Establishing a Good Relationship
A good relationship with your provider is built on mutual trust and respect. This is an important part of making your child care arrangement successful. 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 his/her behavior.
- Be aware of the program policies and follow them. Respect the drop-off and pick-up times. 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 child care program. The more you participate, the more connected you’ll feel to your child and the program. Your provider will appreciate the help you offer.
You should have the opportunity to connect with your child’s teachers or provider every day. This daily check in, even if brief, allows you and your provider to share important information. Here are some things you may want to share with your provider:
- Tell your provider how your child’s morning has been so far, if he or she 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 his/her day went, how she napped, slept, ate, etc.
- Leave the more in-depth questions or issues you have to discuss for another time. Set up a phone or face-to-face conference.
- If there are changes in your routine, let your provider know where you can be reached that day.
- Ask your provider how her day went!
Another way to build understanding and communication between you and your child’s providers are through parent-teacher conferences. These are a more formal way for teachers and parents to discuss a child’s development. Conferences give you the opportunity to make a 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/her development.
- Talk to your child before the conference about what he/she likes to do at school, who his/her friends are, etc.
- Find out what you can do at home to enhance your child’s learning and development.
- Arrive at the conference on time. There is usually 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 your child’s progress and future growth.
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 it off, it may be harder to bring them up at a later time. Never bringing issues up can lead to misunderstandings between you and your provider.
- 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 people try to see each other's views and are willing to compromise.