40 Mom-Tested Tips for Balancing Work and Family


How to Build a Positive Relationship with Your Caregiver


7 Ways to be Partners
1. Look at your relationship with your provider as a partnership. After all, she is helping you raise your kids. My husband and I are lucky to have found one who shares our values and parents the same way we do. Our kids are growing into wonderful people, and we feel comfortable that they are well cared for in our absence.

2. Talk to your provider about any problems your child may be having. If there is a certain stage he's going through it helps to work through it together and come up with a plan at day care that meshes with your plan at home.

3. Always get your provider's side of the story. If you're upset about something your child has told you about his day, talk to your provider about it before making a judgment.

4. Trust your instincts. If something doesn't feel right about the way things are handled at day care, question it and don't let up until you resolve it. Talk to your provider about it. Or call the county to find out the laws. Many times, doing some investigating will put your mind at ease. If there really is a problem that you and your provider can't resolve, it might be time to find a new day care.


5. Don't sweat the small stuff. Realize that children are not perfect and that there are going to be days when they hit the kid next to them or refuse to share their toys. Unless this is a reoccurring problem, dismiss it. Everyone has bad days; children are no exception.

6. Bring treats occasionally for all the kids at day care -- and not just snacks. Our provider loves it when we bring little crafts or small toys for the kids. It gets all the children excited, makes our kids feel like heroes, and gives our provider a little break.

7. Be sure to keep your provider updated with current phone numbers and emergency contact information. And be sure to inform her of any changes in your schedule (e.g., someone else coming to pick up your kids or that they'll be late the next day). She worries about your kids too! --iVillager Donna

Drop By As Often As You Can
Get to know the day care director. It's much easier to initiate change with a friend than with a stranger. Our director maintains an open door policy, and I take full advantage of it by dropping by her office to say hello almost daily. I also have her email address and phone number on speed-dial and I try to participate in the parent's advisory committee, and any fundraisers the day care is involved in as a way to stay in touch.

Make sure that parent visitation is encouraged at your day care and drop in unannounced as often as possible. If you see something you don't like, take your concerns to the director immediately. Day care directors are there to oversee the smooth running of the entire facility. Your child is their concern, and you should never feel that the director won't have time to hear your comments or complaints. If you do feel that way, the ultimate recourse is to pull your child from their institution. A good reputation is difficult to maintain when word gets around that parents are unhappy.

--iVillager Sarah

Show Your Appreciation
Whenever I need to stay late at work, my babysitter is always happy to take care of my daughter and put her to bed. In addition to paying her for the extra hours, I bought her three cookbooks and some mixing bowls recently since I know that cooking is one of her hobbies. I wanted her to know how much I really appreciate her time and effort, not to mention the love and care she has shown my daughter. The fact that I can always count on her in a pinch means so much. --iVillager Jenny

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