Family Engagement for Relative Providers

Relative providers fill two special roles as both a family member and a provider for a child.

When a relative provider engages with a parent or caregiver using intentional, strengths-based supportive strategies for communicating and connecting, they actively strengthen the network of caring adults that contribute to the child’s healthy learning and growing.

Make A Family Engagement Plan

First things first: Make a plan! When one puts all their ideas, strategies, and goals on paper for their Provider Family Engagement Plan (PDF), they make a commitment to prioritize consistent communication, partnership, and the best support possible for the child in their care.

While creating the Provider Family Engagement Plan, consider the methods one wants to use to connect and communicate with parents and caregivers on a regular basis. Include ongoing, two-way communication strategies as part of the Provider Family Engagement Plan. Here are a few ideas:

  • communication apps;
  • email updates;
  • in person meetings;
  • newsletter;
  • phone calls;
  • photos;
  • text messages;
  • video calls;
  • written daily communication; My Day (PDF).

Need assistance creating a Relative Provider Family Engagement Plan and setting family engagement goals? Contact Trying Together at 412.421.3889 or for support.

Make the First Connection: Step Into the Relative Provider Role in The Family

Great engagement with caregivers begins in the first moments as a Relative Provider! Use the Provider Family Engagement Plan as a guide in setting the stage for great communication and connection with the parent or caregiver.


  • Set up a time to talk with the child’s parents or caregivers before care begins.
  • Ask about the child’s likes and dislikes.
  • Collaborate on a plan for copayments and pay dates before care begins.
  • Ask about a child’s allergies to foods or medications.
  • Ask about the child’s normal routine at home.
  • Discuss the parent’s or caregiver’s goals for the child.
  • Ask about the child’s special needs.
  • Ask the parent or caregiver what sorts of activities they enjoy doing with their child.
  • Ask the parent or caregiver if they want to discuss the child’s development.
  • Create a communication plan: Ask the parent or caregiver how they would prefer to communicate (Text? Email? Phone?)


Strengthen Connection: Deepening The Role of The Relative Provider

Family engagement is an ongoing practice! Stay engaged, stay connected, and continue to value Family engagement as an essential part of a child’s well-being.


  • Refer to Provider Family Engagement Plan to sustain communication and engagement with the family.
  • Commit to learning more about child development, health and safety, and play.
  • Know that understanding the importance of play is essential in providing excellent care.
  • Seek out free or low-cost professional development courses—in the community or online—for further learning.
  • Consider receiving CPR and First Aid Certifications.
  • Contact the local fire department to inquire about fire safety classes or information.
  • Learn about safe sleeping practices for infants.
  • Communicate daily with families—through text and photos of their child, email, or daily written notes.
  • Seek out training in using technology to communicate with caregivers if needed.
  • Register to vote and select candidates who support early childhood education


Child Development Milestones
Professional Development
Health & Safety

Support Transition

Support during transitions makes a big difference! Transition might mean when a child moves on to an early learning program, moves to a new town or state, or transitions to Kindergarten. These transitions can be stressful, but when adults partner together during these times, the process can become much smoother for all involved.


  • Anticipate the transition and set aside time to talk with the parent or caregiver about their plans.
  • Understand that a Relative Provider’s role is essential in supporting the child and their caregivers during the transition.
  • Encourage the parent or caregiver to reach out to the ELRC for supportive resources before and during the transition.
  • Make a transition plan with the parent or caregiver.
  • Encourage the parent or caregiver to reach out to school districts in their area if the child is transitioning into Kindergarten.
  • Access the school district’s readiness packet to share with families of children transitioning to Kindergarten.
  • Offer information about Hi5! to the parent or caregiver if the child is transitioning into Kindergarten.
  • Consider that family events like a new baby, a move, homelessness, or custody changes are important transitions.
  • Talk with the child about the change to come.
  • Support a child’s play scenarios relating to understanding the change.
  • Create or read a story with the child about transition to Kindergarten, a move to a new house, a new sibling, etc.


This is a resource from our Family Engagement Toolkit.

Browse the entire toolkit with resources for providers, relative providers, and families.


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