Caring for Family

Back to Work: Building Strong Relationships with Your Child’s Caregivers

Back to Work: Building Strong Relationships with Your Child’s Caregivers

Are you considering starting a new job or adjusting your work schedule? As your baby grows, you may start thinking about your plans and goals for the future. If you have a nanny or family member caring for your baby while you work, you may need to line up a different caregiver if circumstances change.

You want the best for you baby, and if your childcare needs change, you want to feel confident and prepared to make the right decision.

Choosing a Caregiver for Your Child

Before you start your search, take time to identify what you want in a childcare provider. If you are considering multiple options (in–home daycare, child care center, hired nanny or a friend or family member), think through the potential pros and cons of each situation.

The process of selecting a childcare provider is a tough job — it can be more intense than job interviews! In addition to finding a solution that fits your budget and schedule, you need to ensure a safe environment that will meet your child's needs, with dependable and trustworthy caregivers. Here are some factors to consider when choosing a childcare provider:

  • Plan a visit. Set up a visit so you can see the space and ask about the staff, security, discipline, meals, naptime, outdoor play and emergency procedures. Was the place clean and bright? Did the staff seem caring and attentive?
  • Ask about staff to child ratio. Florida state statues require that child care providers not exceed the following staff–to–child ratios:
    • Children under 12 months — 1 to 4
    • Children 12 to 23 months — 1 to 6
    • Children 24 to 35 months — 1 to 11
    • Children 36 to 47 months — 1 to 15
    • Children 48 to 59 months — 1 to 20
    • Children age 60 months or older — 1 to 25
    The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends lower maximum staff–to–child ratios:
    • Babies up to 12 months — 1 to 3
    • Toddlers 13 to 35 months — 1 to 4
    • Preschoolers age 3 — 1 to 7
    • Preschoolers age 4 — 1 to 8
  • Caregiver qualifications. What education, training and experience does the child care provider have? Are caregivers CPR–certified?
  • Program licensing/accreditation. Is the center licensed or registered with local government agencies? Is the program accredited by a national organization?
  • Parent feedback. Ask for references from parents you can contact. Also talk to parents you know who've used daycare and ask about their experiences.

Building a Trusting Relationship

Communication is key to ensure a smooth transition for your child and build a positive relationship with the caregiver. When you choose a childcare provider, you are entering into a new partnership.

  • Connect with your child's caregiver at the beginning or end of the day. Ask about how things are going for your child, including the highs and lows of the day.
  • Set up regular meetings with your child's caregivers to discuss your child's progress, developmental milestones, nutritional needs, etc.
  • Voice your concerns if your expectations are not being met. Offer feedback on strategies that are working well.
  • Get involved in special events at your child's daycare center. You might stop by and read a book aloud to the children. Getting involved allows you to see firsthand what's going on in the childcare environment. It's also an opportunity to show your support for the childcare providers and the important work they do every day for children.