day you and the parents and children in your program jump among several
different worlds. They leave their homes to come to your setting. The
parents then go on to work. You leave your home to go to work in childcare,
or maybe you change your home to a childcare setting for the day. At the
end of the day everyone goes back home. The child leaves you and her friends.
Parents take over responsibility for the child. In the evening the transitions
go the other direction. In each world, there are different people and
different rules. The different worlds can work together well, but it is
important to know what to expect.
transitions from one world to another will be much easier if you and the
parents talk about what to expect from each other. For example, knowing
the parents’ schedule helps you predict when they will drop off
their child and pick him up from child care. It also helps you know where
to contact the parents at specific times of the day if an emergency arises.
Give the parents a chance to tell you what they expect from you, too.
The parents need to know what will happen when you have an emergency.
You should talk to parents about your rules and needs—and their
rules and needs—before the child joins your childcare program.
What you can expect from parents
Parents pay you to do a job. In a way, they are your employers.
In another way, they are your clients. You should expect certain things
of them if they are going to be part of your program.
• Detailed information about their
child’s routines, activities, and likes and dislikes. Parents
should help you
understand their children. It helps
if you give parents a form to fill out. Ask them about habits, language,
health, and other things that will
help you care for their children.
• Information about any changes
in their child’s patterns. Ask parents about their child each
day. When parents
tell you that their child did not
sleep well the night before, or is tired and hungry, this information
you better understand the child’s
• Information about their needs
and routines. Parents should tell where they will be and how you
Ask parents to tell you about any important events in their lives.
• Information about any changes
in their schedule. Ask parents to tell you as soon as they know if
will be any changes. Work with the
parents if changes need to be made.
• Dropping off and picking up
the child on time. Tell parents why you need them to bring the child
certain time. Set clear policies
for picking up children late.
• Provide supplies as needed.
Ask parents to bring supplies right away when they are needed. Ask
parents to tell
you if they cannot bring the supplies
for some reason. Help them find a way to help take care of their children’s
• Early notice when the child
will be leaving the childcare. Ask parents to let you know as soon
when they will be leaving the program.
• Responsible care when the child
is sick. Tell the parents about your rules related to sick children.
parents to call you as soon as they
know that their child is unwell. Ask the parents what the illness is so
that you can prevent the germs from
spreading to other children.
• Paying fees on time. Explain
your rules about paying fees.
• Respect and support. You
and the parents may be very different from each other, but you all care
their children. Help them understand
the job that you do. Treat them with respect, and they will learn to respect
What parents should be able to expect from you
• An open door.
Let parents visit at any time. Tell them that they may come and observe
in you program.
You can tell them if you would rather
they didn’t visit at naptime or some other time. If they come at
a bad time,
let them come in, though. Be a friendly
• A written statement of policies.
Give parents a handbook or other statement of policies. Tell them how
when to pay fees, what they should
do when they drop off and pick up their child, what to do when their child
is sick, the rules of your childcare,
and so on. You should also explain what will happen when you are sick.
• Detailed information about every
adult who may work with the children. Tell the parents about all
of the people
who may work with their child in
the childcare. Explain whether the people are trained and how you will
oversee the other people, and help
the parents learn to trust those other people.
• An early explanation about any
changes in schedule or routine. Tell parents right away if they will
bring the children earlier or later.
They may be able to help the children get ready for the change.
• Information about important
events such as field trips. Tell the parents where you will go, how
will get there, and how they
can help the children get ready for the event. Get their permission for
Also tell parents ahead of
time if you will be doing messy activities. Then they can dress their
children in the
• Supplies and equipment.
Tell parents what you will provide for the children. Tell them clearly
what you expect
them to provide.
Provider knowledge and training:
• An understanding of child growth
and development. You should know about normal patterns and differences
in development and about unusual
things to watch for. You should know how to do the right things for
children at different levels of development.
• Knowledge of important rules
and regulations. You should know about your state and community’s
licensing and regulation. You should
know whom to call if you have questions or problems.
The childcare setting:
• A safe and healthy setting for
children. You should have a clean and safe area for children to play,
sleep, and eat.
• A rich learning environment.
Give children many things to do in your childcare. Children should be
able to play
safely indoors and outdoors. Provide
enough toys for the number of children in your care. Give children many
ways to learn new skills.
• Supervision. Pay attention
to the children. Know where they are and what they are doing at all times.
children acting in unusual ways or
showing signs that they are sick. Give children things to do that fit
ages and interests.
Support for parents:
• Respect and support. Parenting
is very difficult. You may not agree with everything that parents do,
but you can
respect their needs. Listen to them
and get to know them. Help them find ways to solve their problems.
• Feedback about their child’s
day. When parents come to pick their child up, tell them about one
good event of
the day. This may be an activity
that their child enjoyed, some work of art that the child created, or
funny that the child said or did.
You don’t have to talk to them for very long. Whatever you share
about their child will help them
connect to the childcare setting. Remember that parents value personal
about their child.
• Information about their child’s
development. Because you spend a lot of time with their child, parents
you for information about their child’s
growth and development. You should discuss and share with parents
anything unusual or new that you
notice in their child. This could be related to the child’s behavior,
health or learning.
• Advice on important issues.
Some parents will ask you about issues such as toileting, eating, manners,
separation. You are a partner in
caring for the children. Share information that you have. Look for more
when you do not have the complete
to expect from your childcare provider