When you’ve got kids, there is plenty of stuff to worry about. In addition to a million little tasks you’ve got to handle on a daily basis, your brain has automatically become a worst-case-scenario factory! All parents struggle with this to some degree. And while things generally work out fine, there are still certain things that are worthy of a healthy level of concern.
One of these is pickup and drop-off safety at daycare and school. For some families this isn’t a big concern, but for others, due to divorce, substance abuse, or other unfortunate factors, there are some parties who are not allowed to pick up or drop-off kids. Though isolated events, cases of kidnapping or benign unauthorized pickups do happen, and it’s vital for places entrusted with the care of children to have systems in place to prevent these. Luckily, the industry is adopting updated best practices in this regard all the time. Here’s how you, as a parent, can become a part of them.
Automated Drop Off and Pickup. This is perhaps the most foolproof way that exists yet. Most reputable daycare centers use childcare management software like SkyChildCare to track attendance. The childcare provider is able to create a personalized/authorized PIN for each child. The parent or guardian is then required to enter the PIN, via a tablet or mobile device, upon arrival or at the end of the day. This is a remarkably simple solution which could cut unauthorized pickup down almost 100%. This is no replacement for communication between parents/guardians and daycare staff, but it’s a measure which puts a level of technological authorization in between children and those who might wish to go against the wishes of authorized guardians.
Know Your Daycare Staff. This is a very important step that’s easy to forget. We put our kids in daycare because we’re busy. But you should find time to do a walkthrough of your child’s childcare facilities, getting to know the director, and being recognizable by staff. Even if you just take a minute to say “Hi” and “Thank You” to your daycare staff when you come in during the morning or afternoon, this will make you a known face at their facility. If anything fishy should happen someday, your daycare’s staff will have a personal connection with you. They’ll be able to assert your authority, even in your absence, and they’ll know to contact you if there are any problems. If there is anyone in your life who is specifically not allowed to meet your child at daycare, let the staff know this, and even supply a photo if necessary.
Make Sure Your Child Understands. The “Don’t Talk to Strangers” conversation is a perennially important one, and pickup and drop-off is no exception. Your kids should understand who is allowed to take them to and from daycare. If there are family members who they know, but who are not allowed to do this, the children should understand these family rules. They should know to tell the daycare staff if there is any funny business, and the staff should know to call you.
Most of the time, daycare pickup and drop-off works smoothly. But for people in certain situations, precautions must be taken. Fortunately, daycares are alert to situations like these, and there are automatic services like SkyChildCare which prevent unauthorized pickup. As always, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so these tactics should prevent any mix-ups or problems.