Provider Appreciation Day is May 9

Provider Appreciation Day is a special day to recognize child care providers, teachers and other educators of young children everywhere. Started in 1996 by a group of volunteers in New Jersey, Provider Appreciation Day is appropriately celebrated each year on the Friday before Mother’s Day. The founding organizers saw the need to recognize the tireless efforts of providers who care for children of working parents. Now it’s your turn to show your providers how much YOU appreciate them. Remember, they are your child’s second parents and often spend more time with your children then you do, especially during the week. Iowa leads the nation in having both parents in the workforce, so our need for quality child care providers out numbers the rest of the nation. I remember when I was a home provider and a director of a child care center, it meant so much to me to have my parents recognize in some way they appreciated all I did for them and their children. It didn’t have to be a big gift at all, even a thank you card with appreciative words meant so much. So, if you have a good provider, try to let them know often how much you truly do appreciate all they do for your children. You don’t have to spend big bucks, just letting them know in anyway means so much! Here are a few ideas on what you can do to show your appreciation:

It’s up to you as to if you want to help out with supplies or more personal gifts but here goes:

– An electric pencil sharpener, waterproof markers, dry-erase board and markers, etc.

– Black, blue, red and green fine-point pens

– A bottle of Advil

– Post it notes (all sizes and colors), glue sticks, crayons, etc.

– Push pins

– Small desk clock

– blue painter’s tape (odd, but this tape is great for putting stuff up on the wall without removing paint, and

it doesn’t leave glue marks)

– Scratch n sniff stickers (kids love them)

– a box of mints, cookies, a candy jar with goodies, granola bars, etc.

– Antibacterial gel

– Thank you cards

– A gift card for a coffee at their favorite place

– Little gift baskets with lotion, kleenex, small cologne, etc.

– A nice thank-you card with a special message on how much you appreciate them.

– Stationary cute tablets for writing notes home, etc.

– A new stapler

– Disinfecting wipes

– A pretty color of nail polish

– Insulated beverage containers with lids or a coffee mug

And if you want to spend a little more:

– Gift cards to their favorite store, or book store

– Gift cards to a local movie theater or restaurant

– A nice box of chocolates or a fruit basket

– If you are crafty, make them something special and have your child help

– Photo albums

– Disposable cameras

– Subscription to their favorite magazines.

– A basket of their favorite candy bars

– Bibs, washcloths, small blankets for an infant room

– Puzzles, matching games, legos, etc. for older children

Or have them put a list together of what they are in need of and go from there…..

But whatever you decide, it will be appreciated; they just need to know that all their hard work has not gone unnoticed, especially when they have one of the most important jobs in the world, helping raise your precious little ones.

Sue Junge is an Early Childhood Support Specialist for the Iowa River Valley Early Childhood Area and is a Thursday columnist for the Times-Republican. The views expressed in this column are personal views of the writer and don’t necessarily reflect the views of the T-R. For more information, please visit