I do not have a “Sasha Fierce” alter-ego. Personality tests consistently characterize me as a relating, supporting, loyal, trusting person. Sure, I am passionate and driven, but with a teddy bear style; soft and squishy. When I feel threatened or wronged, it makes my insides squirm because I know a confrontation is coming.
Recently my son started a new daycare that awoke my slumbering mama-bear sense the very first day. There was no warm meet-and-greet with his teacher. There was no report at the end of the day, assuring us that he would be a good fit with the school. There wasn’t even an introduction to how the facility worked – where to drop off checks, how to sign in, or a sharing of the passcode for the building. In a way, we felt invisible.
There were so many missed steps, yet my accommodating and too-trusting self wanted so hard to dismiss these as not a huge deal. I recognized that I am so much more comfortable giving people the benefit of the doubt than I am with confronting a difficult situation.
At some point, and it happened fast, I started to realize that it didn’t have to be this way. I didn’t have to watch my son cry through his new routine. I didn’t have to politely accept his teacher’s use of screen time at the end of the day. I didn’t have to timidly ask how everything in the facility worked. Most importantly, I could not and should not naively hope that the teachers treated my child more lovingly after we walked out the door.
Mamas, when you’re touring a facility, definitely ask the conventional questions. But also glance into the people and attitudes who are working there. There really are amazing teachers out there who want to love on your littles. Here’s how to find them:
- Teacher interaction – watch how the teachers are communicating with the kids. Are they focusing on caring for them, or helping them accomplish a task? Do the children act comfortable around their teachers?
- Teacher response – watch how the teachers respond to you and your child entering the room. Do they acknowledge your presence? How do they act towards the director or tour guide? Do they appear to have a good rapport in their working relationship? Does the director introduce you to the class?
- Behavioral techniques – ask about different behavioral techniques the teachers use. How and when is discipline administered? How do teachers console a crying child? Are they comforting and loving?
- Screen time – Ask about screen time. Do teachers use phones or iPads to merely entertain children, or to educate them? Is screen time monitored by the facility, or is it up to the teacher to use it whenever they feel like it?
It took us less than a week to decide to pull our son out of the daycare that was the wrong fit for our family. I have zero regrets, despite the discomfort that I felt making the decision to not give this daycare the benefit of the doubt. These are the awkward growing pains as my protective mama-bear alter-ego takes shape. She is both fuzzy AND fierce.