10 Things Expected of Child Care Providers


1. OPEN COMMUNICATION: Give parents frequent and full updates on the child's progress and problems. Let them know what is happening with their child during the day so that they can develop ways to deal with problems or build on activities and accomplishments of the day.

2. OPEN ACCESS TO YOUR HOME OR CENTER: Parents must be welcome to drop in any time, even without calling. You should allow parents to make a reasonable number of phone calls to check on their children's well-being, in case of illness or if there is a special problem such as separation anxiety.

3. SAFETY FOR THE CHILD: Take all possible precautions to keep children safe. This includes plugging the light sockets, putting away knives and other sharp objects, closing off stairways and using only safe and well-maintained equipment, among other basic safety measures. It also includes always using child-safety seats and seat belts when transporting children in cars.

4. HONEST AND CONFIDENCE: Don't make commitments that you can't or don't intend to keep. Don't cover up problems or accidents that occur. Don't gossip about the child or family to your friends or co-workers.

5. ACCEPTANCE OF PARENT'S WISHES: Abide by parent's wishes on matters such as discipline, TV watching, food, adult smoking and toilet training. If you feel that you can't abide by these wishes, tell the parents before agreeing to care for the children.

6. ADVANCE NOTICE OF ANY CHANGES: Since it is often difficult to find adequate care, tell parents well in advance if there are going to be changes in your hours or prices or if you are going to stop or limit the time of caring for a child. Parents need at least a month or, better yet, six weeks' notice if you are no longer going to care for a child. Except in the case of an emergency, parents should be given at least two weeks' notice even if you won't be available for just one day.

7. NO INTERFERENCE IN THE CHILD'S FAMILY OR FAMILY PROBLEMS: Providers shouldn't talk to children about their family's problems, lifestyle or values. Likewise, the provider should be careful not to take sides in any family disputes, such as custody battles. The provider should not try to impose their religious or other beliefs on the children.

8. NO ADVICE OFFERED UNLESS ASKED FOR AND NO JUDGING OF PARENTING PRACTICES: Don't criticize or advise parents on child rearing unless your advice is asked for by the parent. Don't set yourself up as an expert on parenting. If parents ask for advice, offer it in a non-critical way. Of course, if you see something that is seriously wrong with how parents are raising their children, such as child abuse or malnutrition, discuss the problem with the parents, and, if needed, contact legal authorities.

9. ASSURANCE THAT EVERYONE IN CONTACT WITH THE CHILD IS TRUSTWORTHY AND PROPERLY TRAINED AND SUPERVISED: You are responsible for everyone who enters, visits and works at your home or center. This includes screening custodial help, not admitting strangers to the home, seeing that all workers are properly trained and that all visitors, including your friends or relatives, are supervised.

10. NO SURPRISES: This means that you won't suddenly tell your day care parents that since you have a part-time job, your teenage daughter will watch their children three afternoons a week. Surprises are what parents fear the most.


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