Nifty vs. Thrifty

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Do you have a good relationship with your childcare provider?

Having a good relationship with your child's teacher is essential for your child to have a positive experience in the classroom. Just like every relationship you have in your life, the one with the person who is taking care of your child is an important one. Do not underestimate this. I don't mean you should be best friends with them (actually that makes things more challenging), I mean you should have trust and good communication (both ways). I have come up with some ideas to help you along.

Communicate As a child care provider, I really appreciate any information about the child's night or morning when they are dropped off. It helps me to understand the child's needs and allows me to see the big picture. Let them know if they had a particularly difficult evening or morning. If something major is going on at home (such as divorce or a death in the family) your child care provider should definitely be informed so that they can help your child if they are acting out or feeling sad. This also opens the door so that they can communicate with you if there are any issues. In general, being approachable is a good thing so that the teacher feels they can talk to you if your child is having any issues.

Respect There are some crappy teachers out there but MANY good ones. Your child is going to have both through the course of his or her life and they will learn lessons from both. Even though you may not particularly like your child's teacher, you need to be respectful to him or her.

If you have a major issue, confronting your child's teacher is a must. Be aware of your timing. I know it's often challenging to find the right time to talk with a teacher since they are often trying to do other things (especially during drop off or pick up times). Respect their time by talking to them at an appropriate time. If you need to chat with them for more than a minute, try sending a note or coming in early when there isn't a lot going on. If face to face communication is a must, ask them when a good time to chat would be.
Do not speak badly about your child's teacher in front of your child. This will create a triangle and being direct is a much better way to handle the situation. If you need to vent, talk to your spouse or friend about the situation.

Say thank you to your child's teacher often! Show them you appreciate their hard work and dedication either in person, in a note or by giving them a small handmade gift from your child.

Build trust Trust is an important part of your relationship with your childcare provider. I know some teacher's do not like when the parent hangs around while dropping their child off (it can be a disruption if the teacher is in the middle of something). But there's nothing wrong with you taking your time hanging things up or a quick chat with a teacher (unless you are having difficulties with your child during these times which can be a problem). If your childcare provider allows the chance for you to participate in a party, take them up on it. This is a good opportunity to see their interactions with the children and spend some time in their classroom.
Listen to your child- Ask them about their day. Children are pretty good at giving you an idea of what their day was like. Follow your intuition. Trust your instincts. If something doesn't feel right, ask the teacher about it.

Talk to the teacher about any issues. If you have a concern that's really bothering you, talk to the teacher about it. Approach the teacher in a non threatening way by stating what you know and asking if they know anything about it. It may sound something like this "Sheila has mentioned that a certain child is being mean to her quite often. I have talked to her about ways to deal with it but it seems to be reoccurring. Do you know anything about this?" Ask your child's teacher before jumping to conclusions. Be open minded. There may be a very good explanation or a different perspective (and your child might be part of this problem!)

DO NOT GO TO THE CENTER'S DIRECTOR FIRST! If you want to jeopardize your relationship with your teacher than go right ahead but if you want to build a positive relationship with them, I strongly recommend you talking to the teacher first. Nothing burns a bridge more than stepping over someone and going to their boss.

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