Idaho CareLine: Dial 2-1-1 or 800-926-2588
Taking Care of the Care Provider
The Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children is a group of early childhood educators — preschool, child care, kindergarten — and other professionals, students and parents who share concerns for the young child and for providing quality early childhood programs and services.
For more information, contact the Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children at 1-800-574-2008 or by e-mail: idahoaeyc.
Provider Appreciation Day
The child care profession at large is one of the most under-recognized and underpaid professions in the country, and yet early childhood is the most critical time of development for our children and our future.
A day of recognition for providers is long overdue. Parents with children in child care are encouraged to take this day to show their child care provider how much they appreciate them.
It takes a special person to work in this field, and their contribution to the quality of family life frequently goes unnoticed.
Care Providers of little ones
the circle's wider for all you've done;
Care Providers, we're overdue
to take good care, care of you.
To anyone who provides care to a child:
Whether you are caring for your own child, your grandchild, or running a child care center/home, the role you have is awesome.
There is no way to place a value on the influence you have on the children in your care. You have the opportunity to make a lifetime impact on each child's future by providing a safe, secure, loving, and educational environment.
L. Alan Sroufe, Ph.D., and his colleagues at the University of Minnesota, found that children who receive warm and responsive caregiving and are securely attached to their caregivers, cope with difficult times more easily when they are older. "They are more curious, get along better with other children, and perform better in school than children who are less securely attached."
As stated in "Making Connections: How Children Learn", many factors appear to affect children's capacity to thrive in circumstances where others do not, but strong, secure relationships with consistent caregivers appear to be the most important. Research suggests that these secure, warm relationships have a protective effect, helping to buffer children from later stress. By the same token, children who are deprived of such relationships early in life are especially vulnerable to stress as they move through childhood, and may experience developmental delays.
Early care has a decisive, long-lasting impact on how people develop, their ability to learn, and their capacity to regulate their own emotions.
"Rethinking the Brain"
Families and Work Institute
One of the best ways you can provide consistent, quality care to a child is to also take care of yourself. As stated in "The First Years Last Forever" brochure, "Taking care of our children is the most important, most wonderful, and often the most challenging job in our society. When you provide the primary environment for infants and young children, your health and welfare are extremely important. When you are exhausted, preoccupied, irritable, depressed, or overwhelmed, you will probably have a harder time meeting the needs of young children."
"Rethinking the Brain"
Families and Work Institute
If you are a working parent and your child is in a child care setting, value and respect the person caring for your child. Tell them thank you (Often!), support their efforts and influence on your child. Do not feel guilt about not staying home. Research shows children do well in child care.
Find a child care provider who responds warmly and responsively to your child's needs. Do they care about children? Will they give your child individual attention and engage them in creative play? If you feel confident about your choice of care provider, you will have less worry and stress while you are at work.
If you are a child care provider, thank you, and congratulations for your dedication and love of children. You have chosen this career and it speaks highly of your desire to help shape children's futures. By your efforts to provide a safe, warm environment that offers interesting and challenging things to do, you foster development in all areas — cognitive, language, social, emotional, and physical.
Regardless of which "role" you fall into, make a commitment to "continue to learn." Take advantage of training opportunities, parenting classes, stress reduction methods. Meet and talk with others in your same situation — share ideas and tips. Read to the children, but also read for yourself (professional newsletters, parenting magazines, etc.) Be good to yourself. Feel appreciated.
The Early Childhood Information Clearinghouse is pleased to include the poem "Care Provider," written by John Cronin, Developmental Disabilities Supervisor with the Region II Infant Toddler Program, Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. He was motivated to write this song due to a sense that "together, we must find new and different ways to support and honor the important work of child care providers." We also thank Mr. Cronin for allowing us to share his poem with you.