Creating Partnerships with Parents
I recently helped my sister-in-law check out childcare centers in preparation for her return to work. What a scary proposition! She, and my brother, are entrusting their most precious "possession" to the care of someone else. Whether or not the parents of the infants in your care express this sentiment to you, never forget the awesome responsibility you have.
What do parents want from their infant’s caregiver? How can the caregiver support the parent & in so doing build a partnership for care? Research has determined three characteristics are the most important:
- First, let the parent know that you understand the feelings that come up. Your appreciation for the vulnerability they feel as well as possible worry, anxiety, & guilt will help to ease their stress. Many of their concerns and questions come out of these feelings.
- Second, demonstrate that you know what you’re doing as an infant/toddler caregiver. Your knowledge of child development will enable you to provide developmentally appropriate experiences. Sharing the “why” for your practices shows that you are thinking of best practices and reflecting on your own. Of course, it is given that you take advantage of every opportunity to increase your knowledge. In addition, being conscientious about health and safety practices will reduce the risk of illness and injury.
- Third, be honest in your communication with family members. Daily reports list the events that occur but don’t substitute for informal chats at the end of the day. Welcoming family members at any time displays your trustworthiness.
In the Program for Infant Toddler Care, we say "It’s all about the relationship." There are two important relationships to consider – the infant him/herself and the parents. Remember their need for understanding, their concern for competence, and the importance of honesty.
Program for Infant/Toddler Care. Protective Urges: Working with the Feelings of Parents and Caregivers.