Best Gift for Daycare Staff?
December 15, 2017 11:14 AM   Subscribe

I have a toddler in daycare and I want to get the teachers in her room a holiday gift but I'd like it to be something they actually want. If I just end up getting them a bunch of chocolates that's fine, but if someone has a better option that is also easy and not crazy expensive that'd be great! What are some good choices?

I have a fallback option (just getting like ten Russell Stover samplers) so I'm basically looking for ideas above replacement level. Criterions below:

1) I would like a single gift they can share; I don't know them that well individually and I don't want to get them all giftcards because I don't know what they like.
2) Nothing they have to keep (pictures, keychains, whatever).
3) Nothing where I'm actually giving them a task (e.g. cookie mix they have to prepare and bake).

If I just end up getting them a bunch of chocolate cool, that's fine, this doesn't have to be the perfect gift, but if there's a really good idea I'm missing I'd love to hear it. Thank you!
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl to Shopping (22 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
coffee shop gift cards. those guys get up *early*. and a nice note that recognizes something they did for your kid.
posted by j_curiouser at 11:17 AM on December 15, 2017 [14 favorites]

we're going with walmart gift cards this year (but we live in the middle of nowhere) for our toddler's teachers.
posted by noloveforned at 11:30 AM on December 15, 2017


How many teachers and kids are at the daycare? We just bought pizza for the staff and it seemed well received. I think we ended up getting 6 pizzas. 3 double-sliced cheese pizzas for the kids and then 3 of whatever the staff wanted.

Is there a lead teacher? You could give her a gift card to a local pizza or sandwich place and ask her to buy everyone lunch one day.
posted by MadMadam at 11:33 AM on December 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

ECE workers are grossly underpaid, so I would say cash or as close as you can get to it without being tacky. A gift card to a universally useful store like Target is a good bet.

Wanting to get one gift for all of them to share is what makes it hard. Is there any reason you can't get each of them their own gift card to the same store? Then there's no need to make personalized choices.

If you really want to do something for all of them as a unified gift I would say donate to a children-focused charity in their names.
posted by Severine at 11:33 AM on December 15, 2017 [16 favorites]

Can you bring them bagels & cream cheese or a spread of breakfast-type foods, or something to eat before the kids come in? Maybe let them know ahead of time so they can plan for it, or ask them if they'd like you to buy them breakfast?
posted by hydra77 at 11:34 AM on December 15, 2017 [6 favorites]

I wouldn't underestimate cash as an appropriate gift in this scenario. Daycare workers are chronically underpaid (despite the bananas cost for childcare). It's hard, because like you say in your post, they sorta work for you, but you don't know much about them really. Cash is a way of acknowledging they're service to you, and possibly taking some pressure off of them (which, can be a really, wonderful gift). When our kid was in daycare, cash gift cards were genuinely appreciated.
posted by furnace.heart at 11:52 AM on December 15, 2017 [7 favorites]

Gift cards to Target, Amazon, Walmart. We chose those businesses because they had a wide variety of goods. We didn't give one gift for everyone because we did not know if those gifts would be divided fairly.

We did not give network-branded (Amex, Visa, MC, Discover) gift cards because they often have purchase and inactivity fees.
posted by zarq at 12:01 PM on December 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

Thank you for the suggestions; I'm a little hesitant to get gift cards because staff rotates through the room and so it's hard to pinpoint who exactly counts as a teacher for her class, plus there are like seven of them so even $10 or $20 gift cards add up fast. I definitely do see the point about people appreciating it because they're underpaid but it's kind of hard to make a determination as to who actually works in the room and getting a group gift means I don't have to worry that some people who do take care of her but mostly work in other rooms won't get anything.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 12:02 PM on December 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

My wife started as a daycare teacher before moving into management. Christmas tree ornaments can be a good option if you don't want to do gift cards or cash. But gift cards or cash are the best options.
posted by COD at 12:03 PM on December 15, 2017

In our daycare classes get together and give a town gift card (useable at a bunch of local shops). Any classmates you can coordinate with? (We have class parents who manage it)
posted by john_snow at 12:04 PM on December 15, 2017

