Daycare Dilemmas

When a Teacher Leaves

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

Q. I love my son's daycare center, but it seems like the staff is always coming and going. Just last week, we found out his favorite teacher is leaving to take a new job. How can I help him adjust to this big change?

A. If it's any consolation, you're not the only family dealing with this issue. "Staff turnover is a challenge that childcare programs face nationwide," says Kim Means, associate executive director of the National Association for the Education of Young Children, in Washington, D.C. "Early-childhood teachers make so little money that they frequently have to leave to take a higher-paying job."

That's certainly understandable -- but it makes things tough for kids who bond with their caregivers. So don't be surprised if your child reacts to his teacher's departure by crying, acting out, or becoming clingy at home. "A good daycare center will work with kids to ease the transition, and you should do the same at home," says Linda Smith, NACCRRA executive director.

Tell your son you understand why he's sad. Help him make a going-away gift for the teacher, like a card or a drawing. Take a photo of the two of them, and put it in a scrapbook for him to keep. And, above all, reassure your child that his new teacher will be just as wonderful -- and that his daily routine won't change at all.

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