Most times we take for granted that our kids, or really just children in general are constantly communicating with us. Often we respond with “oh they’re just cranky,” or just “frustrated” when our kid fusses. Not realizing that these truly are the best indicators that you need to pay attention much more closely. In the day of working outside of the home, as a parent you heavily rely on safe childcare. It’s so important though to be vigilant in signs of inadequate child care. Let’s dig deeper on what to spot and what you need to be aware of!
I speak from experience and my profession
I’ve had the opportunity to work in the field of social work for about 3.5 years now. It’s been a blessing and a slight curse. Engaging in eye opening training’s my lens and perspective has changed, especially in parenting. However, finding a balance has been a challenge and something I deal with regularly. The greatest tool I’ve developed in my profession is this: children are your thermometer. Most times as parents it’s easy to blame your child’s less than favorable behaviors on them. The last resort is looking at ourselves or even the environments that they may be in as a factor…just a thought.
Our oldest son has been going to a daycare since he was 10 weeks old, one of the most difficult decisions I’ve made ever. The journey of parenting him has so many sweet lessons. He started off in a home daycare and honestly it was exactly what we both needed. It was a previous coworker of mine that had started a new career venture, and she wasn’t too far away from my job. So as a new mom, still breast feeding, an emotional wreck – it provided the comfort and convenience I needed to help me transition back to work full-time. He flourished. He was growing, learning, and absolutely loving the small and intimate setting the daycare provided. As Kai grew and I considered going part-time we figured the transition to a daycare closer to home would work after his first birthday. So on we went to a larger daycare.
A shift happened
Kai’s new class had about 6-8 children and two teachers in the class. We were pretty excited since he would stay on task in learning colors, shapes, even Bible verses. We started off feeling encouraged at our new care facility.Then we started noticing the following:
- He was much more irritable and attached when home with us (like we were constantly holding him) when before he was very independent and secure when playing near us
- Random scratches and scabs were on him, but no one told us he had them
- Kai constantly had boogers/snot stains on his face
- He got sick more frequently mainly respiratory viruses like RSV , Croup, etc
- Kai became much more aggressive and not just because he couldn’t communicate – kicking, hitting, throwing anything he could find, even biting the dogs…poor Oliver
I will note that I do know that some of these observations are age appropriate especially since he is learning how to communicate/express himself.
In short, something was wrong
Kai left the house angry and came home the same. He was sick consecutively, sometimes weeks at a time. He even started using a nebulizer. Kids get sick, germs are everywhere, but something just wasn’t adding up. We were told there were “no reported cases of any sickness.” I’m not saying someone was lying…but someone was lying.
We figured in all adjustments, we just needed to give things some time. With more children we couldn’t expect Kai to just have one-on-one attention. But then one evening my husband went to pick up Kai and he had a lump on his head and two scratches on his face.
Red Flag, and the last straw
Not only was the teacher caught off guard that something was even wrong with our son, she couldn’t tell my husband how it happened. Mike spoke to the director briefly and came home done. This was a major sign of inadequate child care. The signs were already there, we were just afraid to face them. Lack of supervision is never okay. Kids bust their face all the time, it’s the truth. Our son is rough and bruises even when we least expect it. However, “I don’t know” is never a sufficient answer when something happens, especially in a caretaker role in that type of setting.
What you need to be aware of
Too often we miss the signs our little ones are telling us not because we’re neglectful, but because we don’t even realize they mean something. Be aware of these shifts in behavior friends:
- Watch your child’s temperament when he/she returns home from being somewhere. Do they enjoy leaving you? Are they afraid?
- Observe how your child interacts with you and even others. Do they appear uncomfortable around a particular person?
- Are there any physical markings on your child in areas that are not normal due to play or usual areas (like elbows, knees, etc)
- Are there patterns you’re observing that appear out of character?
There are even more signs beyond these that you may identify. Don’t just assume – observe, listen, and stay engaged. You’ll be glad you did.