wants to take vacations, etc, is far less than ideal.

4) If you even want me to consider you to watch my kids, you should at the very least be willing to reply to emails.

And here's the best part:

About two months after she sent me this, she moved away forever.


  1. I agree she was using you and was more interested in her fledgling child care business than friendship. And of course, absurd that she solicited you when she was about to move away. But as to the other piece of your post, it sounds like you are generally satisfied with the daycare your kids are getting. Good for you. But I know a lot of parents who would rather have their kids in exactly the setting your neighbor set up. In fact, my next door neighbor is running a child care service like this with a 5, 3, 2, and 1 year old and she is very good at it, and the two older kids are learning a lot from her. I know this because I was temporarily out of work due to illness and, to pass the time on the days when I was ambulatory, visited her frequently and watched her in action. The two younger ones had a pretty long, overlapping nap schedule, which is when she spent time teaching the two older ones. She took all four kids on trips to the park, nature walks in the nearby woods, the local beach, etc. These kids know a lot about science and nature, and were good readers, and very well mannered. They got way more attention and enrichment than many kids would get in a more formal daycare setting, when the child to adult ratio is much higher. One of the kids my neighbor cares for is the child of two people I know, who are both full time working professionals with very demanding job requirements. They specifically sought out my neighbor to watch their kid.

  2. You dodged a bullet. True, child care in your own building would be convenient, but it hardly outweighs the dozen or so negatives that are evident just from what she says in her email.

  3. This sounds like some wacky stunt my sil would pull. Great salesman ad but total flake. I have to tell you i just don't believe these in home childcare people are sane, capable and/or doing THAT great of a job. I am an early childhood specialist and reading specialist turn FULL TIME STAY AT HOME MOM. My husband works 100 hours a week and we are FAR from family. I don't believe ANYBODY can watch little kids under age 5 day in and day out without losing their minds, temper and or sanity. I get in home daycares the adults aren't with the kids 24/7 like I am but even when I was a teacher and the ONLY adult in the room with 20+ students who WERE potty trained I left feeling like I ran a marathon EVERY DAY. And I had some major lazy days where I said: we are doing the bare minimum today because I just can't stay awake and I have to grade papers, etc etc etc. Infants are HARD work. Toddlers are even harder work. I believe you need a 1-1 teacher:child ration if it's more than a few hours a day. My child's current nursery school proves my thoughts correctly. They have FOUR adults MINIMUM in the four year old class for 18 students and those teachers end the day TIRED. I was the primary and ONLY teacher for 20+ four year olds when I was fresh out of college and had TONS of energy. I agree you need to have your kids in care where there is more than one adult "in charge". It's just BS one person can care for that many kids WELL 8-14 hours/day five days a week.

  4. That sucks Fizzy. While it's true that some parents are looking for the childcare situation this woman was allegedly offering, it's pretty out of line to respond to your request for a playdate with this sort of solicitation. Plus, she turned out to be a total flake, so consider it a bullet dodged and good riddance to her.

  5. This is why I couldn't do in-home daycare. I don't trust any one person enough and they could up and leave me in a lurch without any notice. I at least know my daycare is going to be around. But yeah, weird response.

  6. Wow. I don't have a problem with in-home daycare, per se, but I DO have a problem with soliciting for business that way. If you guys ever did have those playdates and get to be friends, you would obviously have the "so what do you do?" question and then if YOU were interested, YOU could ask her if she had space for your kids. Sending off an email with all that self-horn-tooting and completely unfounded claims (how can she be sure she will raise your daughter's reading level without ever having met her?) was such a huge red flag to STAY AWAY from the loon.