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Parent-Provider Relationships
Author: Judith A. Myers-Walls, Ph.D., CFLE

When most people think about children in childcare, the people they think about are probably the children and the provider. Another central person in this setting, however, is the parent—sometimes several parents, grandparents, or other guardians. Consistency and connection between those people and the childcare setting are very important. The parents or guardians and the childcare provider should understand each other. They should do similar things with the child and have similar goals.

Communication between parents and providers is not always easy or smooth, though. Parents may say some things that stop providers in their tracks.
     • Why are the kids always playing? Why don’t you teach reading and math?
     • My sister’s childcare provider takes the kids on field trips. When are you going to the museum?
     • I noticed a bruise on Juan’s leg last night. What did you do to him yesterday?

As a provider, you also may say things that make parents confused or angry.
     • I need to raise my rates starting next week.
     • I need to take my child to the doctor tomorrow, so you will need to make other arrangements for the morning.
     • Your child isn’t getting along with the other children. I’m afraid I can’t take care of him any more.

Studies have shown that children do better when parents and childcare providers do similar things—that is, when they are consistent. And children’s well-being is the most important part of childcare. It is important for parents to choose settings that fit their childrearing practices. It is important for providers, on the other hand, to describe their practices clearly and to adjust to the parents’ goals at times. It is also important that parents have one special provider as a contact person to keep the lines of communication open.

Good relationships are also valuable for you and for the parents. If you get along with them well, you will have an easier time talking about the problems you are having with their child. Parents may be more willing to pay you on time. A parent who likes you will be more comfortable with leaving his or her child in your care. Then there may be fewer problems with crying and clinging children.


Welcoming New Families to Your Program

Helping New Children in Your Care

            Preparing children for child care
            Understanding child care contracts and rules

Understanding Expectations       
   What to expect from your childcare provider

Making Childcare Safe for Children and Providers

Communicating Sensitively with Parents
       Talking with providers about problems
     • Providers talking with parents about divorce
   Working with providers during divorce
     • Talking to parents about problems in development

     • Communicating with parents about parenting quality
       Talking to providers when they have concerns about parenting
       Talking to providers about child care quality
Recognizing child abuse
Helping parents and children in difficult situations
             • Talking to a child who has been abused
             • Talking to parents about child abuse

             • Helping parents deal with parenting advice

               How to deal with parenting advice
              What are my goals in parenting?


For more information, contact Judith A. Myers-Walls, PhD, CFLE at

Please feel free to link to, print off, redistribute, or reprint
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Parent-Provider Relationships | Supporting Parents | Child Growth & Development | Guidance & Discipline
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