Early Childhood Education Journal

, Volume 40, Issue 5, pp 265–274 | Cite as

Parent–Caregiver Relationships Among Beginning Caregivers in Canada: A Quantitative Study

  • Gilles Cantin
  • Isabelle Plante
  • Sylvain Coutu
  • Liesette Brunson


Despite the importance of establishing meaningful parent–caregiver relationships, little is known about these dyadic relationships among beginning caregivers, who often feel insufficiently prepared to build successful alliances with parents. The present study examined the congruence between parents’ and beginning caregivers’ perceptions of their mutual relationship, as well as the role of five factors hypothesized to influence the quality of this relationship: type of child care center (for-profit or non-profit), caregiver teamwork, child’s age group, caregiver’s parenting experience, and caregiver’s professional experience. A sample of 166 parent–caregiver dyads reported on their perceptions of three indicators of their relationship quality: confidence, collaboration, and affiliation. Although parents and caregivers were generally satisfied with their mutual relationship, there was relatively little agreement between parents and beginning caregivers regarding relationship quality; the magnitude of the correlations between parents’ and caregivers’ perceptions of relationship quality was quite small. On average, parents reported higher levels of confidence and collaboration than did caregivers. Parents and caregivers had more similar perceptions of relationship quality in non-profit child care settings, with caregivers who were less experienced, and when caregivers did not work in teams. Additionally, parents reported closer parent–caregiver relationships in for-profit centers, when caregivers had more experience, and when caregivers worked in teams. These findings provide some insight about the factors that predict parent–caregiver relationship quality. They also highlight the need for increasing communication between parents and beginning caregivers in order to ensure parent–caregiver relationships that parents and caregivers perceive more similarly and positively.


Early childhood education Child care center Parent–caregiver relationship Beginning caregivers 



This work was supported by a grant from the Québec Fund for Research on Society and Culture to the first author.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gilles Cantin
    • 1
  • Isabelle Plante
    • 2
  • Sylvain Coutu
    • 3
  • Liesette Brunson
    • 4
  1. 1.Département d’éducation et pédagogieUniversité du Québec à MontréalMontrealCanada
  2. 2.Département d’éducation et formation spécialiséesUniversité du Québec à MontréalMontrealCanada
  3. 3.Département de psychoéducation et de psychologieUniversité du Québec en OutaouaisSaint-JérômeCanada
  4. 4.Département de psychologieUniversité du Québec à MontréalMontrealCanada

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