When you enroll your child in daycare or a childcare program you are trusting someone else to care for what is most precious to you. Although you may have spent a great deal of effort and time selecting an arrangement that is best for you and your child, it is natural to have doubts or concern about the care your child is receiving. On occasion you may find you have a serious concern and need to approach the teacher or caregiver. It is helpful to remember that a parent-teacher relationship that is most beneficial is when each party views the other as a valuable partner and resource.
Some concerns you may have may be a result of unfamiliarity of what occurs in a daycare setting. When making childcare arrangements, be sure the program or provider shares with you relevant policies, rules, and schedules so you are comfortable with what to expect. You may discover that you are questioning yourself about whether your concern is warranted or not.
Here is a partial list of reasonable expectations from your childcare arrangement.
- Open and frequent communication: You should feel well-informed about the day-to-day experiences and care of your child.
- An open door policy: You are always welcome to drop by and be with your child.
- A healthy and safe environment where children are well supervised.
- The teacher or provider is willing to work with you on particular problems or limitations.
- You receive notification of changes.
- All providers, teachers and staff are nonjudgmental and respect your family’s background and values.
- Caregivers are warm and loving with children in their care and have both training and experience in childcare.
For open communication, it is helpful to be mindful of the other person’s perspective. When you are preparing to approach a provider there are two key things to keep in mind. 1. This individual has chosen this profession because he or she has a genuine interest and love for caring for children. They are making decisions based on what they feel is best for the children in their care. 2. Daycare providers, caregivers or teachers are much more than babysitters. They are committed professionals. When a provider offers care in her home it could be easy for you to lose sight of the fact that this is a business for her.
Before approaching the provider, be sure you can clearly identify the point of friction and its cause. Are there any underlying issues that are causing you distress? It may also be helpful if you have a concrete solution or resolution in mind to take to the table.
When you start a dialogue about your concern, try to be positive. Be sure to communicate what you value and appreciate about the daycare as well. In order to present your concern in a constructive way with out blaming, you can use a technique called “I” messages. “I” messages are statements that clearly express your concerns or needs in a way that does not put the listener on the defensive.
|Concern||Negative Statement||“I” Messages|
|Julia’s lunchbox is missing||“How come you keep losing Julia’s belongings?”||“I need us to find a way to keep track of Julia’s belongings.”|
|Sam’ s got a scratch on his arm||“What have you done to my son?”||“I noticed a scratch on Sam’s arm. Can you tell me what happened?”|
|You are worried about what the program is serving for lunch||“Your lunches are too fatty for my child.”||“I am concerned about the nutrition in the lunches you serve.”|
Conclude your discussion by working together with the caregiver. Brainstorm a course of action that will meet the concerns and needs of both parties. Together you can forge a partnership that can benefit and support the growth and development your child.