Communicating with Your Child Care Provider
Establishing a Good Relationship
A solid relationship with your provider, built on mutual trust and respect, is key in making your child care arrangement work out well for everyone involved. Keep these tips in mind as you begin to build your relationship:
- Keep the lines of communication open at all times. Let your provider know if there is something going on in your child's life that may be affecting her behavior.
- Be aware of the program policies, and honor them. Respect the drop-off and pick-up times, and call if you are going to be late for any reason.
- Express interest in your provider's professional development. Both the program and your child will benefit from this.
- Get involved with the program. The more you participate, the more dedicated you'll feel, and your provider will always appreciate the help you offer.
Every day you have the opportunity to connect with your child's teachers or provider. This daily check in, even if brief, helps to build trust and pass important information between you and your provider. Here are some ways to foster daily communication:
- Tell your provider how your child's morning has been so far, if he had a hard night, or if anything special has happened at home.
- If there is a change of plans, let your provider know who will be picking your child up that day.
- When you pick up your child, ask your provider how her day went, how she napped, slept, ate, etc.
- Leave the more in-depth questions or issues you have to discuss for another time -- perhaps over the phone or at an arranged time.
- If there are changes in your routine, let your provider know where you can be reached that day.
- Ask your provider how his day went!
Another way to build understanding and communication between you and your child's care providers are through parent-teacher conferences. These are a more formal way for teachers and parents to discuss a child's development, and make the connection between home and school. When thinking about getting the most out of these conferences, here are some points to consider:
- Be prepared. Have a list of questions or concerns that you may have about your child and his development. Talk to your child before the conference about what she likes to do at school, who her friends are, etc. Find out what you can be doing at home to enhance your child's learning and development Arrive at the conference on time: Usually there is a very limited time for these meetings, and you'll want to make the most of it! Most teachers will have examples of your child's work on hand to look through. If not, or if there's something you want to see, ask about it. Talk about any action you both may want to take regarding to your child's progress and future growth.
- Stay in touch!
Discussing Difficult Issues
There are bound to be certain topics or situations that are difficult to talk about with your child's provider or teachers. If you have developed an honest, open way of communicating with one another, discussing these issues as they arise won't be so hard. Things to consider when discussing difficult issues:
- Raise issues when they first develop. If you put off a discussion, it may be harder to bring it up again later, or you may never bring it up at all, and instead end up harboring resentment.
- Avoid confronting your provider in front of other parents or children. Set up a time to speak privately, in person, or over the phone.
- Think about what you want to discuss ahead of time, and even practice how you want to say it.
- Be specific about your concerns: Give examples of things that have happened or observations you've made.
- Never discuss a problem when you are feeling angry or not in control of your emotions.
- Remember that conflicts are normal and part of most relationships; they can usually be resolved when both parties can see each other's views and are willing to compromise.