How to break down day care holiday tips
December 16, 2011 5:38 PM   Subscribe

With our daughter having been in a couple of classes at her day care this year, and there being several floating carers who also take care of her, we're not sure how best to tip. Do we need to gift everyone the same or can we weight some teachers if they've spent more time with our daughter?

Last year we gifted the carers at our day care in cash. We decided on cash over gift cards since it's more flexible and the carers really appreciated it. But there were only really three teachers to tip.

This year we'd like to do the same but our daughter is now in her third class there. I'm of the mind to tip the two main teachers in her current class and one teacher in her previous class (the other has since left) $X each and then four or so floaters and the newer teacher in her old class half of that.

Is that reasonable or should we give them all the same? We feel it might be awkward if they open them in front of one another--as though we were scoring them--or are we over thinking this. (CO, USA.)
posted by NailsTheCat to Work & Money (7 answers total)
I would think that if you really want to give them money, equal is probably better, you can always show your appreciation to the Mai teachers by writing a meaningful card as well
posted by Trinergy at 5:56 PM on December 16, 2011

We had this situation the first year of day care, and really screwed it up. We were thinking the same as your original idea, but 1) Our school has a policy against unequal gifts and 2) There's a lot of contributions by the "floaters" that you might not even see, like covering for breaks, lunch, appointments, etc. 3) The teachers all talk. It's not strictly "fair," but we give equal amounts to everyone who was regularly scheduled in any of his classrooms during the calendar year. Definitely do the personal note, those seem most appreciated anyway.
posted by wnissen at 6:59 PM on December 16, 2011

When we were in the same position, we did a group gift and personal cards. We had a local breakfast place cater with coffee, pastries, breakfast foods. You could also sponsor a lunch, cater with pizza or something that suits in the new year. Teachers love to eat and might be thrilled at a delicious lunch. Maybe include the plan in the personal card? Talk to the director? Cash is often hard, and some work places with children don't allow for it (from personal experience).
posted by mamabear at 8:57 PM on December 16, 2011

It is a gift, so it is totally up to you what you give each person. Do it however you want!

I have two kids in daycare. The first year, with just one child who was a tiny baby, I tipped his carer more than the other teachers, since he was with her the vast majority of the time. Now I have two children there in different rooms, I tip everyone equally, because there is really no sane way to do it other than that. Also I can't tell how much time they spend with each teacher since I'm not there.

I tip cash too, because that buys anything, including paying off bills if needed.
posted by Joh at 9:15 PM on December 16, 2011

Can you nail down a day when they're all at work and provide breakfast or lunch that day? Like a tray of bagels and spreads & coffee or something? Maybe for, say, Jan 2? They are possibly overwhelmed with gift-y things now but a post-new years breakfast would probably go over like gangbusters. Consult with them so they know it's coming. You will be a hero.
posted by troika at 11:00 PM on December 16, 2011

Many thanks for all the advice. I'm glad I asked. My wife thought we should tip the same but I preferred to weight tips of the main carers. So that's 1 - 0 to her :). And it makes a lot of sense upon reflection.

Thanks also for the other gift suggestions, it's appreciated but I think we'll likely stick with cash. There wasn't a problem with it last year and just so they can use it for whatever they want. We're giving enough for, say, dinner for two each so while the lunch / breakfast ideas are great they can always spend a meal with a loved one instead.
posted by NailsTheCat at 12:47 PM on December 17, 2011

Oh. And absolutely--we always do personal cards. Thanks.
posted by NailsTheCat at 12:48 PM on December 17, 2011

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