Advice for a Childcare Director...Please! - FamilyEducation
Advice for a Childcare Director...Please!
03/31/2009 at 09:54 AM

I am wanting some advice from any working parent that has their child in a daycare. I am a director with a question. Let me set this up first. We just had a new family with 3 beautiful girls start coming to our center yesterday. The whole family is very sweet and the children are polite and kind. My problem is that you can tell that the parents smoke alot in their home to the point that their children and the children's things smell STRONGLY of smoke. Every monday, the children bring in a sheet and blanket for nap time. The bedding that this family brought in smelled so badly, that it stunk up the classrooms. Same story with the extra changes of clothes that they brought it for their cubbies. I took the bedding home myself last night and washed it. It took 2 washings to get the smell out. Here is my problem.....I have 2 staff that are getting headaches and one of those is also having some breathing problems. How do I approach the issue with the parents about the odor and what suggestions or help can I offer?? I want to know from a parents perspective....thanks!

If you want to keep them as clients, tell them that one of the staff members is apparently allergic to tobacco residues. Ask them to try adding a cup of ammonia to the wash cycle, and to put the clothes from the drier immediately into a bag that will zip closed. Tell them that you think their children add some good quality to the mix of clients.

I agree. Tell the parents that their child's items are causing health problems for your staff, not to mention what it's probably doing to the other children. As a director of a childcare facility, it's your legal obligation to say something to these parents, especially if it's a hazard to others in the facility. What's worse? Offending and possibly losing one family's business, or getting complaints from many other families whose children attend your center. Let me put it to you this way. If a child is going around biting other children, wldn't you address this issue right away before it gets worse? In a way, the other situation is similar in that it, too, is a health concern. I believe you can handle this issue in a very professional manner, and I'm sure the parents will be understanding. If both the parents are smokers, they probably don't even realize the odor. They're probably so used to the smell, that it doesn't bother them. I don't think it's your place to tell the parents that their smoking habit is harmful to their children's health, but if it's directly affecting people in your facility, it's your duty to say something. It's also your obligation to ask this family to leave if they refuse to comply w/ your request. I doubt, however, that will be the case.