Successful childcare arrangements require teamwork. Here's how you can build a strong caregiver relationship so that you and your little one get the most from your daycare provider.
(source: What To Expect Today)
Play by the rules. Pick up your little one on time. But on those rare days that you can’t (we’re all human), call as soon as you can to warn your daycare provider that you’ll be late. Being on time with payments and any forms you need to turn in (like medical health releases) will also help foster a great caregiver relationship, as will keeping your baby home when she’s sick. You know better than anyone that childcare is a tough job, so make things as easy as possible for your infant caregivers.
Tune in to the right channels. Find out how your daycare provider plans to keep you in the loop about special events and your baby’s progress. If your baby’s in group daycare, check to see if there’s a regular newsletter, e-mails, or a central bulletin board. Does the center offer a video-cam, where parents can log on to a Web site and see their child playing? Will you get e-mails or verbal reports from the family daycare provider?
Share intelligence. Remember, you’re on the same team. Give your daycare provider the scoop on anything that will make her job easier: your baby’s likes and dislikes, the best way to calm her down, her food and nap preferences. Also, let her know about anything new going on that may affect your little one during the day (your tot just started teething or she didn’t sleep well last night).
Open a dialogue. If a problem arises, discuss it as soon as possible. But don’t ambush your infant caregiver during busy drop-offs or pickups (those times are better for casual, quick conversations). Instead, set up an appointment to talk when she can give you more of her attention (besides, this one-on-one time is great for strengthening your caregiver relationship).
Treat her with respect. Yes, mom usually knows best, but talk to your daycare provider like the pro that she is. Think of it this way: How would you want your boss to talk to you? When discussing a problem, don’t jump to conclusions. Bring it up by asking questions in a neutral tone (“Lately, Jessie has been very cranky with me at the end of the day. Can you tell me what she’s like during the day? Is she fussy and cranky with you, too?”).
Stay open to suggestions. Of course you don’t want your daycare provider to act defensive with you, so be open-minded if she has suggestions about caring for your baby. After all, isn’t that why you did all that research before hiring her — to make sure she knows what she’s doing?
Don’t be a stranger. Another way to strengthen your caregiver relationship — and sneak in extra time with your sweetie? When work allows, volunteer to help with an activity or outing, or just visit and have lunch with your tot. It’s a great way to ease your mind and find out how your little one’s doing. Chances are, your child’s caregiver will appreciate the help (and the grown-up company).