After you’ve made your child care decision, your work continues. In order for your child to have a positive experience, we encourage you to stay involved. Your involvement will aid your child’s early learning and development and keep you informed about daily child care experiences.
Even with busy schedules, there are many ways for parents to be involved. We’ve listed some suggestions, but you may need to become creative depending on your schedule. If these suggestions don’t work for you, sit down with your child care provider and talk about ways you can stay involved.
- Drop-off. Take a few minutes at the beginning of your child’s day to inform your provider about how your child’s night was, or how the day has started. Share any important information that may give your provider an outlook on how your child’s day might go.
- Pick-up. Check in with your provider to see how things went throughout the day. Discuss your child’s behavior and what activities she participated in. Some providers will have a daily report, note or brief form to let you know how your child’s day was.
- Special meetings. Some child care providers will have regular conferences with parents to discuss a child’s progress and experience in child care. Whenever you have questions or concerns, do not hesitate to schedule a one-on-one meeting with your provider. There are times when discussing matters at drop-off or pick-up may not be appropriate. A private meeting may make these conversations easier. If necessary, schedule a phone call.
- Volunteer. If you are able, attend special events or celebrations. If your child’s program takes field trips and you can make it work with your schedule, volunteer to be a chaperone. Read stories once or twice a week during pick-up or drop-off.
Sometimes it’s the little things that matter. There may be times your provider needs assistance with program preparation, including tasks that you may be able to help with from home. These duties will allow you to remain involved in your child’s child care experience, even if your schedule doesn’t allow it during the day. You may offer to bring snacks or art supplies. Maybe your provider has some toys that need repair or projects that need to be prepared. Some programs may have advisory boards or committees that need parent participation. Check with your provider to see what you can do.
No matter what works for you, take the time to remain active in your child’s early development. Starting early will give you the fuel to continue your involvement as your child grows and enters school. Your involvement and the positive relationship you build with your provider will positively benefit your child--now and in the future.