New Child Care? Ten Steps to Make It Work
When you drop your little one off with a new child care provider, you don’t have to hold your breath and cross your fingers that everything will turn out OK. Here are some steps to make sure you’re on the right path to developing a great partnership with your child’s caregivers:
- Do your research. You won’t feel comfortable with your selection until you’ve researched all your options. Ask lots of folks for their opinions on child care providers. Take tours. Ask questions. Don’t be shy!
- Ease the transition. Bring your child’s favorite “loveys” and a picture from home. Help your child into the action at drop-off time, and out of it at pickup time. Don’t rush.
- Be prepared for emotional reactions. Little ones AND parents easily get emotional on separations – and reunifications. Show your child that feelings are OK.
- Communicate. At drop-off, tell your provider how your child is doing and mention any change in plans. At pickup, ask how your child slept, ate, and felt, and about any noteworthy play accomplishments or friendship issues. Ask the provider how her day went, too.
- Reach out. Befriend other parents who have been there awhile. Learn the ropes.
- Respect. Be aware of the program’s policies – and honor them.
- Volunteer. Ask the teacher how you can help her. Get on her “good list”!
- Set aside time – convenient for your caregiver – to discuss how it’s going. Ask about your child’s progress, and how you can be supportive at home. Be prepared, and take notes.
- Nix jealousy. It’s wonderful if your child loves his or her child care provider – and common for us to feel jealous. Be grateful to have good help with your child, and know it won’t affect how your child feels about you.
- Don’t stew. Raise issues when they first develop. Don’t raise difficult issues with other teachers, parents, or children present. Make a time to discuss in private. Wait until your thoughts and feelings are clear. Listen to all sides of a situation until you come to a conclusion.
Developing a partnership with your child care provider builds a trusting relationship that allows your child to feel secure, learn, and grow.
How have you built a relationship with your child’s caregivers?