While expectations will differ somewhat, depending on whether your child is cared for full time or part time, the family day care provider should be able to expect certain things from you.
Explain clearly and carefully your wishes and expectations about how your child will be cared for. Also provide updates on problems and progress that your child is making. Give the provider information about your child’s routine, activities and preferences. Good communication helps parents and providers work together in the best interest
Agreement on terms or arrangements.
You should fully understand the expectations of the provider and what you as a parent are agreeing to. A written agreement between the provider and parents is usually helpful for both parties.
Honesty and trust.
This includes being honest about how you believe the arrangement is working, whether your child is happy with the provider and whether you are. Although you need to be vigilant in order to safeguard your child, you should still trust your child care provider to do the best for your child. Show your trust by asking questions rather than jumping to conclusions when problems develop.
Advance notice of and agreement to any changes.
Providers have to earn a living, too, so they deserve advance notice if you are going to stop using their services, take a vacation during which they will receive no pay or change their hours. If, for example, you want the provider to start feeding your child breakfast, this change should be made in the rate of pay. And, if you expect a month or six weeks’ notice in case the provider can no longer care for your child, you owe the provider similar notice.
Pickup on time and follow through on all agreements.
Providers have personal lives, too, and they should be able to expect that you will pick up your child at the agreed upon time. If it takes you 15 minutes a night longer to get home than you expected or if you find it more convenient to stop at the grocery store before picking up your child which makes you 30 minutes late three times a week you need to work out a new agreement with the provider or find a way to abide by the original one. If you agree to provide diapers, formula or other supplies, you should bring them before they are needed.
Not to send sick, hungry or overly tired kids.
Agree with your child care provider in advance about when you can and cannot bring a sick child. Never bring a child whom you know is not feeling well enough to be away from home and family. Likewise you shouldn’t expect your child care provider to cope with a child who has not had breakfast or who went to bed four hours late last night.
Payment on time and no rubber checks.
Child care providers have to pay the rent and buy food, too, so make arrangements to see that they get their pay on time.
Realize that taking care of children is a job and the child care provider is a worker, often a working parent, just as you are. Recognize also that this is not an easy job. A child care provider is not “just a baby sitter”. She is one of the most important people in your child’s life and in yours, too.
Try not to be jealous of your child’s attachment to child care providers. Children who spend hours every day with a baby sitter or day care worker come to love that person. That love, though, doesn’t diminish the love the child feels for you. Don’t feel that you have to compete with your child care provider for your child’s affection.
Your baby sitter shouldn’t learn on Friday that you have decided to take next week off from work so you won’t need her or pay her, either. Your family day care provider shouldn’t learn that you now expect her to pick up your kindergartner after school because the car pool you have been using has dissolved. Child care providers don’t like surprises any better than parents do.