Today’s blogpost is centered on the various expectations of the Cradles and Crayons Daycare participants i.e. our parents, their children and we the Daycare Providers.
Below is how we manage our Parents expectations:-
Our Parents concerns:
- A clean environment: One service guarantee we give to parents is cleanliness. No parent would like to leave their most precious possession (their child) in a dirty, filthy, smelly place. Mama Mungai and I do our best ensure that the Daycare is at its cleanest possible state at all times. We recently had a visit from The Nairobi City County’s Public Health Department and the Officer who came to inspect the Daycare was very impressed with our cleanliness standards.
- Compassion: At the Daycare we interact with our children in an engaging yet compassionate manner. Each child feels safe and secure while with us.
- Child friendly and safe environment: Infants and toddlers tend to explore their environment. We have modified and baby proofed the Daycare environment for the children via the use safety gates and installed safety equipment where needed. There is also a wide variety of indoor and outdoor toys.
- Licenses: We have obtained and updated all necessary licenses needed for the Daycare to be operational.
- Meals: Our experience has shown us that most children are picky eaters. To ensure that we provide a balanced, fun and yet nutritional menu we sat down with one of the leading Nutrition and Dietetic Consultants in Kenya, Alice Ojwang. She helped us come up with our lovely menu and we must admit that the kids love it with Chapati Friday’s is one of their favorite days! A couple of month’s back, during a review session, one of our parents mentioned that since their child enrolled with us, they had gained weight!! In addition, food preparation for children is a very sensitive matter. We encourage all our parents to visit the kitchen to see the cleanliness standards we strive very hard to maintain.
- Day schedule: Children thrive on routine. We therefore have a clearly laid out daily routine that properly shows mealtime timings, activity time, naptime etc. This is very crucial as it gives an indication of the Daycare’s organized day-to-day running.
- Activities: The children spend the better part of their day with us at the Daycare and therefore we provide them with age appropriate stimulating and educational activities as part of our program. They do not watch any form of TV while here. Activities like circle time, singing, dancing, coloring, organized free play, toddler crafts etc keep them busy all day long.
- Discipline: We have a simple yet highly effective method of instilling discipline. TIME-OUT. The timeout duration is dependent on the age of your child. For children who are two years, two minutes is good enough for time-out. For a three year old, three minutes it is etc.
- Communication: We provide daily updates on how the child is fairing while at the Daycare e.g. are they eating well, how their afternoon nap was, did they share, and how well potty training is coming along etc are good examples. Every so often we have reviews with our parents and their children where we discuss the child’s progress since they began with us.
- Emergency procedures: An emergency does not give you time to prepare. We have therefore put in place a plan of action for incase it does. Knowing that one’s reaction during the initial 10 minutes of an emergency are very crucial, we are all First Aid trained. We have regular refresher courses and drills with Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital to ensure our emergency action plan and procedures remain fresh.
- Professionalism: We believe that we serve as a positive role model to our children through our actions. We communicate our values often. We encourage parents to ensure that our values are in line with their own. We also maintain discretion in regard to the care of all our children.
This is the ‘easiest’ expectation to manage. The child should feel:
- loved / loving,
- listened to,
- terrific and
Daycare Provider’s Expectation:
As the Daycare Provider, our expectations are very straight forward:
- Open Communication: We insist that Parents should always give us all the information regarding their child’s routine activities and any issues/problems the child may have. This makes it easier for us to handle your child. If your child is one with special needs, do let us know. In so doing so we as the Daycare will cause less harm to them as they try to fit into our routine. Good communication helps us all work together in the best interest of your child.
- Current / up-to-date information: We are very particular about this. Parents should always ensure that the contact information, for instance, the emergency telephone numbers they give to us are current. If there is any change, they should update us immediately. Some Parents forget to let us know when for instance the Nanny they listed to collect their child has left their employ. If the Nanny had malicious intent and decided to come and collect your child under the guise that they were going home and instead end up kidnapping them, who would we have to blame?
- On time Payment: Parents should always remember that the Daycare is like any other business and for their children to receive quality childcare, their payments must always be on time. Invoices that require upfront payment, should be followed through based on these terms.
- Agreement on terms or arrangements: We have a written agreement that Parents sign that states the terms and conditions of the services we offer. It is very helpful for both the Parents and ourselves. We encourage the Parents to read and fully understand our terms and that they should work towards abiding by them. For instance we expect the parents of the children who aren’t potty trained to provide diapers for them.
- Honesty and trust: Be honest about how you believe the arrangement is working – whether you and your child are happy with our services, or not. Although Parents need to be vigilant in order to safeguard their children, they should still trust us to do the best we can for their child. This can be done by showing your trust by asking questions rather than jumping to conclusions when apparent problems develop.
- Advance notice of any changes: We deserve advance notice if your child is unwell and will not be able to come in on a particular day. Also, if you are going to stop using our services, take a vacation or change your hours, do let us know. A lot goes into the day to day planning of the Daycare and any small change can throw everything off. Since you would expect some form of notice as to when we can no longer care for your child, wouldn’t it be fair if you gave us a similar notice. We don’t like surprises any more than you do… 🙂
- Pick up on time: We should be able to count on you to collect your child at the agreed time. However due to the unpredictability of Nairobi’s traffic, we do understand when you get held up. Once in a while, late pickups are unavoidable but when this becomes a habit, it becomes a problem for everyone concerned. In such instances we advise that you use the transport service we offer. Your child will be home in good time and you can relax knowing you don’t have to break any traffic rules trying to rush over to pick them up. Do remember that your child does not understand why all his/her friends have left and they are still at the Daycare.
- Do not send a sick child in: A child who is unwell needs to be home resting and taking it easy. A sick child at the Daycare will not enjoy themselves. Chances are that their condition will worsen due to the noise and activity of the other children. Secondly, infections among young children spread very fast. Having them stay home is a simple form a quarantine. When they get better, they can resume our program. Quarantining them also ensures that their condition does not spread to the other kids.
- Respect: Kindly realize that in as much as taking care of children is our job, we are all working parents – just as you are. Though this is our livelihood, recognize also that this is not an easy job. We however love what we do and ensure that we do it to the very best of our ability.
- Jealousy: Parents should try not to be jealous of their child’s attachment to us. Your child spends a few hours every day with us and naturally they will come to grow fond of us. This affection doesn’t diminish the love they feel for you. Try not to feel that you have to compete with us for your child’s affection. You may not be aware of this but your child talks about you all the time while under our care. 🙂
Photo credit: Cradles and Crayons Daycare.