Have you ever wondered how your child-care provider would grade you in these important subjects?
Communication: Have you explained clearly and carefully your wishes and expectations concerning the care of your child? Do you provide your caregiver with regularly updated information about your child's routine, activities, preferences, anxieties and home situation?
Do you listen carefully (and non-defensively) when your caregiver talks to you -- even if what she says about your little darling is not what you want to hear?
Expectations: Do you fully understand the expectations of your child-care provider and know exactly what you and she have agreed to? A written agreement between you and your caregiver is usually a good idea.
Trust: Although you need to be vigilant to safeguard your child, doyou trust your child-care provider to do the best for your child? Do you ask questions before jumping to conclusions when problems develop?
(You should feel able to be honest with your caregiver about how you believe the arrangement is working, as well -- whether your child is happy, and whether you are.)
Consideration: Your caregiver has to earn a living, too. Do you pTC always give her at least a month's notice if before taking a vacation during which she will receive no pay?
Your caregiver also deserves notice of any change in your arrangements with her. If you want your caregiver to feed your child breakfast, this should be discussed and agreed to ahead of time and an adjustment should be made in her pay.
Fairness: Your caregiver always should receive a month to six weeksnotice if you're going to make other arrangements. Too often the same working parents who'd be horrified if their caregivers quit with no notice commit the same sin.
Reliability: Do you pick your child up on time? Drop her off on time -- never early? Providers have personal lives, too, and should be able to rely on your dropping off and picking up your child at the agreed-upon times.
Follow-through: If you agree to provide diapers, formula or other supplies, do you bring them before they are needed? If you agree to donate a certain amount of time every month, can your caregiver(s) count on every minute of that time?
Conscientiousness: Have you agreed with your child-care provider in advance about when you can -- and cannot -- bring a sick child to her? Is it true that you would never bring your child if she/he were sicker than your caregiver has stipulated?
Prompt payment: Child-care providers have to pay rent and buy food, too. Do you do whatever it takes to ensure that your child-care bill is paid before any others?
Respect: Do you believe -- and behave as if you believe -- that your caregiver is a working woman, too? Do you recognize that a child-care provider is not just a baby sitter but one of the most important people in your child's life -- and yours?
Maturity: Your caregiver deserves to deal with an adult who's self-confident and mature enough not to be threatened by her child's attachment to another adult.
She should be able to deal with someone who's reliable and consistent and keeps her word, someone who is wise enough to know that a caregiver is much, much more than just another employee.
She's a partner, instead, in the most important job of all.