Be a Good Child Care Parent (page 2)
Parents looking for a child care provider usually use checklists or brochures designed to give them tips and information about what to consider when choosing a child care:
- Is the facility/home clean?
- What type of training have the providers had?
- Will my child be happy here? Safe here?
- (See Example Questions to Ask Before You Choose Child Care)
A parents’ responsibility does not end once they have selected the child care center/home for their child. One of the most valuable assets a family can have is quality, dependable child care.
It is not only an asset personally, but to an employer as well. Finding this special person (or center) can be key to your happiness on the job. It is stress relieving to know children are in a safe and nurturing environment while a parent is at work.
Just as the child care provider nurtures a child, the parent needs to nurture their relationship with the child care provider. How the child care provider is treated will most likely affect how long the relationship lasts, how positive the interactions are, and ultimately, how happy the child is in the setting.
A survey was conducted of some Idaho child care providers. They were asked for tips to share with parents that would make for a better child care experience overall for everyone involved. As you will see from the following tips, they ranged from payment issues to discipline and health and safety issues.
The surveys indicate a majority of misunderstandings between child care providers and parents could be resolved if parents would carefully read the Policy and Procedure guidelines and registration packets.
It is important to remember that even though most child care providers choose the profession because of their love of children, it is still a “business” and bills must be paid.
Another issue relates to dressing children for the weather. Numerous comments were received on this issue and the difficulty it causes if a child is unable to participate in a group outing. According to a provider at Parents Blessing Learning Center in Moscow, Idaho, “Nothing is worse than to tell a child they can’t go outside to play in the snow because their parents didn’t bring proper clothing.”
Payment Related Issues
- Give two weeks notice if removing a child from child care. This allows the center to replace the child without the budget suffering.
- Pay on time, the same time each month, and without being asked. Child care budgets rely on parent tuition to pay employees. Write down and keep track of your payment arrangements.
- Expect tuition increases. Sometimes this is the only way to give a quality teacher the raise they deserve. Check prices of other providers if you have concerns.
"It is very important to pay on time, without having to be reminded or asked, so we can give our full attention to caring for the children." -Lori Asker, Lori’s Little Learning Center, Moscow, Idaho
Safety or Health Related Issues
- Properly dress your child for the weather. Parents sometimes let children wear sandal-like shoes when it is snowing outside. Make sure the child has boots, gloves, and coats to wear when it is cold. Also remember to pin mittens (with large, sturdy diaper pins) to coat sleeves.
- Give all medication to the teachers (don’t leave it in lunch boxes). Always bring a doctor’s note for prescription medications and instructions for over-the-counter drugs (dosage and how often to be given). (see Giving Medication Safely)
- Always follow the center’s sick policy. It is there for a reason, to help keep teachers and other children healthy. It is best for the child to be home with mom or dad when they are sick. Have a back-up plan for children when they are ill.
- Don’t give medication to a sick child to bring a fever down and then send the sick child to school.
"Let the provider know when new immunizations are given so we can keep our records current." -Heidi Starr, Cloverdale Christian Day School, Boise, Idaho
- Work with the child care provider to be consistent with discipline issues. If the parent(s) and care provider are working together, it will encourage the child to learn positive behavior.
- Do not teach your child to hit back. We focus on using our words, teacher help, etc.
- Tell providers what is going on at home or changes occuring in the family (divorce, death, illness, etc.). This may explain why the child is sleepy, needs more food, anything that relates to how they act.
"Know that your child may act different at home than in a group setting. Review the behavior/discipline policy so you know what to expect." -Brook Krieger, Eastside Child Care and Preschool, Moscow, Idaho
"Don’t undermine the provider on discipline with a child. Stand with them." -Heidi Starr, Cloverdale Christian Dayschool, Boise, Idaho
- READ the registration packet. The information there is for a purpose!
- Work out custody issues outside our school turf. We do not want to be in middle. No separate bills.
- Don’t send toys to school. They could get lost or broken.
- When children are dropped off at school, make sure they are with a teacher when you leave.
- Give the center the child’s schedule ASAP so providers will know how to staff.
- Inform the provider if the child will be picked up by someone else — who and when. Remember also, let your child care provider know if your child will not be at the center due to illness or vacation.
- Communication is the key. My day care just experienced a death concerning one of the children’s parents. By our working with counselors and the other parent, it helped the child because everybody was counseling the child the same way.
- If address or telephone numbers change, let provider know right away.
- If you are asked to meet for a conference it is very helpful if you attend and work out an agreeable compromise with your child’s teacher over the issue.
- Understand that we are involved emotionally with these children. We love most of them too much, if that is possible.
- Relax with your child a few minutes at pick-up time. Play a little, see what they like to do at school. Our best “adjusted” happiest kids have parents who spend a few minutes at the center each night.
"Do not put your provider in the middle of a custody issue." -Dale Mayberry, TenderCare Children’s Centers, LLC, Lewiston/Clarkston
"Pick up children on time. Being late costs overtime and over-tired teachers. Call if you are going to be late." -Brook Krieger, Eastside Child Care and Preschool Moscow, Idaho
(Note: You'll find these articles at different web sites. Use the "back" button when you're done to return to this page. )
Balancing Work & Family — Child Care: Linger and Learn — Suggestions for parents on how to learn about their child through observing them in their child care setting, plus links to additional resources relating to balancing work and family issues.
Taking Care of the Care Provider — The important role care providers of young children have and noting our appreciation of their work.
Quality Child Care — Features of quality child care.
See the Working with Families topic area of the National Network for Child Care web site for relation tips for parents and child care providers. NNCC unites the expertise of many of the nation's leading universities through the outreach system of Cooperative Extension. Their goal is to share knowledge about children and child care from the vast resources of the landgrant universities with parents, professionals, practitioners, and the general public. The site provides practical information and resources that will be useful to everyday work with children.
Copyright 2007 by Idaho Department of Health and Welfare
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