How Do You Properly Thank a Daycare Provider?

I'm still not sure I know the right answer to that, but we certainly tried!  More on that below.  But first, let me explain.

We were referred to Ms. Stephanie five years ago.  I was pregnant with Brantley and Stephanie (and her in-home daycare) came highly recommended by one of my best co-workers, who had sent her son there the previous five(ish) years.  He, however, was headed to kindergarten that fall and we were in need of a spot for Brantley, who would be 3.5 months old, later that October.  We visited the daycare one summer afternoon, asked a few questions, and signed our names on the contract.  Her house was a good 15-minute drive from ours, but the referral was well worth the drive and then some!  In fact, we didn't even look elsewhere. 

A year and a half later, we welcomed Holden into our life.  The timing couldn't have been more perfect, as Stephanie had a couple of kids going to kindergarten that fall, so Holden started with Stephanie in August of 2014, at just a few days shy of four months old.

Later that school year, we moved.  That meant a nice, new house in a fantastic neighborhood, but an even longer drive to daycare.  20 to 25 minutes to be exact...20 minimum without a lot of traffic, 25 or more during the rush hours.  Not a big deal for Craig, whose office is in that direction anyway, but the complete and utter opposite drive from my school.  Still worth it because our kids were comfortable there and honestly, it was easier than trying to find a new place for two kids.

When we knew of Rhett's existence, we looked briefly for a new spot for all three and put our name on a few waiting lists, but nothing panned out.  Stephanie didn't have a spot for him per se, but given it was only a few months (February through May), she made it work.  (She was still within state regulations.)  She may have had to buy a new van with an eighth seat, but she *claims* they were going to do that anyway.

Stephanie was truly the best.  She took the kids out on "field trips" all the time.  Open gym, Deanna Rose, Music with Mar, the library, the zoo, parks, McDonalds, Sonic, Target, Sesame Street Live, and so many more places I'm likely forgetting.  She invited activities into her home - the gym bus and Stretch & Grow to name two.  She hosted "Parent Cafes" on the weekends to gather all the parents together.  She transported Brantley to and from preschool two and three days per week for two full school years.  She even had a special Dollar Tree birthday tradition - the birthday kid got to pick two things; the rest of her crew got to pick one each.

To say our boys loved it there would be a huge understatement.  It was and is literally all they have ever known.  Stephanie was like a second mommy to each of them and loved and raised our three boys as her own.  Our boys made their first friends at Stephanie's (Ellie, Jordan, and William for Brantley, Jace, Jack, and Owen for Holden, Baby Chase for Rhett) and by the time we parted ways with Stefunny's Daycare, our trio were three of Stephanie's seven and a half kids....all boys!  (I say a half because Drew was only part time.)

With both boys headed to preschool next year, we decided to look for some new options closer to our home.  Within a few weeks of actively looking earlier this spring, they were officially signed up for a full-time preschool about five minutes from our house, while Rhett will be headed to a new in-home daycare (or a new "Ms. Stephanie's" as Rhett says...her name is Laura) that is literally a few blocks from their preschool.  Truly like both were meant to be.  But of course, that means leaving our beloved Ms. Stephanie's.

So as I was saying, how do you adequately thank someone who has done so much for you and your family for five years?  Someone who exceeded our wildest daycare dreams and someone who loved and kept our three children safe for five whole years?  With a large chunk of change, of course, but I also wanted to give her something meaningful, something sentimental, and something the boys had a hand in making.  So we put together this bouquet of flowers inside a hand-painted mason jar vase and some personalized DIY coasters.

For the vase, I painted a mason jar with acrylic paint, printed a black and white photo on regular printer paper, and mod podged the photo to the vase. I also painted some mod podge over the photo to preserve it and protect it from any water drips.

I found the coasters on Pinterest a la this pin, but made my own templates instead of using hers.  I had the boys each color on one template (download a blank template here), traced Rhett's hand on one (since he's obviously not old enough to write), designed some stick figures on another with their names underneath each figure, and copied and pasted some poems on the last two (download poem templates here).  The poems may or may not have made me cry. 😉  I printed the templates on printer paper and used mod podge to attach to the coasters, which are 4x4 tiles from Home Depot.  Once again, I added mod podge over the papers, as well, to protect the designs and I also sealed the coasters with Krylon Preserve It spray.  I think they turned out pretty cute!

So if you're looking for the perfect gift for your daycare provider, teacher, or even a DIY gift for Father's Day, steal away!  

And Ms. Stephanie, if when you read this (because I know you will!), please know how very special you are to the five of us.  I wish Rhett could get to know you as the other boys have, but three months with you is better than none!  I know we've already professed our love and admiration for you and your daycare, but once again, thank you from the bottom of my heart for loving our boys, teaching them, protecting them, and raising them as your own. We will make sure the boys never, ever forgot you, your family, or the special time they shared with you!

To download blank coaster template, click here.
To download poem coaster templates, click here.


  1. Oh Sarah! Stephanie sounds like a total dream. What a great place to have sent your kids. I know you must have felt so safe and good about where they were while you were at work! These gifts are precious and I am sure she adored them!

  2. Oh my gosh... you have me in tears over here. I love you Sides... I'm still in denial that you won't be back in the fall... At this point to me mentally you are just on vacation. You guys are doing a great job raising 3 sweet boys. Thank you for sharing them with me and my family! You guys are family to us. Heck Holden's pictured is our screensaver on our iPad! �� The gifts were so beautiful and thoughtful. Gifts I will forever treasure just like the time I was blessed to have you guys in my daycare! Love you guys! Ms. Stephanie ��

  3. Gah! I don't know Miss Stephanie, but she sounds like the best, and I'm totally in tears.

  4. This is perfect!!! I love that you gave her something practical that she can use with such special meaning. I love the personal touch and the fact that she will remember your sweet boys forever. Good daycare providers are truly hard to find and the fact that it was so hard to leave her and you were willing to drive so far for her prove that you really did find one.