The 5 Most Inappropriate Kinds of Childcare

Do you force child care in situations when it may not be appropriate?


Child care comes in many shapes and sizes, but the boundaries are not endless.

Child Care is Not:

1. Bringing Your Child To Work

Unless it is "bring your child to work" day, your office is not a daycare center or an after school program. When a child or teenager is sitting at mom's desk on the iPad or walking around the hallways it disrupts the office. A visit is welcome; an entire day is breaking the child care code.

If your child has off from school and you do not want to pay for a sitter, try a babysitter swap with a neighbor or friend who is home. If you cannot find anyone to watch your child, take the day off. If taking off is not an option, your coworkers will understand. Don't make it a habit. If you can avoid having your child messing around in the photocopy room, please do so.

2. Bringing Uninvited Siblings To Birthday Parties

You break the child care code when you use birthday parties as child care for an unvited guest. When people plan parties, they rely on a specific numbers for goodie bags, adult supervision and amount of food and drink. There also may be activities offered that are not age approrpriate for the sibling. Adding another child without advanced warning can result in an awkward situation or bad feelings. If you have no one to watch the sibling, be honest and upfront. In advance ask the host if you can bring along your other child.

Offer to pay for extra costs the host may incur by adding another child. 

3. Bringing Children To Your Therapy Sessions

Many parents bring children into doctor's appointments. This may not be an issue if it is a quick visit. Therapy sessions are different. It is your personal time to share your feelings and it lasts 45 minutes.

Bringing your child into session with you not only breaks the child care code, but it inhibts the therapuetic process. You may be comfortable saying things in front of your young child, but a therapist may disagree and feel it is inappropriate to have a child in the room. Plan in advance. Of course if your babysitter or child care provider cancels last minute, call your therapist and to reschedule your session.

4. Bringing A Child Into Their Siblings Therapy Session 

From time to time we all need a break from parenting. Many parents enjoy the quiet time of sitting in a waiting room while their child is seeing a psychotherapist, physical therapist, occupational therapy, etc. If you have to bring a sibling along, you lose your parenting break. It breaks the child care code to send the sibling into a therapy session that is not meant for them. Sometimes kids think it will be fun to have their sister come into their therapy session, but this rarely goes well. The client may act territorial or get upset.

It also undermines the purpose of treatment and signals to the therapist that the parent may not understand or value the work. 

5. Using Television or Mobile Devices As Child Care

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no television for children under 2, but this is unrealistic for many busy parents. Television watching as a family or watching while engaging your child could be beneficial, but using television or ipads/iphones as electronic babysitters breaks the child care code. Parents are taking advantage of this cheap and convenient babysitter, but studies show that increased screen time decreases a child's emotional development, language, social skills and ability to self regulate. Steve Jobs didn't even let his kids use Ipads. Moderation is key with screen time. Encourage your kids to go outside, enjoy nature or play a board game. Human interaction is an essential part of child development.

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