What do we do all day anyway?

It’s time I finally sit down and start demystifying the art of what daycare workers do all day. There’s a lot to working in a daycare and, therefore, a lot of daycare confessions come along with it. There’s a lot more to our jobs than meets the eye. Do we love it? Of course. Are we just there for the paycheck? Surprise, surprise, we’re not.

You only get puked on, pooped on, scratched, pulled hair, etc. so many times for minimum to a couple dollars over minimum wage before it isn’t worth it anymore. (Hell, I kept a fully change of clothes in the closet of my classroom after getting barfed and pooped on so many times. The day I went into labor with #2, I wasn’t even wearing the shirt I started the day in because someone didn’t want to keep their bottle’s contents in their tummy any longer.)

So why do we put up with it?

Let’s start off these daycare confessions on a strong note. We put up with it because…

woman holding baby
woman holding baby

We love your kids like our own.

I know, I know. You’ve heard it before. If it’s been said once, it’s been said a thousand times. In all truth, I’m kidding and pretty sure that every daycare parent has heard this at some point. But let’s start off on a high note. I’m serious, we really do love your kids like our own. Whether it’s because they remind us of our own loved ones or because they’ve touched out hearts, they hold a very important part of our hearts and minds. And that doesn’t just last while they’re in our room.

It breaks our hearts for them to leave our room.

The only solace we really get is that we know that means that they’re growing and that is absolutely wonderful. And at least we can still peak in and check on them really easily. I’m mean, they’re just in the next classroom over!

No, we’re not JUST playing with kids all day.

Yes, we do play with kids a lot but it’s so much more than that, watch and you’ll see. We’re teaching them throughout the day (the things they’ll need to know when they reach school). Enlightening them on how to interact with others while helping them learn to navigate with a social world. We’re getting and keeping them on a schedule (sleeping, eating, learning, etc.) that they’ll need to function for the rest of their lives. We’re setting up major milestones in development that they will use forever. Plenty of these lessons are taught through play.

We have favorites.

Right off the bat, we’re told not to pick favorites. But it’s hard! Certain kids just pull at your heartstrings more than others. How can we not bond excessively when the cutest little kiddo comes up to you and just wants a snuggle? The babies that smile at you and prefer to go to you over anyone else, the toddlers that come directly to you when to fall down and need a hug, the little kids who want you specifically to tuck them in for naptime, it gets to you pretty quickly.

adult and infant hand
adult and infant hand

There’s easy kids.

Some kids are just great at playing by themselves. Some just seem to come with a built in understanding of how to get along well with others. This can include babies who actually don’t mind that point in their life where they can’t really do anything for themselves. They just lay there and soak it all in.
You can usually tell if you have one of these kids by the way the staff acts when you drop off and pick up your child. Ever show up early and find your baby’s daycare worker sprawled out on the floor doing tummy time with you baby, cooing with them, and playing with them with toys laying around them or even just wiggling fingers? It’s the real candid moments that show how the staff feel about your child.

There’s difficult parents.

Yes, difficult kids too but that’s pretty much expected. It’s the parents that are difficult most of the time. Yes, they want what they think is best for their child but there’s also laws in place about what we can do in daycares and sometimes those laws differ from what parents want. No, we can’t make an exception for you. If the State inspectors find out we’re breaking these laws, the daycare will be fined and potentially closed. Then what are you going to do?

The Legal Aspect

When it comes to daycare confessions, the legal rules that we must adhere to are a very important part of our jobs. For instance, some states don’t allow swaddling of babies in daycare settings. How often do you think that becomes a problem? Certain foods or food categories aren’t allowed in daycares or to be served to children under a certain age. Daycares can’t just make exceptions to these laws. They’re laws.

There’s also times where daycare employees can’t give as much time to individual children as the parents would like. The ratio is 4 infants to 1 caregiver a lot of the time. That means for a classroom with 3 staff, there could be as many as 12 infants needing diaper changes, bottles, naps, etc. at any given moment.

But how much time does that actually take?

Sure this doesn’t sound like much if you think of these tasks as instantaneous but they’re not. Breast milk bottles have to be warmed. Formula and water need to be measured out. Baby food serving containers have to be measured out, the child placed in their high chair, fed while other children keep trying to “help”, the child cleaned up once they’re done eating (which may include an outfit change if the other kids REALLY wanted to “help” that day), and then the chair has to be cleaned and sanitized.

The Stinky Time Users

Daycare confessions aside, diaper changes, after a while, can be very quick once you get used to them but only if they’re just pee diapers. Poop diapers and (God forbid) blowouts take WAY longer to change and clean up from. There’s also up to 38 steps to changing a diaper that daycare employees have to abide by per State Law. This doesn’t leave much time for sitting and playing with babies for hours a day like parents want/think happens.

Below is a link to the CDC’s Diaper Changing Guidelines for Daycares in case you’re curious:


What do daycare parents miss out on?

What do daycare parents still get to see?

So why do we do it?

For all kinds of reasons. We work in daycares and are peed on, puked on, hit, scratched, bit, and so many more things because we’re probably a little crazy and love kids regardless of what they dish out. So all-in-all, these daycare confessions are just so daycare parents can understand us a little more.

Want to see more of my daycare candid discussions?

Check out the link below for my Ex-Daycare Worker and Mom of 2 Baby Bottle Review:

Baby Bottle Review from an Ex-Daycare Worker and Mom of 2
Baby Bottle Review


Confessions from an Ex-Daycare Worker

2 Responses

  1. Thank you for talking about this. Daycare was so hard for me as a new parent because my son couldn’t let me know what was going on. It sounds like you were one of the great ones. I was fortunate that my son bad a great one, who chose him as one of her favorites too.

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