One of the most important components of quality child care is positive communication between the provider and the parent. Communication though, is not always easy because we think of it in terms of meaningful discussions and intelligent conversations. But if we look at communication as William Ross did in his famous quotation, "Words are the best medium of exchange of thoughts and ideas between people", we see it is not really complicated at all. It is simply a matter of a few words here and there.

The words most commonly used with regards to positive communication between a provider and a parent are:

    * Mutual respect
    * Trust
    * Cooperation

Providers want and deserve respect for the work they do. Their job is one of the most important in our society for they are tending to the needs of our young. Their work is tedious - and the responsibility they bear is enormous.

* Parents also deserve respect - both in their role as a working parent and in the way they raise their children. The guilt they carry for leaving their child's care in the hands of someone else is stressful, as is their constant worrying about their child's well-being.

* Trust! Parents trust a provider to teach their child the basics, to be warm and affectionate, to ensure their child is safe and happy. Providers trust parents to keep them informed on their child's well-being, to pick their child up on time, and to pay for their services on time.

* It is the cooperation portion of the four simple words that demands the most work. It takes effort to talk to each other, especially at day's end when everyone is tired. But saying just a few simple words can open up worlds of conversation. And conversation is a way of expressing thoughts and ideas, even problems.

How's It Going?

A few simple words like "How are things going?", "Janet is so happy here." Or, "Gee, I'm looking forward to payday (hint hint) so I can get some new toys for the kids," breach a code of silence that could work against all the hopes and dreams one has for the child. So, perhaps just for tomorrow, take that second and speak just four little words. Provider - parent, it doesn't matter who speaks first. What matters is that you talk.