While expectations will differ somewhat depending on whether your child is cared for in your home, in the home of a family childcare provider or in a childcare center, your provider should be able to expect certain things from you. Creating a positive relationship with your childcare provider is vital to maintaining good care for your child.
Your provider should be given information on how to contact you at all times while your child is in their care; therefore, your childcare provider should know that it is alright and be encouraged to contact you at any time about problems or concerns with your child. Explain clearly and carefully your wishes and expectations about how your child will be cared for. Give the provider information about your child’s routine activities and preferences, and provide updates on problems and progress that your child is making. Good communication helps parents and providers work together in the best interest of children.
Agreement on Terms or Arrangements
You should fully understand the expectations of the provider and what you as a parent are agreeing to. A written agreement between the provider and parents is usually helpful for both parties.
Honesty and Trust
This includes being honest about how you believe the arrangement is working – whether your child is happy with the provider and whether you are. Although you need to be vigilant in order to safeguard your child, you should still trust your childcare provider to do the best for your child. Show your trust by asking questions rather than jumping to conclusions when apparent problems develop.
Advance Notice of and Agreement to Any Changes
Providers deserve advance notice if you are going to stop using their services, take a vacation, change hours, etc. If you want the provider to start feeding your child breakfast, this change should be discussed and agreed to and an adjustment should be made in the rate of pay. If you expect a month or six weeks’ notice if the provider can no longer care for your child, you owe the provider similar notice.
Pick Up on Time and Follow Through on All Agreements
Providers should be able to count on you to pick up your child at the agreed upon time. If it actually takes you 15 minutes longer to get home than you expected, then you need to work out a new agreement with the provider or find a way to abide by the original one. If you agreed to provide diapers, formula or other supplies, you should bring them before they are needed.
Do Not Send Sick, Hungry or Overly Tired Kids
Agree with your childcare provider in advance about when you can and cannot bring a sick child. Never bring a child who you know is not feeling well enough to be away from home and family. Likewise, you shouldn’t expect your childcare provider to cope with a child who has not had breakfast or who went to bed four hours late the night before.
Payment on Time
Childcare providers are your employees, so make arrangements to ensure they are paid.
Realize that taking care of children is a job and the childcare provider is often a working parent – just as you are. Recognize also that this is not an easy job. A childcare provider is not a “baby-sitter.” He/she is one of the most important people in your child’s life and in yours, too.
Try not to be jealous of your child’s attachment to childcare providers. Children who spend hours every day with a childcare provider will come to love that person. That love doesn’t diminish the love the child feels for you. Try not to feel that you have to compete with your childcare provider for your child’s affection.
Your childcare provider shouldn’t learn on Friday that you have decided to take next week off work. Your family childcare provider shouldn’t learn that you now expect her to pick up your child after school because the car pool you have been using has dissolved. Childcare providers don’t like surprises any more than parents do.