Let me warn you. Regardless of how you feel about returning to work the first day you leave your baby will be one of the hardest things you’ll have to do in your life.
Sorry to break it to you, but it’s the truth.
But I have some good news, too.
There are many ways that you can stay connected with your child so that you know what’s going on throughout their day. If your daycare provider doesn’t provide one of the following suggestions share this information with them and see if they will.
You... don't know unless you ask, right?
If your daycare isn’t using one of following systems most likely they are using a single paper system. What this means is when you pick up your baby they hand you a sheet of paper they used that day to keep track of when your child ate, slept, the kinds of diaper changes they had, and perhaps a note about the activities they did throughout the day.
It feels good to get that piece of paper with a glimpse of their day, but wouldn’t it be nice if you got more information? A more well-rounded description of what went on and how your child felt about it?
If this sounds appealing here are 5 things you could propose to your daycare to enhance the communication, spare some trees, and end the tireless job of tracking paperwork.
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Tadpoles is daycare management software used by daycare providers to run their school and manage their teachers. What parents would like about this software is that a teacher can send email or text to them about. They understand that not everyone has a Smartphone (to install an app) so they predominantly use email to communicate.
No need to call into daycare if your child is sick, through this software you can let daycare know when your child is sick or when you’re taking vacation. This is... great because sometimes we forget to mention vacations, and maybe the director isn’t around so you tell the teacher, then you’re depending on the teacher to tell the director. The software makes attendance maintenance easier.
The software can record meals, activities, and naps and send reports to parents. Videos and pictures can be sent which would bring a smile to any parents face.
When I asked Tadpoles what parents would like about their software, Kelly Bouthillette said,
Our product makes life easier for the parents, teacher, provider and licenser agent. Parents want to feel connected and with our product they have the ability to see, feel and touch what’s going on during the day. Our software offers a safer way for teacher to communicate with the parents.
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Baby connect (by Seacloud Software) is available for purchase ($4.99) can be installed on any type of mobile device such as an iPhone, Android, Kindle Fire, iPad or Windows phone.
It allows multiple authorized users access which is fantastic for working parents to use with their daycare providers, nanny, or grandparents. It also allows multiple children.
You can enter in feeding/nursing/pumping times, naps, diaper changes, even their mood, what they are doing and attach pictures, and access all... the above in real-time. Don’t have your mobile device handy? No worries, they offer online access through their web portal.
When I asked what parents love about their app Xavier Launay, the founder of Baby Connect said, ,
"Parents who are using the app with a daycare love that they can get information in real-time about what's happening with their baby when the baby is at the daycare. It makes them feel more connected. They love the photo updates, they like that they can communicate easily with the daycare provider via the application. At pickup time, since they already know what happened during the day, they can have a much more meaningful conversation with the childcare staff about the child's day and needs."
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The Smart Changing Pad (by Hatch Baby) is what it sounds like. It’s a smart changing pad where when you lay down your infant it can measure its weight, length, time of diaper changes, feedings, and nap times.
This product is ideal for if you’ve hired a nanny or have the grandparents watching your child. I’m unsure if a home daycare or daycare center would allow you to bring in this nine pound device but you could ask your home daycare or daycare center to invest in one. There’s an app that... goes with it with the ability for many users to access the information.
When asked what parents would love about their product, Irene from Hatch Baby said,
Our product is created for at home use. Having the device and app combination at home while your baby is being cared for by other caregivers (e.g. nanny, grandparents, partner) helps you stay connected to your child while you're away at work or running errands. It also helps make the transition between caregivers easier for since everyone will know when the baby last ate, slept, etc.
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Use Total Baby app
Total Baby, (by ANDESigned) is available for purchase ($4.99) in the iPhone app store only. It can manage multiple children, back-up to the cloud, and numerous family members and caregivers can access.
You can start using it before daycare to help get a feel for your child’s schedule. Jot down questions for your doctor and then have space to answer them within the app. It has five customizable timers which is great to know how long ago the baby ate or had a dirty diaper.Continue to 5 of 5 below.
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If you and your daycare provider want to stick to a paper system (nothing wrong with that) check out the Feed Me Change Me Love Me journal, a baby tracker journal to help manage the paperwork.
People who prefer to carry a planner/calendar may like a planner style baby tracker journal. There is something about making lists by hand, writing things down, and checking items off one by one that increases one's' sense of accomplishment each day but also preserves our sanity.
Moms who don't... want to be tied to their smart phone or computer requiring internet access or worry about memory/data storage may prefer the journal that fits nicely inside the diaper bag. In-home day care providers or grandparents may not want to download an app when caring for multiple kids. Moms who use the tracker for baby #1 can enjoy the ability to flip through the weeks to reference information for baby #2. With milestones and daily notes, the tracker is a great tangible keepsake especially for moms who felt the first year was a sleepless blur. With the twin version, parents of multiples can track each individual child, but information is laid out so they are side by side for comparison.
When I asked Phuong Mokay, the owner of Feed Me Change Me Love Me, what parents would love about the product she said,
The planner helps keep parents organized with respect to everything related to their baby. Instead of getting daily slips of paper about your baby's day, all the information and more is recorded in one place. It helps provide continuity of care and a great communication log between you and your provider.
Knowledge is power
You feel complete when you know that your child is being cared for. It makes you feel even better when your child's activities are recorded with good intent. These suggestions will make recording your child's day easier for your provider and thus make you a better customer of theirs. Knowledge is power for both you and your provider and communication is the key to a successful relationship. Enhance yours with one of these suggestions!