How to raise issues with parents as a childminder
Whether you are a childminder, nanny or an au pair, from time to time behavioural problems may arise with the children within your care. Speaking to parents about their children is never an easy task - ask any school teacher! But it doesn't have to be confrontational or negative. By putting the child’s interests at the centre of discussion and keeping it calm and considerate, both the childcarer and parent can strive for a constructive and positive outcome in addressing children's behaviour.
Tips on speaking to parents
Before you commence work as a childcarer, it is important to outline, within your contract, how discussions about potential problems will be dealt with in the future. By outlining a plan of action for these scenarios, such as an evening phone-call or a short meeting arranged each month, you and the parents will both be prepared to deal with the issue.
- When these scenarios arise, choose a place and time (for phone call or meeting) that is suitable for both: a quiet time where you can both discuss issues in private - away from the children.
- Before you begin discussing issues with a child always begin by focusing on the positives and strengths of the child. By letting the parent know what the child does well, you are reassuring them that you have are aware of their child’s strengths, and weaknesses.
- Be prepared for emotions. Remember you are speaking about someone’s child whom they adore and may already feeling upset that they cannot be around them 24/7. If the parents are aware of a child’s behavioral problem they may not have felt able to talk to anyone about it until now. Be supportive but remember this is a discussion not a blame game. Keep calm and give both you and parents time to respond in a respectful way. On the other hand, if a parent was not aware of a child’s behaviour, then give them time to absorb and respond to this information - they may wish to think about it and come back to you at another time.
- Watch for signs that parents are becoming stressed, if this information is difficult for them, ask if you can call back or arrange meeting to give them time to respond.
- Remind the parents that you are speaking with the child’s best interests at heart and you want to continue caring for this child in the best possible way, where everyone is happy.
For whatever reasons, children may ‘act-out’ with a childminder and parents may genuinely not experience that behaviour at home alone. Remember if parents say ‘he never acts like this at home with us,’ be prepared to remind them that it is perfectly natural for child to ‘act-out’ with a caregiver from time to time, but as part of your role as a childminder you are obliged to address this.