How to Communicate With Childcare Providers

Young children drawing with a female daycare provider

Caiaimage / Robert Daly / Getty Images

To stay informed about a child's progress in daycare or to reinforce the skills learned in preschool at home, parents must effectively communicate with childcare providers or preschool teachers. Arguably all parents who've placed children in daycare, preschool or a similar caregiver setting have wondered which events in their child's life they've missed out on during the day.

"Did Bobby take three steps or 10 this morning?" they might ask. "Did Sally finally potty in her training chair? Was Alec able to keep his hands to himself during quiet time?"

Parents have an uncanny knack for wondering and worrying about even the smallest details in their child's life.

Communicating with childcare providers not only allows parents to stay in the loop about their child's activities and behavior throughout the day, but also helps parents reinforce the gains children have made in preschool.

Tips for Communicating With Childcare Providers

There is no surefire way to effectively communicate with childcare providers. In fact, many providers have already established a process to ensure they give parents adequate information about their children's progress. Providers typically send home daily progress reports to parents that go home in a child's backpack or notebook.

In these progress reports, providers may describe lesson plans, special achievements, behavioral models or what children ate at lunch. Parents of infants and toddlers especially appreciate such reports since age prevents their children from discussing the day.

Use the Internet as a Communication Tool

The Internet can help parents stay in touch with childcare providers or preschool staff. Some providers now offer video cams where parents can log onto a website and watch their child play. Some home providers have set up cameras and microphones, which they use to send live messages to parents on occasion.

Parents can also try emailing daycare staff to check in on a child or get a quick update. And if they're using childcare for an older child, parents can teach the child how to send simple messages on a cell phone, tablet or school computer.

Take Photos

Photos show parents exactly what they've missed out on during the day and particularly come in handy if an important event, such as performance, took place during preschool that parents want to see. Via digital cameras and scanners, childcare providers can share special events or parties with parents.

Parents may also provide photographs of a child's family or pet to display at school. This may prevent the child from becoming homesick while in childcare.

Make a Point to Meet Face-to-Face

Parents can visit the childcare center from time to time or help out with a school activity, such as lunchtime prep or a trip to the park. While visiting the preschool, parents can speak with childcare providers about the events that took place before their arrival.

The best way for parents to keep the lines of communication open with childcare providers is to foster a relationship with them.

Speak on a Daily Basis

Even when parents can't take time out of their day to visit a daycare or childcare center, they can stay abreast of what's happening with their child by seeking out information from providers every day. Even simple questions can foster stronger bonds between parent and child. By collaborating with childcare providers, parents can make the childcare experience a more successful arrangement for everyone.

By Robin McClure
 Robin McClure is a public school administrator and author of 6 parenting books.