Parent Participation Packs a Punch

Looking for a few good reasons why you should bother becoming more involved in your child's care? Consider this.

    * Parent involvement is one of the key components of high-quality child care.
    * Participating in the centre's or home's programming makes the facility and the caregivers more accountable to parents.
    * Increased participation creats a forum for openness and communication between the caregivers and the parents.
    * Children who see their parents trust and enjoy the facility and the caregivers are themselves more trusting and willing to participate in activities.
    * Knowing more about the centre or home and caregivers helps you feel more confident in your choice of child care arrangements.
    * Children learn by example. Your participation teaches your child(ren) the value of community involvement.

Making Time

"That's all well and good," you say, "but I don't have a lot of time, I can't just pick up and leave work whenever there is a field trip or theme party." The truth is, no one expects you to. It is the little things you can do to help out that packs the biggest punch.

Your strong back, new ideas, even your willing hands enhance a facility's capabilities in many areas. What's more, you don't have to wait to be asked to help out. Most caregivers and directors welcome your offers to join the board of directors, leave little notes like these child care tips on the bulletin board, bring in scraps of wool or other craft materials.

They cherish your offer to be the official "cake baker" for holidays and birthdays. They'd love for you to show up for that Saturday morning outdoor play-yard face-lifting session, or you might even help to organize "parents night".

And if you enjoy puttering with your computer, you might consider putting together a newsletter for parents and caregivers. Certainly no one would object.

Or you could simply spend an extra ten minutes before or after hours to tell your caregiver how much you appreciate her work, or that silly joke you heard at the office water cooler, or that bit of information that would enable her to take better care of your child.

Caregivers, whether they work in a large centre or at home, want you to help in whatever way you can. Participation shows you care. It builds trust and respect. Best of all, it really does make a difference.