I teach elementary school, but the best gifts I get are:
- gift cards for Dunkin Donuts (or your local equivalent) or Target/Walmart
- appreciative notes
- breakfast or snacks at work (above suggestions of buying pizza or bagels for the staff are A+, we love that!)
posted by goodbyewaffles at 12:04 PM on December 15, 2017 [3 favorites]

The admin at the daycare asked the teachers, and they said cash. Every year, we took up a collection from all the parents, and got them VISA gift cards for the total. However, VISA takes some of the money, so one year we just gave them cold, hard, cash, in a nice card along with heart-felt notes. I don't think they minded.
posted by pizzazz at 12:04 PM on December 15, 2017 [3 favorites]

Oh now I see your update. Nice coffee and tea? God knows I need a lot of caffeine to manage my kid, I can't imagine a whole class!
posted by john_snow at 12:07 PM on December 15, 2017

I completely get the adding up fast, but it might be worth it to find out exactly who her teachers are and eat the cost anyway. In my part of country this job pays less than fast food. Everyone works that job because they truly think it's worth it, but their paycheck doesn't reflect that others feel the same.

Otherwise I think some good coffee and tea for the break room is a great plan.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 12:34 PM on December 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

I would go to a teacher store (Learning Express, or Amazon even.) and get something nice that the teachers could use to make their jobs easier - maybe a stamp set of the alphabet (Upper Case or Lower Case) or something along those lines? When I taught elementary school, I loved getting rubber stamps as gifts - they were appropriate gifts from students to teachers, they last forever, they're useful, and they're fun.
posted by NoraCharles at 12:40 PM on December 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

Every year I buy a magazine subscription, something nice and trashy, that they can read during lunch breaks. They've all mentioned how much they enjoy it and wonder what they'll do when my kids no longer go there!
posted by Jubey at 12:44 PM on December 15, 2017 [7 favorites]

I'm a little hesitant to get gift cards because staff rotates through the room and so it's hard to pinpoint who exactly counts as a teacher for her class
This was my experience our first year in daycare and I just emailed the director and asked her who is typically in my kiddo's room for gift-giving purposes. She gave me the impression this happens a lot.

Fruit baskets are a nice alternative to candy/sweets.
posted by Burn.Don't.Freeze at 12:46 PM on December 15, 2017 [4 favorites]

Thanks everyone, I appreciate the feedback; I really hear the "daycare workers aren't well compensated" so we'll get a list of teachers for the kraken's class and give them each $20. I have a strong WASP hesitancy to give money but it sounds like it's the best thing to do. Thank you all so much for your suggestions!
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 1:32 PM on December 15, 2017

I had Subway delivered for all of them.

That magazine idea is awesome. I love that.
posted by Ftsqg at 2:08 PM on December 15, 2017

We used to give $10 gift cards for the coffee shop that was down the street from the center. I figured caffeine and baked goods is a good bet. And cards made (scribbled on) by my son.
posted by soren_lorensen at 4:57 PM on December 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

We always give Amazon gift cards. Three or four times a year I will bring in a pie or muffins and a traveler of coffee from Starbucks. When I bring snacks it's always on random days not tied to a holiday, because other people bring food at holidays but not during the rest of the year, and because I know I love unexpected snacks at the office.

I find it really strange that there is not a main teacher and assistant assigned to your kiddos' room. I can understand other assistants flexing in and out of the room on an as needed basis due to attendance levels or employee illness, but otherwise as a parent I would expect consistency for my kiddo. At our daycare all of the staff flex in and out of rooms; we do holiday and end of school year gifts for the main teacher and the main assistant, but not the rest of the staff; they will get gifts the following year when kiddo has moved up into their room.
posted by vignettist at 9:14 PM on December 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

I just did this for 8 early childhood teachers. We gave each of them a 25 dollar gift certificate to a local restaurant/ coffee shop, and a card thanking them for the care and skill that their job requires. They all have ECE degrees and make 11 bucks an hour. The $200 was hard for us, but a nice meal out is out often of their range, and it was appreciated. If I won the lottery, I’d pay off their student loans if I could. It’s awesome that you are doing this.
posted by chuke at 2:29 AM on December 18, 2017

« Older PC and non-stigmatizing terminology vs. Google...   |   How to prevent light-triggered migraines while... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.