By America’s Nanny Michelle LaRowe – Whether you’ve hired a full time nanny, your mom cares for your children, or your kids attend a local preschool or daycare program, communicating with your caregiver is one skill you will surely want to master.
Effectively communicating with your caregiver goes a long way in creating a positive experience for your family. From your daily greetings to your performance evaluations (whether it be a teachers conference or nanny review), how you interact with your child’s caregiver can have enormous impact on your child’s peace of mind.
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America’s nanny offers a large dose of healthy parenting advice with secrets for raising happy, secure, and well-balanced babies and toddlers.
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Building a solid relationship during the “good times” with your caregiver will help lay the foundation for when times get shaky and no matter your childcare choice, those times will come. They do in any relationship of value. The way you present yourself, whether warm and friendly, or cold and distant, will convey to volumes to caregiver.
Since most of the day to day issues that arrive are fairly simple and common, a journal is a great way to communicate with your caregiver. For a nanny, having a daily log handy to record meals, activities and other comments is a vital necessity. I always tell parents when I am juggling the needs and schedule of newborn twins that I’d be lost without my journal. I like to keep track of who’s doing what and when, so I have a reference tool to look back on if issues arise. With twins, as you can imagine, it’s doubly important to remember which child was fed, and when; who took a longer nap; which one got the baby Tylenol for their fever at what time, and so on. This is especially important when mom and nanny are trading off the babies to each other. The more information each has the better care for the children.
But journals aren’t just for babysitters and nannies! Keeping a journal in your child’s backpack is an easy way to facilitate two-way communication between a teacher and parent. Attempting to talk to your child’s daycare provider during drop-off time can be a challenge and expecting her undivided attention during this hectic transition can be unrealistic. Just make sure that when the caregiver reads your note that she responds in some way to acknowledge it, and vice versa. If not action or comment is needed, a simple checkmark will do.
When issues arise that need to be discussed, it is best to set up a time to meet with the teacher or caregiver without your child’s being there. Addressing your provider in a non- judgmental way will go far in helping you to be heard. If your concern is that Ava complains that her teacher doesn’t like her, try saying something like this: “I’m not quite sure why, but for some reason Sahara is feeling that you don’t like her. I’ve seen how great you are with her, so what I am concerned about is her perception here. What can we do to help her see that you do indeed like her?” This way you share your concern in a way that facilitates problem solving, rather than pointing a finger. Be sure to follow up with your provider once your mutual plan of action is implemented. Praise your caregiver for positive changes and thank her for taking the time to work through the issue.
In the rare case where pointing a finger may be unavoidable, set up a time to speak with the provider and provide a written statement of your concern. If the issue is serious, you may also want to make sure that a witness, such as another teacher or supervisor is present.
Having an In and Out box for your child is a great way to keep track of permission slips, special events, notices and all other things school related. You can use standard paper-sized office boxes in colorful colors to differentiate between incoming and outgoing papers. Or you may prefer to have having a vertical file hanging by the door or in the kitchen to help you quickly and conveniently manage the paper trail that finds its way home from school and back again. If you have several children, each child will probably need an in & an out box or file with his or her name on it.
Adapted from Working Mom’s 411. Regal Books 2009.
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