Daycare or daily child care can be a beneficial arrangement for both children and parents. While parents are able to go to work or get things done kid-free, children are learning valuable social skills. However, the transition to allowing someone else to care for your child can be a tricky one. Differing opinions and personalities can sometimes lead to conflict – but that doesn’t mean you need to “break up” with your daycare provider. Here are some tips to help resolve conflict that may arise during daycare:
Research. One of the easiest ways to avoid conflict all together is to choose a daycare that you already know aligns with your values and parenting methods. Interviewing several different providers will allow you to get a sense of who’s style is most similar to your own, and will allow you to decide who you feel safest leaving your child with. Example: If you want your child to get more individualized attention, a large daycare may not be for you.
Communicate. Open communication between parents and childcare providers is essential in avoiding confrontations. If you absolutely don’t want your child eating sweets or watching TV, you need to make this clear to your provider. At the same time, it is necessary to understand that parents and daycare providers may have different ways of doing things. The important thing is that your child is still receiving quality care. Don’t hesitate to communicate if questionable situations do arise – usually you will be able to talk things through before they reach the point of conflict.
Share. As important as it is to communicate about your concerns, it’s also important to communicate about the positives as well. Openly show your appreciation for your child care provider, and make sure to voice the things they are doing that you like. Maybe they went out of their way to make your child a gluten-free lunch, or made sure to save them their favorite toy. Don’t just hear about your child’s day through your child, hear about it through your provider as well.
Timing. If a conflicting situation does arise, always bring it up to your provider sooner than later. It is important that issues be resolved before they have the chance to grow into something bigger. Be respectful and don’t try to have such an important conversation standing in the doorway with your child tugging on your leg. Set up a specific time where you and your provider can chat without distractions.
Separate. As difficult as it is, when discussing conflict, you have to separate emotions from content. It’s so easy to feel highly emotional in situations regarding your child, but for the sake of mending conflict you must try to focus on the content and come up with a solution. It’s key to avoid blame when having these conversations – try saying “I feel uncomfortable with the amount of TV Jack is watching”, rather than “You are letting Jack watch too much TV.”
Check in. Once you feel like you and your childcare provider have agreed on a solution, give it time to take place. Check back in with your provider to determine if the solution is working for all parties involved: parents, child and provider.