On our previous blog post we offered 5 tips for good communication with children as way to instill good habits and nurture positive family relationships. This time we are writing about what parents are looking for when it comes to the time of choosing a childcare service for their little ones.
Finding the right childcare service for a child can be a complex task for a parent, especially since they may not always know who to trust or what to look for in an ideal situation. Indeed, allowing strangers —even though they are accredited professionals in highly regarded institutions —to care for their beloved children can be a scary prospect, and many people try to avoid this by relying on relatives to care for their children or sometimes even consider leaving their jobs behind for the first few years.
As you might imagine, parents might not always be able to rely on the same people to care for their youngsters while away, and even in the most caring family, there may be times when they’ll have to outsource this important job. After all, their children must get used to interacting with adults outside of the family at some point anyway, since they will soon enough be ready to enter formal school.
So what do parents look for in a childcare service when they feel ready to bite the bullet and have someone look after the education of their little ones?
The first and most important attribute that parents demand from those who take care of their children is communication. Parents see the childcare service almost as a third surrogate parent, and just like any other team of guardians, there needs to be constant communication about the child’s development. They look for a service that is on the same page as they are, one that shares the same values and has a similar teaching philosophy to theirs, so that both parties understand each other and the child does not become confused about what the adults in his life want from him.
For example, it would be awkward and difficult if parents come from an extremely religious background and find that your childcare workers are instilling secular values in their children. The same can be true in reverse: if they are not religious and find that a worker is unexpectedly teaching a religion or life philosophy that is not theirs.
When parents have very strong core values of any kind, ones that they cannot compromise on, be sure to communicate this openly when introducing parents to activities and your service or room’s curriculum plan, as otherwise it could lead to needless conflict. Another common area of disagreement where boundaries must be established ahead of time is the area of discipline.
Parents may have their own particular style, and may even think it is incorrect to teach their child in certain ways; be sure to a honest conversation with parents about this, or you may find that you might be disciplining in a way that they feel is wrong. Most parents steer clear if they find that their childcare service seems strangely touchy on the subject of how they discipline children.
Finally, be sure that your childcare service’s staff are good listeners and that they take parental communication seriously. Conversely, parents want to feel that childcare services will be responsible enough to notice anything odd about their child and report it back to them, so that they are not in the dark about possible medical and behavioral problems.
Overall, parents place a strong emphasis on openness and transparency in communication: they expect childcare services to be active in their children’s education and in most cases an unique trust relationship is created between parents and childcare professionals.