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Parent Livid After Daughter’s Daycare Teacher Insists She Clean Up Her Toys Before Leaving Early

Little girl playing with toys at daycare
FatCamera/Getty Images

We can all appreciate a good, teachable moment, so we can learn something new and potentially grow ourselves in some new direction.

But when it comes to teaching children, there are limits, and sometimes, the situation needs to come before teaching the child, agreed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

Running late one day, Redditor daycaremomissue did not have time to wait around for their daughter to pick up her toys at daycare before leaving for the day.

But when their daughter’s daycare teacher accused them of undermining their authority, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if they were wrong to say no to waiting around that day.

They asked the sub:

“AITA for telling my child’s daycare teacher that my child won’t finish cleaning up?”

The OP had worked out a system with their daughter’s daycare teacher for pickup time. 

“My two-year-old daughter has been in a home (independent) daycare for a few months now. The teacher, Sasha, is very nice.”

“I am normally all for my daughter cleaning her own messes. However, I find when I arrive, Sasha expects my daughter to finish cleaning up whatever she was playing with. Which again would be fine, but it delays us getting out the door and heading home, sometimes we have plans, etc.”

“I started texting Sasha when I was so many minutes away, asking her to get my daughter ready and that seemed to work. My daughter would be in her jacket and reading a book, easy to put away rather than a huge Duplo project, or similar.”

On a particularly rushed day, that didn’t work out.

“Until today. Things were crazy and I was in a rush. We had a lot to do this afternoon and I was running behind because I had car trouble.”

“When I arrived, my daughter and some friends were in the middle of cleaning up a big mess.”

“I told my daughter that we had to go and get her coat.”

“Sasha said she needed to finish cleaning up her part.”

“I said any other day, sure, but I am running late and we cannot miss this appointment.”

“Sasha tried arguing that the kids need to learn responsibility and I flat-out said no.”

“I grabbed my daughter, put her coat on, and left.”

An argument ensued.

“As I said, I had a hectic afternoon, so I only just now had time to check my texts. I had one from Sasha, saying poor planning on my part doesn’t mean I can break rules.”

“I pointed out this is not in the contract and I can bring my child home whenever I need want.”

“She accused me of undermining her authority. I was given ‘a verbal warning,’ which I found ridiculous.”


Fellow Redditors weighed in:

  • NTA: Not the A**hole
  • YTA: You’re the A**hole
  • ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
  • NAH: No A**holes Here

Some understood that the OP was rushed that day and needed to go.

“OP clearly stated to the provider that this particular day she was running late (and probably was frazzled because of the car trouble and pressure to get to the appt, hence the lack of text).”

“OP was clear that any other day, she would be supportive of her daughter cleaning up.”

“Give this mom a little grace, please! We have all been there in some way or another (in a rush so couldn’t do a favor, hold the door, stop and chat, etc) when we would be happy to do so at another time.”

“NTA. Some of these AITA posts reek of entitled parents. This one does not.” – Wearealreadyhere

“NTA. OP forgot to text because she had a hectic day, including car trouble. It happens. The daycare owner’s rules are good, BUT there has to be some flexibility for extenuating circumstances, like an appointment you really can’t miss.”

“If a parent respects the daycare’s rules 99% of the time, the daycare needs to accommodate the parent’s extenuating circumstances the other 1% of the time.”

“OP isn’t doing this every time she picks her child up. She usually remembers to call, and in the past, waited for her child to clean up. That’s an important piece to this situation.” – duckingridiculous

“It could have been avoided if the teacher was understanding of a time when OP was in a hurry. S**t happens, and if it’s a rare occurrence, it’s not going to teach the kid never to clean up. NTA.” – Rook_to_Queen-1

“NTA. It sounds like she is the one overstepping and undermining YOUR authority as the parent.”

“It’s all well and good that she’s trying to teach the kids responsibility, but once a parent shows up to take the kid home, their authority supersedes the daycare’s.”

“Also, not picking up toys ONE time as a two-year-old will not turn you into a permanent slob or brat…” – LionsTigersBears0HMYY

Others thought the OP was inconsiderate of the teacher’s system and the daycare.

“OP, YTA for intentionally phrasing your original post to make all of this vague. And YTA for what you did at daycare.”

“In my area, the demand for good child care is so high, you would have already been dropped from the program.” – BreRaw

“Reading between the lines (because we have to, because OP is being intentionally vague), this has been an ongoing source of tension.”

