May 072014
May is Child Care Month – celebrate a child-ca...

May is Child Care Month – celebrate a child-care provider! (Photo credit: BC Gov Photos)


Not long ago I was  talking with a new mom who is heading back to work a few hours each week.  She’s an awesome mother and has been struggling with how to do “this  parenting thing just right.”  She shared that she had found the right day care provider but was still worried.  “What if she doesn’t want to do things the way I want them done?”

No matter how wonderful your child care provider may be, there will be times you don’t understand one another 100%.  Even if you’ve managed to hire Mary Poppins, you may, at times, disagree or not understand the other’s choices.

So how can you be certain that and your child’s other care providers remain more compatible than not?


When it comes to our little ones, sometimes everything we know about calm, assertive communication goes right out the window.   Work-life balance can bring out the “tired-guilty-I-want-to-be-two-places-at-once-monster” in the best of us!

Whether your childcare provider is a family member, a friend or manages a licensed day care facility you’ll have plenty of opportunities to work on your communication skills.

Here are three tips that may make it easier for you:

  • Start with a positive.  Choose something you like about the relationship, the care your child gets or any of the communications that seem 100% clear.
  • Explain your concern simply and directly.  “It’s really important that we keep nap time consistent, yet when I got home the other day she slept almost an hour longer than usual.”
  • Ask for an explanation:  “If something happened and she went down later than usual I need to know that.  It helps me know if she is going through something that requires more sleep.”
Not sure what you’re supposed to ask about?  Many states provide a child care consumer information web sites or  phone lines. Here are sites from Vermont , Florida and Arkansas for example.
Like so many things, once you know what you want and have all  information you need, making  compromises and adjustments can get a little easier.
Jun 202012
Day camp

Day camp (Photo credit: Ed Yourdon)

Along with summer fun, lengthy school vacations can provide families with a special set of challenges.  Parents who work outside of the home  are faced with a series of decisions about supervision and safety.

Whether you’re looking at day camp, a youth club or  home daycare, it’s not always easy to figure out whether or not an arrangement is going to work for your kids.

There are all kinds of decisions to make, not the least of which are  location, schedule and cost.  In some situations, licensing and or accreditation have done part of the work for you.  While the majority of providers have a list of guidelines regarding scheduling, drop-off and pick-up times, sick days, etc. most parents will want to have a conversation… to get a feel for whether or not there’s a “fit.”

Too many worry that asking questions will somehow offend the potential caregiver but nobody wants to leav loved ones in the care of someone with whom they can’t communicate.

Here are some other questions you might ask a potential provider.

  • How did you decide to get into this line of work?  What do you like best about it?
  • How do you help a child get used to this setting?
  • What do you expect a child to be able to do for him or herself?
  • Please tell me about your (your staff’s) experience  with children.
  • When did you last have first aid training?
  • Do you attend training during the year?
  • What methods do you use to communicate with parents?  What works best for you?
  • Is there something you’d like to tell me that I’ve forgotten to ask you?

Please use “comments” to share your own tips!