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It Takes a Village: The Importance of Drafting and Coaching the Team Who Raises Your Child

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It Takes a VillageSuccessfully raising a child is no small feat. Not only are parents tasked with developing habits of healthy eating, sleep and communication for their little one, but finding the best players to support a child can be a challenge within itself.

Caregiver relationships: doctors, family, teachers, counselors and coaches all can be incredible influences on a child’s health, personality and overall well-being. It often takes a bit of research and a lot of action from the parents to get the child’s “team” performing at its best.

Whether single or working parents, one of the first relationships many parents find that they need to establish for their children is that of a caregiver. This may be a grandparent or other relative, or this may be a person or people who aren’t related to the child. In both cases, establishing clear expectations for “who does what” in terms of the child can greatly help everyone involved.

Family or caregiver conflicts often arise when a parent assumes the caregiver will take care of something, or vice versa. The same can occur when someone feels that the other has overstepped their bounds. Having a clear plan for childcare: meals, schoolwork, schedules and tasks, can help everyone involved to work together with ease rather than tension.

This can be a particularly sensitive issue in relationships where a family member is caring for their grandson, niece / nephew, etc. while mom or dad are at work. Caregiver feelings can be hurt if a parent wishes to break a family pattern, corrects an action the caregiver has taken with the child or questions decisions the caregiver is making. And a child’s parents can be upset for these same reasons, as well. In order to keep the best possible environment for the child, make sure there is clear communication between everyone involved around these issues. Also, address tensions as quickly as possible, so as not to let them grow and affect the children involved.

When choosing to have your child learn from and regularly interact with someone outside of your family (e.g. teachers, counselors, coaches, daycare, etc), there are a few actions you should take, often repeatedly, to make sure everything runs smoothly through this network of help.

Before purchasing a home or settling in an area, check the school ratings and seek out opinions of parents with children in the current school system. The same goes for doctors, counselors, daycares, etc. Past behavior often predicts future behavior, and if you find that the majority of the people experiencing any of these services are unhappy or question their child’s care, this is probably not the best fit for your child.

Once the A-okay is received from others, or especially if some concerns are raised in the process, don’t forget to regularly check-in with each of these providers. If you have questions, make sure you ask them. If your child comes home reporting something particularly good (or questionable) about their interactions with an adult, follow up with compliments or concerns. You are your child’s greatest advocate, so make sure you take this role seriously – There may be no better gift to a child than an involved (but not over-involved) parent.

Finally, and most often overlooked, make sure each of these different providers is interacting and communicating with each other as much as possible. If they can’t communicate directly due to time constraints, make sure you are communicating their messages for them. If the doctor is treating your child with a medicine that may make him temporarily fatigued or hyperactive, it’s important for teachers, caregivers and counselors to know to avoid concern. If a child’s struggling with a particular subject, peer or staff member in school, this can affect behavior at home or with others. The more the team communicates, the better the child can be understood.

Should you have any questions or concerns about your child’s behavior or how to draft the best team for your child, feel free to give us a call. We’ll be happy to help you and your family sort out any concerns you may have and to help you ensure that you have a successful plan made for your child’s community.