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The best gifts you can give to your childcare provider

I've been given a lot of gifts in my time; here are my favorites

by MaryP  |  60063 views  |  4 comments  |        Rate this now! 

From time to time, you will probably be hunting for a gift for your daycare provider. Depending on how well you know her, this can be challenging. There is no one perfect gift that every daycare provider is guaranteed to love. Some love gift certificates, others find them impersonal; one woman loves toiletries, the other can't stand "all that stinky stuff." We're all different, darnit.

I've been a childcare provider for many years now, and I've seen it all -- the good, the bad, and the cringe-inducing. Perhaps my former clients can offer guidance; at the very least there's an opportunity to learn from some of their mistakes. But let's start with the inspirational. These are the three best gifts I have ever received:

1.) The gold standard of all gifts ever received in my professional life: A check.

No, it's not that Mary prefers cold, hard cash as a gift. (Though I have absolutely nothing against it, nuh-uh, not me.) It wasn't the figure on the cheque. It was what this cheque represented. You see, accompanying the cheque was a note:

"This cheque represents a portion of my year-end bonus, which I could not have earned without your help. If I'd been worrying about my daughter's care all day, I couldn't have done the work. With your support, I was able to earn my bonus. It seems only right that you should share it."

That gift has it all, people: respect, value, appreciation. She, like me, has a couple of university degrees. She, unlike me, has a high-intensity, esteem-rich professional career with decent social cachet. And yet, despite the disparity in our professions, to her I'm not just a parking-spot for her child, I'm a valued member of her life team. I have never, before or since, received a gift that meant more.

2.) The personal touch: A wooly scarf.

Doesn't seem like much, perhaps, but it's the context. This woman had noticed that the old scarf I was wearing with my new winter coat didn't really match. So she found some wool that complemented the coat beautifully and knit me one. Her attention to the small personal detail of my new coat and the personal effort of making the scarf was what made this gift one of the top three.

3.) The spontaneous small things: This includes the parent who drops off a coffee along with her child in the morning; the one who surprised me with flowers once in a while; the one who, overhearing me on the phone to the pharmacy in the morning, offers to pick up my daughter's prescription and drop it off at lunch.

The best way to insure that your gift is one that your childcare provider will really treasure is to think about what you know about her as a person, consider how much you value her care of your children (and her contribution to your professional success), and to gift accordingly.

About the Author

Mother of three (teens), step-mother of five (teens), home daycare operator of five (todders), and STILL SANE!! NOTHING is impossible...

Read more by MaryP

4 comments so far...

  • Thanks for the awesome inspired me to do something for my providers this week. They had to go without work for a week becuase there was no power after the hurricane - someone definately needed to do something nice for them!!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Beaniemommie on 1st October 2008

  • I just closed my home daycare of seven years. I remember the gifts that I received each year at Christmas, but to me, it is those everyday gifts that are so special. I watched a beautiful little girl whose mother taught school 1/2 day. About twice a week, when she would pick up her daughter she would bring me lunch. She knew that I often didn't have time for myself. That made me feel loved and appreciated more than anything.

    Great article! Thanks for sharing.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Angie M. on 29th September 2008

  • WOW! Awesome ideas. I do cherish my day care provider. She is so amazing and loves my children. Thanks for sharing.

    BELIEVE Success!

    Lisa Willard

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Lisa Willard on 10th September 2008

  • Wow Mary!!! I just read your "About the Author"...all those kids!! I think I just heard the heavens open up and angels singing -your a saint, girl! I can barely handle my one toddler!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Beaniemommie on 9th September 2008