Talking to Your Childcare Provider about Discipline

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Learn communication strategies to use when you need to discuss discipline with your childcare provider.

In an age where both parents often work or need time for activities that exclude their children, it is inevitable that at some point your child will be expected to respect the limits and rules set by other adults. Childcare providers, babysitters, or other family members will play a role in disciplining your child in styles that may or may not differ from your own. 

If your child is in childcare, you’ll need to pay special attention to whether or not your discipline style conflicts with that of your childcare provider, because your child spends a good deal of time responding to her standards. Yet expressing your views on how to manage the typical discipline issues that arise in childcare is often challenging. If you communicate abruptly and judgmentally, your provider may feel distrusted, affecting future interactions with you and possibly with your child; however, if you share this information with compassion and honesty, you are setting the stage for positive interactions in the future.

Make Connections in Times of Peace

Building a solid relationship with your childcare provider when things are going smoothly lays crucial groundwork, should issues arise later on. After all, the way you convey information—in the tone you use, the way you listen, and the words you choose—has a direct effect on the way a provider will interpret and implement the information you share.

Strategies for Discussing Behavior

While most of the behavior issues you’ll want to discuss with your provider will be simple, on occasion, you may need to meet with her to discuss an issue in more depth. You should strive to share information about your child’s temperament, as well as the strategies you use for successfully managing certain behaviors. It is your goal to work together toward a discipline plan that is effective for your child.

  • Get to know your childcare provider. It is easier to share feedback when you have a positive relationship going with her, and this makes it easier for her to hear your concerns.
  • Communicate often about your child’s positive attributes. At drop-off and pick-up time, share bits of information that add to the provider’s understanding of your child.
  • Give the childcare provider the information she needs in written format; don’t overload with extraneous details. Some parents use a small notebook in their child’s backpack to increase two-way communication.
  • Ask to meet with the childcare provider if behavior issues need to be discussed in depth.
  • Be empathetic and validate the childcare provider’s concerns. It is important that she know you are interested in correcting any misbehavior.

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