Working class parents often settle on sending their children to daycare when their professional responsibilities require them to be away from home for the day. Wake up, drop off, work, pick up, go home. It is a simple and seemingly wholesome process. But just how well can you trust the people whom you leave your children with every day. Parents took to reddit to share their own experiences with daycare that may make you choose to stay home.
"My mother-in-law's friend needed money, so we paid her $20 a day to watch our 10-month-old while we were at work.
I got a call at work. The babysitter had left her camper door unlatched while she was outside smoking. My daughter pushed on the door and fell about four feet onto a wooden pallet below. The babysitter waited an hour (during which my daughter fell asleep - big no no after a head injury) before she called me.
My daughter had bruises all over her head from where she landed on the pallet. That was a Thursday, and my daughter started her awesome daycare that Monday."
"I am the youngest of 5 and was born in 1994. This happened to my mother in 1987.
She always said that my oldest brother was very wild and extremely hard to deal with at bedtime. Most of the time they would resort to putting him in his car seat and driving him around the block to get him to finally fall asleep. She had two kids at an in-home daycare. My sister always slept well anyway, but my mom always thought it was weird that the babysitter, 'Pam,' would say that my brother would nap well every time she would pick them up. My mom even joked about the lady being a miracle worker.
When my mom had her third child, she went on medical leave. At the end of her leave, she went to Pam's house to introduce the baby and finalize plans to return the kids to daycare. As she was leaving the house, the neighbor lady, who happened to be good friends with Pam, stopped my mom in the driveway and told her she was concerned about the baby as she was nervous that the babysitter might accidentally overdose her.
Wait, what the heck?!
The babysitter was giving my brother children's medicine (not exactly sure what specific type, but some children's drowsy stuff) every day, without permission, to get him to fall asleep. Obviously, she freaked. She called local authorities but, since Pam denied it, there was nothing she could really do since it was obviously out of his system by then and there was no proof.
My mom was so shaken she ended up switching her nursing schedule to the night and weekend shifts so that my dad had and her had opposite schedules and she could stay at home during the day."
"I am a former daycare employee, with a nightmare parent story.
We were open 6:30 a.m. - 6:30 p.m. People either dropped off early and picked up early, or dropped off late and picked up late. We rarely had anyone leave their kid for 12 hours, at least, not unless there was some family emergency.
One kid, though - his parents would be in the parking lot when we got there in the morning. She didn't work, so he would drive her and the kid in, then go home and drop her off, and go to work. When he got home they would have some alone time. Then, he would drive her over to pick the kid up.
It cost something like $1 a minute past 6:30 p.m. if you were late. Nearly every day we'd be there till 6:45 or so waiting for that family. First kid in, last kid out. I still have no idea what the mother did all day.
These people treated him like a dog who needed kenneling. I am talking about a mom who did not work and left her kid in daycare 12 hours a day, 5 days a week for no reason. There were other issues. She wanted us to feed him a big snack before he left so she didn't have to give him much dinner. He was a sad little boy.
Last I heard, they were trying for another baby. Why not? We were raising the first one for them!"
"I used to work at a daycare. There was an older lady with me in my room, 'Miss Jenny.' She would always go on and on about how much she loved kids and would fawn all over them, blah blah blah. She was cool. We got along for the most part.
For a little while, we were short staffed, so some days we would be scheduled to work in different rooms. Miss Jenny got scheduled to work in the infant room and threw an absolute fit. She went on and on about how she was not hired to work with infants, how much she was going to miss her 'babies' for that day, etc. It started to get a little weird, honestly.
One day, while she was working in the infant room, there was suddenly a commotion from the front of the daycare. My room looked directly towards the front door and I saw one of the infants' mother run in, yelling about her baby. She disappeared for a few minutes, then rushed out with her baby. We came to find out that Miss Jenny had given this formula-fed baby another baby's lactated milk. His mom had to come pick him up and take him to the hospital because you did not have to disclose your diseases to have your own lactated milk stored at the daycare. All of the bottles were clearly labeled too. It was a pretty daft mix-up on her part. Her excuse was 'You shouldn't have scheduled me in the infant room.' Amazingly she didn't get fired.
One week we had this little boy 'Georgie, a 2-year-old, start his very first time at daycare ever. He was a hot mess. That poor boy screamed all day every day. He wouldn't nap, just scream. One day, Miss Jenny told me that I could take my lunch during nap time and she would get the kids to sleep on her own. This was odd, but whatever. After my break, I was scheduled to sit in a different room for a bit, so I didn't immediately return to my own room.
