How Do You Communicate with Your Child Care Staff?

Communicate with Your Child Care Staff

Are you always wondering “Why doesn’t my staff listen to me?” or “Why didn’t she do it the way I told her to do it?”

What would you say if you heard them say, “What does she expect of me?” or “Why does she want us to do it like this when it works better if we just…”


Communication is the most basic component of every work relationship.

How would you rate yourself as a communicator with your staff?


When we examine communication in our own centers, we discover it is the:

  • Easiest component to mess up
  • Most difficult component to do correctly
  • Hardest component to fix
  • Most necessary component in order to succeed.

Communication is the foundation, the walls, the ceiling, the refrigerator and the couch of every relationship.

Without great communication …. you’re in trouble, but we alll take communication for granted.

We all believe that we are good communicators; some of us believe we are great communicators (but does our staff agree?).


The truth about communication –

there are as many ways to send communication as there are to receive communication.


  • We send via our words, eyes, body movement, tone of voice, clarity of speech, gestures, speed of talking — on and on and on.  Our “being” is a whole package of communication.
  • We send in writing via email, text, paper, posters, billboards – you get the picture.  A group of seven words can mean seven (or more) things to different people.  Example:
    1. I didn’t say you stole my money.
    2. I DIDN’T say you stole my money.
    3. I didn’t SAY you stole my money.
    4. I didn’t say YOU stole my money.
    5. I didn’t say you STOLE my money.
    6. I didn’t say you stole MY money.
    7. I didn’t say you stole my MONEY.


  • We hear words but we listen with our ears, eyes, nose, all of our senses.
  • We read words, if we can, and if we know what the word means, and if the writing is clear.


If we put together a matrix of how many ways communication is delivered vs. received it would be very large.

If we added the factors of how well it was delivered (scale of 1-10) and how well it was received, the matrix would be huge.

Now, just one or two more ingredients to add to the mix – not enough time, crying baby, bad attitude, missing staff member, sick child — take your pick!

In my opinion, it’s really a wonder that any level of communication works.

Here’s my final thought.  Without communication, there would be no center for you to run, no one to attend the center, no one to staff the center, no organization in the center, no child successes.

Really, communication is the entire infrastructure of your center.  You can build a center of twigs, straw or bricks — your choice!