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The Etiquette of Gift Giving for Daycare Providers

Molly, one of our readers has posed the following question:

Being a relatively new mom, I'm unsure as to the etiquette of gift-giving for daycare providers.  I've purchased one of my favorite cookbooks for Willa's caretaker, but I'm beginning to feel like I'd like to do a bit more for her (it's an in-home daycare with four kids).  She's wonderful with the kids, works really long hours, and (not that this is my concern, but) I feel like she doesn't get paid nearly enough for what she does.  Anyway, what do other mothers think about giving a cash gift as well--kind of like a (mini) Christmas bonus?  We're certainly not rolling in it or anything, but I do feel like if I"m going to spend money anywhere, it should be toward the well-being and happiness of my child's caretaker.  Is this gauche?  And if I might close with a question that is surely gauche, how much seems appropriate?

Comments

Molly:

How timely! As I was driving home from work the other day, they had a brief peice on NPR regarding "tipping" this holiday season. You can listen to it here: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5051520

For daycare providers, they suggested giving an amount close to a week's worth of childcare. Granted, you should give as much as you can possibly afford or feel comfortable. I'm not an expert on this by any means, but we are planning on giving our in-home daycare provider a big gift basket full of goodies for her family. We have also given her a personal gift in the past like lotion and girlie stuff from Bath and Body Works...some a bit indulgent for herself on top of a gift basket. And, she oftentimes request a few days off around this time of the year and we try to oblige.

Ha! Today's Oregonion Living section has an article on tipping. Headline: "service providers prefer their gifts in cash." For babysitters, they suggest an amount equal to a day's pay plus a small gift.

Thanks for posting this, I was just wondering the same thing. A weeks worth seems like an awful lot of money to me, but I would like to do something. I was just wondering what other mama's out there do, as this is my first year with a provider. Thanks for providing the link!

I was a nannny for 7 years and I certainly appreciated being remembered around the holidays. I worked for 4 different families and each one was different.
One family gave me $200 and a pashmina shawl
another family gave me a pair of earrings. Obviously, it depends on your circumstances and the kind of relationahip you have with your care provider.

A gift that I would suggest would be a gift certificate for a spa service - facial, massage, pedicure... It is personal and affordable, and says to the care provider that you know s/he works hard.
In addition - the holidays aren't the only time to appreciate her or him.
One family would occasionally buy me a pound of coffee or my favorite box of tea. Just a way of reminding me that they appreciated me. It always made me feel good.

This is a huge help. I love my daycare lady, I am a single mom and truly she has helped me be successful in my career when I have had to be 15-20m. late and has never charged me. She has never made me feel bad or like it is an onconvenience - so I figured on giving her close a little over 3 wks pay.

I think that at LEAST a week's pay if you can afford it. Think about it, we are at work all day while these people care for our most precious possessions. They work longer hours than most people - I know my daycare lady has kids that show up at 6 and some that don't leave until 6:30!!!!! YIKES!!! The heck with the garbage man, I am giving my daycare provider 2 weeks pay!!!

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