Predictors of Parent Engagement Based on Child Care Providers’ Perspectives

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Abstract

Objective:

Determine the predictors of child care providers’ parent engagement regarding child nutrition in child care centers (CCCs) and family child care homes (FCCHs).

Design:

Cross-sectional.

Setting:

Child care centers and FCCHs.

Participants:

Child care center directors (n = 337) and FCCH providers (n = 1,153) completed a self-administered survey.

Main Outcome Measures:

Fifteen variables were examined as predictors for parent engagement: providers’ perceived barriers to communication, participation in Go Nutrition and Physical Self- Assessment in Child Care, National Association for the Education of Young Children accreditation, participation in Quality Ratings and Improvement Systems, feeding practices, and professional development.

Analysis:

Structural equation modeling examined the relation between variables for CCCs and for FCCHs.

Results:

For CCCs, NAEYC accreditation, providers’ perceived barriers regarding parents’ cultural beliefs about food, parents not liking the taste of healthy foods, and parents prioritizing other food-related topics over healthy eating significantly predicted parent engagement. For FCCHs, participation in Go Nutrition and Physical Self- Assessment in Child Care, perceiving parents to be busy, not wanting to offend parents, and practicing family-style dining were significantly related to parent engagement. For both CCCs and FCCHs, professional development regarding child nutrition was related to parent engagement.

Conclusions and Implications:

Focusing professional development on child care contexts and addressing providers’ perceived barriers may improve parent engagement.

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