Parents should seek a solid relationship with a day-care provider from the start. Follow these tips from Amy Newmark, senior parent counselor, and Randi Schneider, corporate manager, of the
• Spend time on the front-end. Research potential day-care situations in depth. Talk to a provider’s references. Closely review each provider’s contract. Be sure late fees, sick-care policies, vacation days, holidays, contract termination and other issues are clearly spelled out. Many policies are required by the state for licensed providers.
• Choose a provider who makes communication a priority. Look for providers who give regular, written progress reports on your child. To get a sense of how the provider communicates, ask his or her references this question: “When there was a difference in opinion, how did the caregiver respond?”
• Make time for communication. Figure out when it will be easiest to talk with providers about issues at home or at day care. A daily sharing of information about naps, meals and the child’s mood is best.
• Follow the chain of command if a serious problem develops. At a day-care center, talk with the child’s teacher first, then the director. At a family day care, talk with the provider, plan a specific course of action and time frame. If the provider does not respond, contact the