Late Children

A long while ago I used to nanny for a family on the weekends only.  I watched their daughter all day Saturday and half day Sunday for over a year.  When I began, the child was 18 months old and I left when she was nearing 3.  Why I left is a completely different reason not for this post.

She was a child at a center that I had previously worked for but was no longer working there; I had moved to a completely different agency by that point.  Since I was the weekend nanny, I was on the emergency list just in case; although there really should have been no reason to need me.  It’s a good thing that mom had put me on the list at one point because, other than me, mom and dad were the only other two on the list.

The center called one night around 6:15 as I was just getting home, changed into my sweatpants for the night, and was looking forward to completely going zombie like in front of the television after a long, stressful day at work.  The call?  Little Miss was at the center still and there had been NO CONTACT from the parents even with all the efforts of calling work numbers and cell phones several times over.

I told them that I would continue to try calling as well and maybe someone would answer.  Forty-five minutes later I get THE CALL!  The “Jenni it’s been an hour and we still haven’t heard from the parents and if we don’t get someone on their way we will have to call the police” call. 

No matter how much I get frustrated with the parents, I couldn’t do that to the child.  Thankfully I had a car seat in my car because, if I hadn’t, we would have been hanging around a parking lot for quite a while; or I would have gone and bought THE MOST EXPENSIVE car seat I could find and charged them for it.

So, I get to the center, picked her up, thanked the staff profusely (which I know the parents would NOT have done had they picked her up because they would have just complained about the HUGE fine they would be paying) and we headed home.  I treated it like any of our other days.

Get home, make dinner, get in the bath, get lotioned up, comb hair, pajamas, cuddle up and read books until one of us (usually her) fell asleep.

It wasn’t until WELL INTO the bedtime routine that I actually heard from one of them…about 8 at night.  I’m not kidding.  I don’t know that they even realize today how close they came to having their child picked up by the police.  Thank God I was there and available and felt some responsibility for this child.

My point in writing this?  I’m not sure.  Just a perspective of a preschool teacher who was an emergency contact.  Also, to remind you all that no matter what, our number one purpose are the children.  It is very important than in situations of a child being late, we continue to act as if it’s normal and NOT STRESS OUT the child. 

Don’t get them ready, jackets on, waiting at the door, complaining about how late their parents are.  Read books, keep going with that last day activity until that child actually gets picked up.  Don’t keep mentioning, “Oh, I wonder where your mommy is.”  They are wondering, too.  It’s not going to help anything to get them worrying as well.  If you close at 6, you should be acting the same with the child at 630.  It will make it so much easier on everyone.

Remember, it’s not their fault that they are there late.  Is it inconvenient for us?  YES!  Inconsiderate of the parents?  Sometimes.  Helpful to remind the child?  ABSOLUTELY NOT!  Be compassionate with the children.

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