What is Your Role in a Childcare Partnership?


  • Remember that childcare providers are operating a business! They have business expenses that they must pay each month. Pay on time and in full.
  • Do not bring sick children to the centre or home. Your child can make other children ill. Find alternate arrangements if your child is not feeling well unless you have made arrangements with your provider.
  • Make sure you provide a contact number for yourself or another contact in case of an emergency.
  • Pick up and drop off your child on time. Let the provider know if the times they are needed have changed.
  • Be sure to let the provider know about any important changes in the child’s life. A disruption at home increases the chances of a change in behaviour in other areas of the child’s life.
  • Make appointments with your provider to discuss important things. They are busy at drop-off and pick up times, at meals, at play times.
  • Providers often provide general information by way of newsletters, bulletin boards, or notices sent home with the child. Please be sure to check for these on a daily basis so that you know what is happening at the centre or home.
  • Do not discuss your child’s behaviour problems or problems with the child care service in front of your child.
  • Bring issues to the attention of the provider tactfully and in a time set aside for that purpose. Avoid rude and loud confrontations. Put all decisions in writing.
  • Review all policy manuals and regulations on a regular basis


It is unrealistic to expect a problem-free child care relationship. Every relationship has challenges. There are some steps that can be taken to avoid problems or help when problems occur.

Discuss problems and issues with the provider as soon as possible. Use a low key, non-threatening, non-abusive manner.

  • Keep track of your child’s behaviour.
  • What do the “experts” say a child will do at your child’s age?

Be aware of the following red flags. Red flags are signals that there may be a problem with your child care arrangement. A combination of many red flags should be a sign to the parent that their arrangements may not be working out.


  • Show a reluctance or fear (other than the normal not wanting to leave a parent) to go to centre or home even after they have been attending for awhile?
  • Have a loss of appetite or a noticeable change in sleep patterns (e.g. trouble falling asleep, sleep more than usual, have nightmares, start wetting the bed again)?
  • Seem unusually upset or fearful of the providers and/or other children in the centre or home?
  • Physically stay away from or withdraw from the provider?
  • Get upset easier than usual or cry more than usual? Seem withdrawn, have less energy, or is being more aggressive (more hurtful in action or words) towards other children?


  • Let the children scream and fight in the background while talking with you?
  • Speak harshly or negatively to you or the children?
  • Stop you from moving out of the doorway when you drop-off or pick up your child?
  • Become angry or make excuses when you calmly ask about your child?
  • Speak negatively about other children or adults?
  • Seem to avoid you or refuse to tell you about your child’s day?
  • Refuse to clean the facility or provide normal safety features for children?
  • Seem to have lost interest in providing care and early learning experiences for the children?
  • Have more children in the home or centre than is allowed? (ratios for centres and homes are listed on this page)


  • Identify the problem. What do you want to solve?
  • Be clear of your position. What are you willing to let go and what will you not change?
  • Explain the problem in a clear, calm way.
  • Listen to the provider. Proper listening means that you are not defensive or thinking of how to answer the person while they are talking. It means really paying attention to them. It means repeating what they said using your own words to make sure you understand his/her position.
  • Try to find many possible solutions and choose the solution you both think is the best.
  • Work with your provider to create a plan of action? What will you do, what will the provider do?
  • Put the plan in writing, both of you sign the plan, and each of you keep a copy.