While a gift usually isn't required or expected, you may want to give a token of appreciation to your day care provider during the holiday season. If you’re a new working mom or struggling to come up with something different, here are 12 gift ideas that any day care provider would love to receive.
A Gift Card
Yes, this can seem a bit generic, but this gift is great if you just started with your day care provider and you’re still getting to know them. If you don’t want to give them a Starbucks card or a Visa card think of a place they could go to and get spoiled like a spa, massage salon, or a game store.
A Personalized Door Mat
If you go to a home day care they get a lot of foot traffic coming in and out of their home. You could order them a personalized doormat with their initials or name. If it’s too late in the holiday season to order this check out a home store and get a doormat that suits their personality.
A Christmas Ornament
If your day care provider celebrates Christmas, get them an ornament by Lenox or a personalized one you could pick up at a mall store. When they put it up on their tree after your kid is in elementary school, they’ll think back to fond memories of your child.
Good Hand Cream
If your provider watches many children, and if they are an awesome child care provider, their hands are very dry from washing them constantly. Nothing spells relief than some really good, and perhaps expensive, hand cream. Be sure it’s easily accessible so they can easily squirt a bit on and get back to work. Having to unscrew a jar or use a fancy pump that doesn’t put out enough may deter them from using it. Also, check as to whether your provider has any fragrance preference or must only use unscented products.
Homemade Cookies or Chocolates
If a big present is out of your budget and you have many people who help watch your child (like a day care center) dropping off a canister of cookies for all to share is a great gift. Make a dozen of cookies and give them with a card your child made. Tell them how much their help means to you and that you wish they have a wonderful holiday season. Be sure to check whether or not the staff is allowed to accept homemade food gifts, as some facilities have restrictions. If that is the case, go with a commercially prepared treat.
Buy Them Breakfast or Lunch
If you do breakfast you could bring in a loaf of banana bread, bagels and cream cheese, a fruit bowl, or homemade muffins. Drop them off when you drop your child off with a card thanking the teachers for all their hard work.
If you do lunch a day before the holidays let them know that lunch will be delivered. This can be for all of the teachers and even the director. This is a nice gift to help ease a work day right before the holidays. As with treats, check whether homemade food is acceptable or not.
Give a Holiday Bonus
If it’s within your budget, give your provider a holiday bonus. If you go to a home day care you could include this in your weekly payment right before the holidays. If you go to a day care center, you could give each teacher a holiday card and include a cash gift.
Give a Group Gift
You can organize a group gift from a few of the other parents in your day care. Send an email or ask around during drop off or pick up if anyone wants to go in on a gift. The amount doesn’t matter, it’s the thought that counts. People can contribute however much they can. Once you’ve collected the money you can purchase a Target gift card for that value.
Offer Your Services
Is there something you do really well that your day care provider could use? Think about the conversations you've had with your provider and if there's some service you could offer as a gift. Perhaps if your day care provider has a child you could offer to babysit them so she or he could have a date night with their spouse. If you're good at marketing perhaps you could help her market her business.
Buy a New Toy or Book for the Class
This gift would be for both your provider and all of the children. Consider buying a new toy your provider would enjoy playing with the kids or a storybook they'd love to read to the kids. Toys and books become worn quickly. Adding something new would excite the kids and your provider.
Give a Basket of Teacher Supplies
You could hit your local dollar store and fill a basket with school supplies that your provider uses often. This is a great way for you to do the shopping for them. Maybe they could use some new cups, wipes, pacifiers (for when one gets lost), or paper and pens. You could pick up a great container while you're there and fill it up with teacher-like goodies.
Write a Heartfelt Thank You Card
A little appreciation can go a long way. Tell your day care providers how much they mean to you and your family. Share a favorite memory you’ll remember always about your child and the provider. Express how thankful you are that they are in your lives and that you hope they have a beautiful holiday season.
No matter what you give your daycare provider it’s the thought that counts. Most teachers don’t expect anything so if giving a gift is out of your means you won’t be judged for it. This time of year is about showing love so however you can do that, do just that.