Whether you are leaving your child with someone at home or at a daycare, they need to be informed about your child’s everyday life. Even if it is a relative, they don’t know your child as well as you do and they may not know how to properly handle or avoid situations. Most parents leave emergency contacts, but a child with special needs require specific information. This is where writing a letter to your child caregivers can come in handy. They will understand your child better and know how to care for your child better. It will also bring a peace of mind to you as a parent. We put together a few things you can include so you can begin writing your letter with confidence in its abilities to make a difference.
First and foremost, make sure to include your child’s daily schedule. Children in general need stability and being thrown off their schedule can cause some stress and confusion, especially for a special needs child. Things you can include are meal times, activities they prefer to do, tasks needed to be completed, etc. Also, this can be a good time to warn caregivers of “set off” factors. Maybe your child expects a certain thing at a certain time and if the caregiver misses the time, your child could become very upset. Create a list of factors or situations where your child will become upset and explain on how to avoid them. Writing about your child’s daily schedule and factors that may upset them is crucial for creating a happy environment for your child and the caregiver.
The next thing to include is your child’s diet. If they have any allergies or restrictions be sure to point that out in the letter. Also, explain what to do if an allergic reaction occurs. Provide a list of foods your child likes and how they should be served. You can also include a list of foods your child can not have for whatever reason. This can avoid any confusion for the caregiver and make your child’s life easier and safer.
Your caregiver probably won’t be an expert on your child’s condition, making this the time to inform them about your child’s condition. You can write about their abilities and things they may be challenged with. This is critical for caregivers because knowing the child’s limits can become a huge safety concern. You can also list medications and how often they are given and the specific times. Even if the caregiver is off duty by the next medication dose, it is important they are aware so they can inform you of possible side effects or any other complications. Include anything else you believe is relevant to your child’s care; current doctors, therapy appointments, etc.
After you write the letter, your job is not done. The letter will have to be updated when changes occur. Minor or major changes can all have an impact on your child and it is important to keep it updated. Even if the caregiver doesn’t change, it good to keep the letter up to date for when there is a substitute or an unexpected situation. Go back and take a look at the letter every couple months to assure the information is 100% accurate.
But what is the value? Providing your child’s caregiver a letter can ease your mind as the parent. You will know that you have informed your caregiver to the best of your abilities and that your child will be taken care of. You won’t have to worry about how much the caregiver actually knows about your child’s condition because it is spoken about within the letter. You may also have a happier child because their caregiver will know how to handle certain situations and will know what activities your child enjoys the most. Writing the letter is worth the time and effort and may make life easier for everyone.
Overall, the letter will include many topics. Anything you may feel critical for caring for your child. This can include a daily schedule, diet restrictions, activities your child enjoys and doesn’t enjoy, important conditions your child may have, etc. The possibilities are endless and those are just a few things to get you brainstorming and writing. Make sure to update the letter as much as possible and it may just make life easier. If you have any suggestions on writing a letter to caregivers - we would love to hear them – just submit them through a comment.