How do I find out about my child's day at preschool?

Q: So our daughter started preschool this week. She is 2 yrs and 4months old. We work long hours so we do not see the teacher in the morning or when we drop off. Has anyone ever created a "Checklist form of how your child's day was" for the teacher to fill out daily? Like ate breakfast, ate snack, had a BM, didn't nap, in a checklist format? My daughter has a GI issue and we need to really know if she ate and went to bathroom. Give me your thoughts. Concerned Mom

A: Dear Staysia1:

There are probably many checklist forms out there for day-care workers, but my suggestion would be for you and Dad to approach your daughter's needs individually, since pre-existing forms probably won't have the focused information that you need.

My suggestion is that you touch base with your pediatrician to brainstorm exactly what items your daughter's daycare needs to communicate to you each day. If her issues relate to her GI tract, you are probably not interested in broad general daily concerns such as "Shared toys nicely today" which many other families might want to know. However, it should be easy for you to create a fairly simple form which is individualized for your daughter, and to copy this form on a computer printer. The shorter and simpler the form, the more likely it is to be filled out and returned to you properly.

Next is the tricky part: you need to make a formal appointment with the head person at the daycare. When you get there, explain that you have a really serious need for basic medical information each day. Show the head person your checklist form, and ask for their cooperation in getting the hands-on staff to fill it out and send it home with you. You are dependent here upon the motivation and the good-will of the daycare staff, so being diplomatic and respectful in asking for their help will be key. Meeting the teacher once face-to-face, or having a heartfelt phone call with the teacher, will also help cement the communication channels. Buy the daycare staff a box of doughnuts every few weeks to express your thanks.

Because your work makes many demands on your time, it is not so easy for you to manage this communication plan easily. However, staying on top of exactly what information you need, working with the daycare staff diplomatically, and keeping up with follow-through arrangements will help you succeed.

Good luck!

Elizabeth Berger MD Child Psychiatrist and author of "Raising Kids with Character"

Answered by Dr. Elizabeth Berger

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