Later when I returned, the kids had woken up from nap and Georgie was covered in what looked like a bunch of tiny scratches. Miss Jenny told me that he was so distraught during nap time that he wouldn't stop scratching and pinching himself. This was not an expressed behavior of his until then and I was pretty worried about him. I went to the director and let her know what was going on with this kid. They called his parents who came and got him. His mother was frantic about the kid's state, crying, covered in scratches and bruises. The kid never came back after that day.
A few weeks later, I was working at my other job at a pizza place. A detective came in wanting to speak with me. Apparently, Miss Jenny was the one that had given little Georgie all of those bruises and scratches. The dumb broad didn't realize that cameras in the room could see her and she was trying to pinch that poor boy to sleep. She was let go after that."
"My girlfriend's cousin owns a daycare and told us of a little boy, no more than five to six years old. He really liked this one girl in the daycare and went out of his way to be around her. He had not done anything inappropriate but they had a bad feeling about it so they kept a close eye on the two.
Then, one day during nap time, he got up and went over to her while she was sleeping, laid on top of her, and began thrusting. They ran and pulled him off immediately and contacted authorities. I am not sure what happened after, but I hope he is no longer in whatever toxic environment he learned that from."
"The first daycare I took my daughter to when she was six weeks old was a center. I went to pick her up one day and did not see a single worker, just kids of all ages running around all over the place. There was a little girl digging through a trash can of dirty diapers. I had my daughter picked up, in her car seat and halfway out the door before a worker finally popped out and acted like nothing was wrong.
While I was talking to her about how that was not OK, another worker came in from outside and said she could not watch the kids because she was on the phone with her boyfriend. I also come to find out they had not changed her diaper or fed her all day because she 'wasn't hungry' and 'didn't have any dirty diapers' even though I was standing there looking at her very full diaper. Plus six-week-old babies are always hungry. If she truly was not, then she would have been sick and I should have gotten a call. Obviously, she did not go back to that place.
Another daycare we sent her to when she was a few months older was a daycare that advertised as a center, was a center when we toured it, but then, the first day I went to drop her off, the center was closed because they were 'moving' and had all the kids at a lady's house down the street. I should have known better, but it was the same lady who gave us the tour of the center and they had said they would be changing locations, so I just went with it.
I decided to leave work early that day to pick her up just to see what was going on. When I got back to the house, the door was locked and all the windows were closed, but I could hear my daughter screaming bloody murder from the driveway. I pounded on the door for a few minutes until they let me in and acted like they did not know why she was so fussy. She was just a bad baby or something.
She is normally very happy and easy going. I started asking questions about what they had done with her all day because it was clear she had been crying all day long. Eventually, they admitted that she was scared when she got there and they didn't feel like holding her so they just strapped her in her car seat and let her cry literally all day. I assume they were getting her out of her seat when I was knocking at the door so I wouldn't know. She never went back there again either.
She's at a great daycare now that she loves, but I refused to go to work for a while after each of these incidents because I felt so bad and did not want to risk another place again yet. I still feel like a pretty bad mom when I think about them, but she was our first kid. We did not have much money and had no connections where we live. We just didn't know what to look out for."
"We interviewed with a lady who had an in-home daycare. She advertised all this stuff, such as 'organic meals,' 'Montessori setting,' and all that noise. I called her and set up a time to meet her and see her place.
We got there on the scheduled day at the scheduled time and she answered the door in her pajamas, looking like she had just rolled out of bed. She was a mess.
OK. No big deal, I guess. She does work from home after all.
We headed to the kitchen. I looked to my left and saw one room stacked to the ceiling with stuff, like totes and random junk. I looked to my right and there were children literally corralled into a living room, watching cartoons. Most of them were only half-dressed. That's fine, but she advertised that she did not let the kids watch TV, so I was a bit confused about that. I was also confused as to where these children's clothes were.
The kitchen itself was pretty messy, but she explained that they had just had breakfast, so I understood. What do they have for meals? She showed me a menu. It was all processed junk - again, not what was advertised. She was starting to come across as really disingenuous, as if it was some sort of trap. It really was not a big deal to have organic food or a certain type of curriculum, but that was what she said she offered so that was what we expected. We left feeling like something was really off about the place and decided to look elsewhere.
A month later she was busted for using and dealing illegal substances out of her house."
"After my first son was born, we started looking for in-home daycares because the big centers were super expensive and looked like chaotic zoos to me. We wanted something smaller. We found a posting on a local Facebook group from a woman we'll call 'Crazy Pants' who had four kids who were all grown or in high school. She was looking to start a daycare. I met her, her former military husband, and her high school age daughter in their home. I was very impressed with everything she had to offer. Plus, the price was within our budget. We started bringing our son to her once I went back to work.
