You know you should prepare for your child's caregiver conference, but what exactly do you want to know and what should you ask? Here are 10 important questions to ask so you can gain a better understanding about your child when he is apart from you.
1. How Does My Child Interact With You?How does the caregiver interact with your child? Ask! To gain more information, ask the provider to describe how your child gets his needs met from an adult or what she does when she is feeling a certain way. The answer the provider gives should give you some initial insight into their relationship.
2. How Does My Child Interact With Other Children?This question is somewhat vague, so you may want to build on it based on the initial answer received. What you really want to know is if and how your child socializes with others. If your child is shy or does more self-play than group-play, follow up with questions about whether this is normal for your child's age or if there are any special concerns.
3. Does My Child Follow Instructions?Does your child listen to the teacher and follow instructions? Does he put his toys away when asked? Does she follow in a line or other rules as requested? If your child's caregiver indicates that this is a concern, parents can help their child learn that following rules is a requirement.
4. Does My Child Share With Others?Does your child share and take turns? The answer to this question helps parents to learn their child's basic social skills with same-age friends.
5. How Do You Administer Discipline?Have you discussed behavior modification with your child's provider and do you share the same approach? Consistency of disciplinary tactics helps your child learn consequences and avoids a child believing he can act differently with different adults.
6. Does My Child Finish Tasks?Does your child finish what he starts? If she asks to make a project, does she complete it or become bored easily? What is his attention span? Can your child follow complex instructions (two or more steps...first this, then that)? Sometimes, children need additional explanation or prefer a certain learning style. These discussions can help encourage techniques to create success and follow-through.
7. What Are My Child's Strengths? Concerns?Find out what your provider finds most special with your child. And also ask about areas of concern. Don't consider this fishing for compliments; but only for better understanding the qualities that make your child so special.
8. What Skills and Tasks Should My Child Master?While every child is different, there are essential skills and developmental milestones that are typically common within an age group. Ask your child's provider how your child is measuring against these specifications, but always remember that they are simply guidelines or typical standards, and are not necessarily reflective of a concern.
9. Who Are My Child's Friends?Ask about your child's friend preferences. The information may prove valuable for play dates or parties, but also helps to give parents a better idea of a child's sociability.
10. What Does My Child Eat?The answers to this question often surprise parents. Interestingly enough, children will devour a food in a group setting that they may otherwise refuse to even taste at home. Get tips from your child's caregiver; perhaps your child will readily eat broccoli if it is served with ranch dressing. Or, she'll eat a peanut butter and strawberry jelly sandwich, but not one made with grape jelly.