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Parents, Providers Must be Partners for Day Care to be Successful

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RALEIGH — Many parents hand their children over to the care of babysitters, daily child care, and after-school programs. For this to be a happy arrangement, parents and providers need to become partners.

Parents expect day-care workers to form excellent relationships with their children. But another relationship needs to form between the parent and the child-care worker.

"I think that one of the things that parents have to remember is that it's a two-way street with the provider," says Stephanie Fanjul, director of North Carolina'sDivision of Child Development.

Trust begins by honoring the contracts.

Parents should expect open access at any time in the facility. The area should be safe, the workers are qualified, and the day care should offer no surprises, like a sudden change of hours or personnel.

Providers should expect parents to pick up their children on time, pay on time, give advance notice of schedule changes and to have a backup to the day care in case of an emergency.

Children are happiest when parents and providers see eye to eye. That takes contact, not contracts.

Brenda Farlow made it a point to know her daughter Meg's counselors and director at Raleigh's Central YMCA. That bond kept everyone afloat when a problem surfaced.

"Last year, we had a little problem with them being picked up late from school," Farlow says. "I had no problem calling and saying, 'I'm hearing feedback from school. Maybe we need you to get there a little earlier.'"

Farlow says the problem was no problem to solve because Allison Crumpler makes talking easy.

Crumpler even greets the family at the curb every day, with whatever news she has to report.

"So when they see us coming to their car, they're not fearful that it's a bad thing. They know we're going to come to them every day whether it's positive or negative," Crumpler says.

The daily exchange keeps everyone on the same page and lets children see parent and provider as a united front on their behalf.

Fanjul says parents of pre-schoolers should always greet the provider in the child's classroom, see where they spend the day, that cribs are clean, and that the place smells good since young children cannot tell their parents about the day's experience.

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Yvonne Simons, Reporter
Joe Frieda, Photographer
Julie Moos, Web Editor

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