By week two, we were getting at least one 'I'm sick' text message from her at 5 a.m. per week. By week four, she started calling my husband in the middle of the night and would leave the weirdest voicemails that made no sense. When asked about it the next day, she would say she must have pocket dialed him.
Sure, that could happen, but not three nights in a row.
At that point, we started looking for other options and interviewed another lady who we both loved right away. My husband went to pick up our son on a Friday, which would be our last day with Crazy Pants. She was not home.
She and her family left for a weekend trip and left our son with an older woman whom we did not know. She said she was Crazy Pants' mom, but she was a different ethnicity and looked nothing like the family. Even if she was Crazy Pants' mom, we were not informed of this AT ALL and we did not approve AT ALL. We were supposed to pay her for that week's care but my husband did not leave the check. I still feel bad to this day not paying her but at the same time, GET STUFFED, Crazy Pants!
The daycare we switched to was amazing. My son has no memory of Crazy Pants, obviously, but dang, did I feel like a failure of a parent to leave him with that nut for six weeks."
"We were poor when my son was young. I was a 'house husband' after I lost my job because the cost of daycare was greater than the amount of money I was going to make until I got my degree. Sometimes, we had to make do with cheap daycare while I took part-time work. What can you do, you know?
The worst was a woman who was just not that great when my son was still an infant. We would send our son with a day's worth of diapers, and my son would come back with a rash. One day, I put a big 'X' on the back of his diaper and he came back with an 'X,' showing that he had not been changed all day. However, she was out of diapers again. I am not sure what she was using them for, but we suspect her family. My wife and I confronted her about it and secretly started searching for a new sitter, which was hard because of the money/work ratio.
One day, I showed up to drop him off and the woman did not answer the door. There were cars in the driveway and carport, but no one was answering the door. I peeked inside and saw no one, not even the usual drone of the four to five kids she usually had, either. I gave up after half an hour and was peeved I would have to miss a day's work. On the way down the driveway, a car drove up and some people in dress clothing came out. I asked what happened to the lady there, and they got very somber. They said she had died from a sudden heart attack over the weekend. That ended that.
In the process of trying to find a sitter, I was fired from my part-time job. I would remain unemployed again for about another year. A few months after I got the new job, we were driving in the neighborhood of the old sitter and drove by her house out of curiosity. Guess who was in her front yard, sitting with a bunch of kids? Yeah, she faked her own death."
"My 3-year-old daughter took a toy from a boy, also 3. She was sat in a circle of all the kids. The provider told all the other children that she was a bully and a bad friend. She then took my daughter's juice cup and forced her best friend to drink it to teach her what it was like for somebody to take something of hers. Her friend did not want to.
The same provider barely fed our 10-month-old. We had to prepare a special formula for her to eat and she would claim our daughter would not accept it. The little one would guzzle a whole bottle in minutes when I picked her up. An anonymous assistant at the daycare warned us that not only was our daughter not being fed, but she was taking the prepared formula out of the refrigerator after drop off because it took up too much space.
Why did we leave our daughters there? We didn't. This all happened at the same time. The day I got the call from the assistant I had a very pointed talk with the provider. I am not a pleasant person when my daughters' health and welfare are concerned. We did not go back.
I reported her to the state program that provided her with assistance by delivering food and milk, and filed a complaint with the state for the 'circle of shame.' The food program performed a surprise inspection and found several violations. The assistant let me know that it was a very ugly scene.
The complaint to the state took longer but finished well. Our complaint was upheld based on the circle, and also the forced sharing of the drink. They also cited her for sharing private information. Apparently, she sent some details to other parents that she should not have.
For several months our daughter would randomly say, 'I'm a bully and not a good friend,' even to random people. The saddest part, in my opinion, was that our daughter wanted to go back and visit her friends at the daycare.
The provider did not get her license pulled, but was upset that the upheld complaint would show for her license if a prospective parent did a search. She went through the work to change the name of her daycare, only to realize that the complaint was tied to her license, and she would not hide it by changing the name."
"Last year, my son, who is still a baby, was going to this in-home daycare: a lady watching three kids at her place. She was great. The only issue: she got pregnant and bought a house in another part of town.
Fortunately, her own mother also ran a daycare. Our regular lady arranged for her mother to watch our son during her maternity leave. Then, we would have a choice of finding another daycare or bringing him to her new place. It sounded great.
Like I said, the lady was a good caretaker. Her mother? Not so much. We found her bad from day one - she yelled at the kids, did not listen to our instructions, never got out of the house, let her husband smoke around the kids, etc. But we had no alternative.
