Working Mom Asks How To Handle Holiday Gifts For Daycare Teachers — 'Is $100 Cash Per Teacher Generous Or Stingy?'

It's a question many parents ask themselves this time of year.

daycare teacher and children Lordn / Shutterstock

When the holiday season comes around each year, we all seem to have one question on our minds — what are we going to buy for those special to us?

While loved ones are often at the top of anyone’s gift-giving list, it’s also important to remember others outside of your inner circle who have made an impact on your life in the past year. For many, that includes teachers.

One San Francisco area mom is doing just that by planning holiday gifts for her child’s daycare teachers. But she’s sparking an interesting debate while doing so.


One working mother wants to know if $100 is enough to give teachers as a holiday gift.

The mother, who took to the “Working Moms” subreddit to ask for opinions, is considering giving each of her son’s teachers $100 in cash for Christmas. She provided background on her situation, saying her son attends an in-home daycare that is run like a preschool which costs $2,000 per month for each child. There is an owner and two teachers to consider gifts for.

Her post boils down to this: “Is $100 cash per teacher considered generous or stingy?”

working mom asks if $100 is a good gift for teachersPhoto: Karolina Grabowska / Pexels


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Answers from the Reddit community were surprising. One commenter stated, “We are planning to do 100-150 per teacher” for three teachers. Another, whose child has two teachers and floaters each, said, “We give $75-100 in a Target gift card to the main teachers, and $50-75 to the floaters.”

A third mother chimed in with her opinion on giving cash in general, adding, “I give cash because my daycare severely undercharges what I think I should be paying. They enjoy the surprise bonus.”

Another user offered a different take on the debate, opting for lower monetary amounts. “Between my three kids we have fourteen teachers, assistant teachers, speciality teachers [and] speech therapists to buy for,” she wrote. “I’m aiming for $25 for lead teachers and $15 for assistant teachers. We spend over $2,600/month on child care.”


The rising cost of child care will make giving gifts to teachers difficult for many.

The idea of giving multiple teachers $100 each in holiday gifts is bound to raise eyebrows for some, especially as the cost of child care continues to skyrocket

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A report by the Women's Bureau found that child care currently costs “between 8 percent and 19.3 percent of the median family income per child, and above what the Department of Health and Human Services considered affordable child care: 7 percent of a family’s income.”


In a time when many parents can barely afford child care, it’s not surprising that some would find the idea of giving $100, or any amount, too much.

Good Housekeeping recently surveyed a group of teachers about holiday gifts from students, and one thing was clear: “Gift cards make the best teacher gifts,” with Amazon, Target, and Visa being the preferred options. But the default amount for an Amazon gift card on Good Housekeeping's list? Only $25.

For those struggling to make do with any gift card at all, there is good news. “They really do believe it’s the thought that counts,” the publication shared, “and notes, handwritten letters, handmade items or home-baked goodies were really valued.”

It seems everyone does have a different opinion on the subject. It really depends on each individual family’s circumstances, too. For some, $100 is right on the mark, while for others it’s overly generous. It certainly seems that no one finds it stingy, however.


The point of the holiday season is showing people you care about them, not putting unwanted financial or emotional stress on yourself and your family. One Reddit user seemed to express this best when they said, “Give whatever you can afford. Teachers are grateful for anything.”

That’s a sentiment we can all benefit from.

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Mary-Faith Martinez is a writer for YourTango who covers entertainment and news.