Last year for Mother’s Day, we gave our daughter’s sitter Karen a gift certificate and card, thanking her for being a wonderful “other” mom to Cassie while we are at work. We just felt like she deserved some thanks for caring for our daughter and treating her like one of her own.
This week, I learned that there is an official “day” to recognize and honor childcare providers. Who knew? Provider Appreciation Day is celebrated annually on the Friday before Mother’s Day, so this year it’s May 9 (this Friday). According to the day’s organizers–the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies and the National Association for Family Child Care–Provider Appreciation Day “is a special day to recognize child care providers, teachers and other educators of young children everywhere.”
I wholeheartedly agree with the reasoning for why childcare providers need their own day:
Today’s child care professionals are the world’s unsung heroes. This profession is one of the most underpaid occupations in the country; yet research shows that early childhood is the most critical developmental period in a child’s life. It takes a special person to work in this field and the contribution these individuals make to the quality of children’s and families’ lives too frequently goes unnoticed.
Amen! Our family wouldn’t be able to function as successfully as we do without Karen’s help. Jay and I couldn’t work–at least, not in the same capacity we do now–and Cassie wouldn’t be nearly so well-behaved or well-adjusted (Karen is a much better-informed and experienced mom than I am–what can I say?). She helps us in so many ways, and while we do pay her, it’s not nearly as much as she earns by providing quality, loving care to our girl day in and day out.
I hope all you working moms out there will take a little time out of your crazy schedules to recognize the person or people who care for your children while you’re at work. They deserve to be appreciated every day, and I’m sure they’d be grateful for a little recognition.
Need ideas? Here are a few, courtesy of the Provider Appreciation Day website:
- Get together with other parents to create a surprise
- Send flowers, cards or a handwritten note of appreciation
- Bring breakfast or lunch for your provider and for the kids
- Work with your child to create a special remembrance
- Buy something for your provider’s play area
- Give your provider a paid day off, a raise, or a bonus
- Order an official Provider Appreciation Day logo item as a gift
- Key in on your provider’s hobby and buy an appropriate gift
- Check to see if your employer provides scholarships for toys, equipment or training that you can sponsor as a parent
If you end up doing something for your provider, comment on here to tell us about it.