Building good parent-carer relationships is one of the best ways to support your child’s early learning at child care. Communicating with child carers and getting involved in the child care service are great ways to start.
Strong relationships with child carers and educators: benefits
When you have strong and respectful relationships with child carers and child educators at your child’s service, there are lots of benefits for you and your child.
To start with, strong relationships put you in a great position to give carers the information they need to help your child get the most out of child care.
Also, if you have positive and respectful relationships with carers, it gives your child a great ‘model’ of how to be and behave with other people. And if your child sees and copies kind and respectful relationships, he’ll learn to act this way in his relationships with others too. So it’s good for your child’s social and emotional development.
Finally, building good relationships with carers is a way of showing interest in this part of your child’s life. And when you show interest, it helps your child feel valued and important.
There are benefits for you too. They include:
- feeling that the carer is interested and understands when you talk about your child
- feeling comfortable to raise concerns and work out solutions with carers
- knowing what’s going on at the child care service
- being able to influence programs and feel that your opinion is valued.
Getting started on strong relationships with child carers and educators
You can start building relationships with child carers and child educators before your child starts child care and also in the early days of care.
Here are some ideas to help you get started:
- Find out how the service is run. Knowing how the service is run helps you know what to expect and understand your carer’s perspective.
- Visit the centre to get involved in activities or to watch what’s going on. For example, you could go to ‘get to know you’ sessions and parent nights.
- Let carers and educators know what you like about the centre.
- Ask carers and educators how you can prepare your child for child care. Are there tasks your child needs to be able to do or rules she needs to be aware of and follow?
- Give carers and educators some tips on how to care for your child. For example, ‘Ina eats best with a spoon’.
Communicating with child carers and educators
Once your child starts child care, communication with child carers and child educators is key to strong relationships.
This can be as simple as introducing yourself to your child’s carers and saying hello and goodbye at drop-offs and pick-ups. Over time you’ll learn their names and if you’ve forgotten, it’s OK to ask.
This lays the groundwork for talking to carers about your child and his interests, likes, dislikes and special needs. When your carers get to know your child like this, they can better support his learning and development and give him quality care. They’re also in a better position to let you know when your child has a really good or bad day at care.
You won’t always be able to talk to carers face to face, but you might be able to phone, email or write notes instead.
And remember that child carers are like everybody else – they’ll feel good if you tell them they’re doing a good job!Things that child carers want to know about your child
Your child’s carers will want to know about:
- things your child is interested in
- things that make your child happy, sad, worried or afraid
- times when one of your child’s parents is away
- times when there are big changes in your family – a new baby, a death, a separation or divorce.
Most families go through hard times at some stage. If you’re having trouble at home, consider asking the staff at your child’s program for information or referral to someone who can help.
When there are problems at child care
Sometimes there might be problems you want to discuss with your child’s carers and educators – for example, problems with lost items or your child’s toilet training,
If you already have a positive relationship with carers and educators, these issues will be easier to raise and quicker to sort out.
Many problems will be easy to sort with a note or a phone call but some might be more serious. If a problem won’t go away or is more complicated, you might need to work on the problem with your child’s carer or educator. Our article on problem-solving strategies for parents and teachers takes you through steps you can use to get a positive outcome.