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Prevent Child Abuse: Tips to Help Keep Your Child Safe in Daycare
by Darlene Barriere
(Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada)
Four things parents can do to protect a child in daycare:
1. Spot check the daycare regularly, unannounced
Quality caregivers welcome impromptu visits. It provides a sense of security for parents and ensures openness between caregiver and parents. If a caregiver insists on being notified prior to a visit from parents, run don't walk from that daycare. This is a huge red flag that the caregiver is trying to hide something.2. Connect with other parents of the daycare
Keep a dialogue open with other parents, off the daycare premises.
The idea here is to share information, and possibly alert other parents of potential problems or dangers. Consider regular parent meetings in an informal setting. Encourage discussion that is positive; don't make the meeting strictly a rant session or a witch-hunt. If you do, you'll miss some wonderful sharing opportunities. What the caregiver is doing right can be just as important as what the caregiver is doing that raises concerns. And don't be afraid to praise the caregiver when you discover he or she has been a good influence in your child's life.
If any parent suspects child abuse, report it to the appropriate authorities. Do not take matters into your own hands.3. Ask open-ended questions of your child
"Tell me about your day" will likely yield a more detailed response than the "Fine" you would get asking "How was your day?" or the "Nothing" you would get asking "What did you do today?" If your child still doesn't share, don't probe. It could have the opposite result you are seeking.4. What to do if your child discloses inappropriate treatment
First and foremost, stay calm. Your response can adversely affect your child and the way he or she deals with what happened at the daycare. Remaining calm will help your child to stay calm. Give yourself permission to have your breakdown later, away from and out of ear-shot of your child; at this point, your child needs you more than you need to lose control.
Don't ask probing questions of your child. It could jeopardize the outcome of a formal investigation.
Report the disclosure immediately
to the appropriate authorities.
And last, provide the necessary support your child requires. If warranted, provide your child with access to the services of a trained professional.
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