Childcare Conundrums, Solved

Staffing Problems

Where'd the teacher go?

Baby watching TV

Kate Miller

Jessica Ziegler became dissatisfied with her son Holden's daycare after one of the teachers quit, leaving the 2-year-old's room short-staffed. "His teacher was on her own with probably 12 kids every day for several months," Ziegler says. But she was in a bind: her family was in the process of selling their house in Las Vegas and buying another in Colorado. "It was not the best time to be making additional big changes," she says. "If we were staying in Las Vegas, he wouldn't have been returning to the daycare center, but it was only twice a week...so I didn't want to rock the boat."

What the experts say

Even quality facilities will experience the occasional ebb and flow of staff, but a revolving door of caregivers is a big red flag. "If turnover occurs more than once in a child's time there, something is wrong," says Barbara Rigney-Hill, associate professor of family and consumer sciences at California State University, in Northridge.

Of course, even occasional staff turnover can be upsetting. For older children, one way to buffer the loss of a teacher is to make sure your child feels connected to more than one caregiver at the childcare center. "That way, even if a favorite teacher leaves, he'll still feel there are people around who care about him," Zurn says.

Child Care: Tips for Choosing a Good Day Care Center
Child Care: Tips for Choosing a Good Day Care Center

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