Predictors of Parent Engagement Based on Child Care Providers’ Perspectives

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




Child care centers and FCCHs.


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.


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


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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