The way you communicate with your students’ families effects positive interaction between you and the children in your care. And, the way in which you interact with parents, can affect the extent and quality of their involvement with their children’s learning at home.
Even when your relationship with a parent is sincere and positive, sharing the care of a young child can often stir up strong feelings. It isn’t uncommon for parents, at one point or another, to feel a twinge of fear that their child might grow to love his or her caregiver or teacher more. By building a strong communication relationship from the very beginning, this can help the parent feel at ease when they drop off their child with you.
Below are some tips to help you establish a good form of communication with parents that will give you both a good experience while their child is in your care.
It’s important to be available to parents whenever necessary. Parents can give you insights to the child’s strengths and weaknesses, which can be used as a starting place for when you’re forming a relationship with their children. Informal chats during drop-off and pick-up times can do a lot to build trust and give you time to set up an appointment if you need to discuss any issues.
Only sending emails and notes home when the child behaved poorly can be discerning to the parent and your young student. When you let the parents know that their child helped a friend out or learned how to count to 20, this helps to establish not only a great relationship with the parents, but it will also help form trust with you and the child.
Start a Newsletter
Create a monthly newsletter that you can customize by having the children decorate the border, feature a “star student,” class activities, pictures, student accomplishments and/or include tips to help in various subjects. For infants and toddlers, send out an email with photos and fun facts about your students. For example: “It only took Lily two tries to get the right blocks into the shape cube during play time today!”
Collaborate with Parents
Developing a plan together on how to handle an issue helps you move forward as partners, instead of competitors. For example, if you are trying to teach children not to hit when they are angry, but the parent hits her child to discipline her at home, you can use “I” statements, like “I know we are both concerned about Jessica hitting other kids when she’s here.” You should also ask for the parent’s viewpoint on the situation, such as, “What are acceptable ways to you for Jessica to express her angry feelings?” Lastly, learn to compromise with each other and find ways to solve any issues with their child.