Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Parent-Caregiver Communication: Making it Work

Child care providers and parents want to make sure that they understand each other. There are steps providers can take to encourage good communication and to minimize problems. It’s also a good idea to encourage parents to find out about the program’s policies and procedures.

Promote Good Communication
The following are steps providers can take to maintain positive communication:
  • Have parents/families prepare an “All About My Child” sheet to learn about the child and the family. This includes who is in the child’s family; how birthdays and holidays are celebrated; skills the family can share; what’s happening at home that might affect a child’s behavior (e.g., a new sibling, visits from relatives, illnesses, changes in the family)
  • Make sure that families know the procedures for signing their child in and out each day.
  • Encourage parents to keep contact information up to date, including all those who are allowed to pick up the child.
  • Encourage parents to read information from the program.
  • Set up regular parent-provider conferences and encourage all parents/families to attend.
  • Have parents volunteer to help out when they can.
  • Encourage parents to occasionally visit during the day.
Handle Problems Positively
Some common issues you might face are children’s behavior, health and safety, concerns about a child’s development, following procedures, and fees. The following strategies will help you keep the situation positive:
  • Remember that both the provider and parents have the same goal - you want the best for the child/children.
  • Ask for a time to talk when the provider and the parent won’t be rushed.
  • Ask for clarification of the problem.
  • Restate the problem until you both agree on the description of the problem.
  • Think about the possible solutions and decide on a plan to solve the problem.
  • Ask about what steps to follow if the plan doesn’t work.
  • Check the success of the plan regularly.
  • If you are wrong, apologize.
The Program’s Policy and Procedures
There are many things that may cause conflict between parents and providers if they are not understood. Make sure the following information is in your parent handbook or contract:
  1. Hours - What are your hours, days closed, inclement weather policy?
  2. Fees - What is the tuition? Additional fees? Charges for a child’s absence or vacation time? Time notice for leaving the program?
  3. Arrival and Departure - What are the procedures for dropping off and picking up the child? Who is authorized to pick up the child?
  4. Health - How are parents notified if their child is sick or injured? How will parents be notified of a communicable disease? Will your program give medication?
  5. Emergencies - Are there regular tornado or fire drills? How will the parents be notified in case of an emergency?
  6. The child’s day - Who is the primary caregiver for your child? How will my child spend their day? How will discipline be handled?
  7. Special Events - How are birthdays and holidays handled? What is the transportation policy for field trips?
  8. Transitions - How is a child moved from one room to another? How does the child move to a new school?
  9. Communication - Are there regular conferences scheduled? How is information shared with parents?
  10. Confidentiality policies - How do you protect a family’s right to confidentiality?
Additional Issues to Consider
Cultural and language differences can sometimes get in the way of communication. Think about having another person join the conversations. If parents are divorced or separated, work with both of the parents.

Need any help writing Parent/Family Handbooks? Call our office at (573)445-5437 or (800)243-9685.

Portions of this article taken from The Daily Parent (Issue No. 67) a publication by NACCRRA.

No comments:

Post a Comment