She accepted to watch our kid, who was 15 months old at the time, but after two days, she started to complain about him still napping twice a day. It was inconvenient for her, so she forced us to get him to drop his second nap. We had to do that and did it immediately. A week later, my husband went to pick up our son from daycare and she casually informed him that he was not napping well enough. He woke the other baby, the one she actually liked, so he was not allowed to come in the afternoon anymore. My husband was pretty devastated at that point. He came home and we decided to drop him off together the next day.
My husband works full-time, but I only work mornings. It was not that big a deal she would only do mornings, except she did it like a total imbecile. We also just bought an apartment literally weeks before the incident, an apartment which needed to be entirely renovated - a complete gut job. Electricity, plumbing, tearing out walls, changing windows, insulation, building ceilings, changing the flooring. Name it, we had to do it. We were planning on doing a lot of work ourselves, which is how we budgeted our renovation. I would work mornings, then work three to four hours every single day on the place, and my husband would relay me after daycare. The day she broke the news to my husband was the very first day I spent the afternoon working on our place.
We tried not to panic and went drop him off together the following morning. I asked her to explain her decision and why she did not talk to us about the sleep issue (which was her fault anyway) and try to solve it before kicking him out. During that conversation, it appeared that she was not even giving him his lovey that we left there specifically for nap time, or doing anything like he was used to. We were pretty frustrated at that point, but left, defeated. We had no choice after all.
We came back at noon. The fat, old garbage bag did not say a word to us. She pushed our son out the door and handed us all of his things. Let me repeat that: she did not say a word.
'Why are you giving us our things?' I had to ask.
'Because, I don't want him here anymore,' she replied. 'Sign here for the days I covered. OK, bye.'
She never gave us an explanation. We tried to contact the daughter. Apparently, the mother screamed at her in the morning and made her cry because she did not tell her about the lovey. In the evening, my husband tried to go back to her place to reason with her. She refused to discuss it. We never had an explanation. My best guess was that she never wanted to cover for her daughter and didn't particularly like us, so she used the first excuse to kick our son out.
We were never able to find another proper daycare.
We had an interview a week after losing our daycare with another childminder who did not change a baby with a poopy diaper for the entire interview. We came in and smelled poop.
'Oh, it's her,' she said, while pointing at a toddler, and proceeded to talk for OVER AN HOUR and never changed her freaking diaper! Then, at the very end of the conversation she mentioned that she didn't accept vegetarian kids (it was mentioned in our application, which she didn't bother reading) even for a part-time spot (he wouldn't have eaten lunch at her place since her only opening was 2-6 p.m. in the afternoon), because she wanted to feed all the kids meat every single meal, even the afternoon snack. She was horrified at the idea of feeding him a banana instead.
Two months later, we had a trial with another lady in a far part of town. Ironically, she was pretty much the neighbor of our former childminder who, after the business with her mother, didn't want to talk to us anymore because she 'couldn't be in the middle of it'. It was another horror story in itself - she was NOT fit to watch children. The lady did not even have a toilet, a sink, a changing table, a fridge or even a freaking trash can. She would leave her e-cig lying on the floor and left the children alone whenever someone rung the bell. She also made me spend all my mornings sitting on the floor watching my own kid at her place while she did nothing because she 'did not feel confident yet.' After TWO WEEKS of that, I called it quits. You have to understand how desperate we were to find anything at all for us to even consider leaving our son in her care. It was horrible.
After that did not work out for obvious reasons, the authority that centralizes childminders in our city informed us that our son (17 months old at that point) was too old and would be starting preschool soon enough. They were scratching us off the waiting list. Period.
We tried everything. Local Facebook groups, the equivalent of care.com in our country, etc. Daycare centers did not even let us fill out an application because it was way too late. We found nothing.
Eventually, we gave up on daycare. I woke up at 6 a.m. every day to work before my son was up. Then, my husband worked from 8-4 p.m. while I watched our son and tried to work some more during his nap. After that, we went to our place to work on stuff. We had to hire contractors at the last minute to do stuff we had planned on doing ourselves, which led to us losing thousands. At that point, we had been pretty much living in a construction site for six months because we had no time to finish the renovation before moving in, OR after.
We were extremely fortunate that we had flexible hours, worked from home, and neither of us got fired. Unfortunately, I couldn't even quit my job, because my husband and I were the only two employees in our extremely small company (just the boss, an intern, and us), and if one of us left, the company would pretty much collapse, so we'd both be out of a job.
Our son finally started preschool, which starts at 2 p.m. where we live. I can honestly say that I was traumatized. I have anxiety and every day at pickup time, I get sweaty palms, my heart beats faster, and I hope they do not tell us they're kicking him out for whatever reason. Preschool is not like these horrible childminders. They can't kick a kid out because they don't like them, and they do like my son!"