“Add OP’s rudeness, and I totally understand why Sasha is putting her foot down: because thus far, it’s not been a rare occurrence, just the worst occurrence.”

“Nobody said it was taking 20 minutes every day. Just that the kid had to pick up whatever she was playing with. The kids were already cleaning up the mess, which is reasonable timing if most of the kids have an hour before they leave.”

“OP had started texting Sasha to warn her to get the kid ready, implying that the arrival time changes daily. When Sasha has warned, the kid is dressed and ready to go, with no problem.”

“On this particular day, OP gave Sasha no warning and no idea of either the car trouble or the appointment, yet expected the kid to be ready to fly out the door.”

“OP, YTA. This could all have been avoided with a text.” – carinavet

“Based on the fact that OP clearly stated she kept popping in and wanting her kid to be ready sooner (indicating she often arrives before cleanup is finished and the time is over), and she adapted to this by normally texting when she’s on her way, it is not unreasonable to follow the rules to participate in the cleanup.”

“This could have been avoided by texting the teacher as normal, and it sounds like she argued with the teacher.”

“The entire drama is basically she had a rough day and failed to communicate and then got mad when the teacher didn’t view her lack of planning and communication as grounds not to follow the rules.”

“OP, YTA, find another day learning facility that is flexible to meet your wandering pickup times and has clearer rules for you.” – Just_A_Sad_Unicorn

“My kid’s school daycare has two steps in the afternoon. From 4:00 PM, they start cleaning up the toys and have ‘easy cleanup stuff’ in certain rooms, and then at 5:00 PM, those rooms are ‘closed,’ and all kids are concentrated into one room where they have ‘easy cleanup toys’ only until closing.”

“My hubby and I always tell our kids to ‘clean up while we pack your stuff.’ Then, if needed, we put on socks, shoes, and coats, then we leave. It’s not hard to have a smooth leaving, even on rush days, when the educators use the heads about what toys are appropriate at the end of the day. NTA.” – Environmental_Art591

Some thought everyone could have done better and the situation could have been avoided.

“NTA. I completely agree with the daycare teacher’s sentiment, BUT it is your kid, and you can leave whenever you d**n well want. Just need to be kind and respectful about it.”

“Daycare pick-up should not take 20 minutes. Working parents need to get home, run errands, make dinner, do extracurriculars, and then have quality time left with their children. That 20 minutes of waiting around at daycare really cuts into a person’s tight schedule.”

“Perhaps the teacher should not allow messy or busy activities after 4:30 pm and instead encourage reading, or larger, simpler toys, or things that are easy to put away in a hurry.” – wirylime

“I’m also confused why the teacher doesn’t have them start cleaning up earlier if she knows what time the parents are coming each day. The goal should be to have the cleanup done by that time, not just starting.” – SailorNeptune4

“As it stands, ESH, everyone should’ve been more flexible. The teacher as this was an emergency, and you say you stay to clean up on other days, so you aren’t skipping clean up just because.”

“You because there is no need to snap at the teacher who is just doing her job, I understand the need to be gone, but it’s not your fault or hers you were late.” – msslgomez

“I say ESH. I used to be a childcare worker for three-ish years and longer if you count my years of teenage babysitting, and yeah, parents are a**holes a lot of the time, but I still would never be this pushy about it.”

“If things had been consistently good for several or more weeks in a row, I’d be appreciative of the fact that the parent made this change and is clearly trying, and today is an exception to that. I’d have an in-person conversation also because texting is never a good medium when someone is upset.” – why-per

While the subReddit could understand that everyone has bad and rushed days, they were divided on how the parent and teacher handled the situation.

Some thought the parent and daughter should have been let off for one day since they had an appointment, while others thought that both sides could have compromised more and found a temporary decision that worked for everyone.

But some were concerned about the OP’s attitude and argued that if three minutes of cleaning up toys could derail their day that much, there likely was an element of poor planning or poor time management happening here.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan has been a part of the George Takei family since 2019 when she wrote some of her favorite early pieces: Sesame Street introducing its first character who lived in foster care and Bruce Willis delivering a not-so-Die-Hard opening pitch at a Phillies game. She's gone on to write nearly 3,000 viral and trending stories for George Takei, Comic Sands, Percolately, and ÜberFacts. With an unstoppable love for the written word, she's also an avid reader, poet, and indie novelist.