If it takes a village to raise a child, then the time has come to pay your fellow villagers. Teachers, daycare providers, bus drivers—sometimes the list of gifts for those on your child-rearing team is longer than that for your actual family. But these are people important to you and your child, and their work should be recognized. The best gifts for teachers and daycare providers are both practical and thoughtful.
While elementary school teachers often receive gifts (mostly with an apple on it somewhere), a special middle or high school teacher might deserve one, too, especially if he or she has helped out in a special way, like extra tutoring or writing college recommendations. Picking out the perfect gift for a middle or high school teacher can be quite difficult, so pay attention to small details. Sarah Petri, an English teacher at Chesapeake High School, said the best present she ever got was “a book called I Love Everybody and Other Atrocious Lies: True Tales of a Loudmouth Girl. The student thought the narrator’s personality was very similar to mine and gave me the book as a thank you for teaching her.” The worst? “Body lotions without the basket. The student told me her mom really wanted the baskets, so her teachers were just receiving the lotions. It would have been a good gift without the back story!” Looking for something practical? Think “gift cards or books,” says Petri.
Sue Foster, an elementary teacher for special-education students, noted, “The worst gift to receive is anything that has ‘teacher’ written on it; the best gift would be gift cards.” Avoid apple-bedecked anything—after all, the teacher’s entire identity isn’t school-centric. And don’t forget a card or a thank-you note from your child telling his or her teacher why he or she is important.
With daycare providers, a small personal gift will show how much you appreciate their dedication in your child’s life. Brittany Perry, an assistant teacher for The Goddard School, said, “I received gloves from a young boy because he thought my hands were cold, it was a cute gesture … The most practical gift is hand sanitizer, and it really comes in handy.”
Those in your child’s life are just like everyone else — they really enjoy the thought behind the gifts they receive. “It really shows that the kids care,” said Perry. When you’re out doing the annual shopping just remember that, while both the personal and the sensible will always leave the greatest impact, just showing you care is all that really matters.
By Yvonne Lawson
Chesapeake Family serves parents and families in Annapolis, Anne Arundel County, Baltimore, Bowie, Calvert and Prince George’s County and the Eastern Shore of Maryland.