Communication in Childcare

It seems that the hardest part of being a working parent is leaving your child in someone else’s care.

On the other hand, most likely the hardest part of being a childcare provider is caring for someone else’s child.

Both situations are challenging, yet both in demand, with two income families on the rise and the need for quality childcare providers also climbing.

There are no easy answers when it comes to being a working parent with a child enrolled in daycare. Many parents come face to face with that terrible guilt of leaving their child for 8+ hours a day, wondering exactly what it is they are doing, and feeling in a way left out of their child’s day.

Fortunately, there are ways for parents to feel connected with their child while away. The most important way? Communication.

Communication in childcare is the one of the greatest ways to provide the best care for the child on both ends – for parents and providers. Not only is this the best way to provide the best possible care for the child, but it makes for a great relationship between parents and providers.

Obviously, the most important communication is verbal. However, for the young ones, namely infants and toddlers, daily written reports are another excellent tool to accompany the verbal communication. Such reports should not only be written by the providers, but also by the parents to provide a two-way smooth open line. Many providers issue a daily report in the form of a sheet of paper. Others may use spiral notebooks sent back and forth from home to daycare, and others may purchase journals made specifically for childcare communication. Whichever method chosen, it is important to remember the little ones who will benefit the most from applying these techniques. For the small amount of time it takes to jot down the little details in a child’s day or evening (whether parent or provider), it is well worth it to know you are giving peace of mind to the parents and/or childcare provider and what a great extra service you are providing.

Other techniques that can be applied:

1. Providers could hold a “parent day” at their daycare so parents can come and see what goes on every day in their child’s life.

2. Home visits to the parents’ house on an informal level are also great. Not only does it give the parents a chance to feel more comfortable talking, but the provider can possibly get to know the child on even a more personal level by seeing their home environment and surroundings.

3. Keep in touch via e-mail. What an easy, quick way to send a note. I recently took some photos of my daycare children with my digital camera. I sent a quick e-mail to the parents with the photos attached. Their response? “Thank you for the cute pictures. You brightened my day. How thoughtful of you.” That, in turn, brightened my day.

4. Share photos you have taken with the parents often.

5. Call mom or dad at work out of the blue for their kids to say “hi” and maybe brighten their day. It only takes 5 minutes.

The internet is a great source for both parents and providers. With busy lifestyles that seem to get busier as time goes on, establishing a win-win relationship between parents and providers will make both jobs easier. Use whatever sources available, whether it be the internet, books, or even workshops. Your child’s care depends on them!

Written by Jodi L. Marvin, mother of two, licensed childcare provider, Founder of and author of “Childcare Journal for Parents & Providers”, a one-year childcare journal that allows parents to track their children’s well-being while at childcare.

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