As mentioned above, you’ll want to know even before starting daycare what the communications plan will be: daily notes, verbal check-ins, parent-teacher conferences, photos sent by email, etc. “We got daily notes until the kids were out of diapers,” Julie Williams, the Executive Director of the American Independence Museum in New Hampshire, told me. “Now I notice that my kids’ teachers make it a point to chat with me each morning at drop of and each night at pickup.” At first she was annoyed by it (I need to get to work! I need to get the kids home for dinner!), but then she realized this connection was purposeful and important. “It was time to put us on the same page.”
Even if you’re nervous about rocking the boat, speak up if there’s something you’d like to see change, whether it’s more frequent communication or a different style of communication. (“I’d love more photos!”) Daycare providers want the families in their facility to be happy, but with dozens (or many dozens) of families to consider, they may not know how to make you happy unless you tell them.
Get your daycare providers’ cellphone numbers, not just for keeping lines of communication open about school but so you have a direct line in to them on days that daycare closes unexpectedly. “Our caregivers love to babysit on snow days because they otherwise don’t get paid for them,” one woman explained. “But you have to get to them before the other parents do.” She suggested teaming up with one or two other parents from the class to be able to offer a higher hourly rate.