It’s that time of year again; rain clouds on the horizon threaten the hot summer sun, the first few leaves are changing color around the edges, and school has started up again for the fall. This is exciting!—you’ll have the kids back in your center in no time for a great new year. However, with these kids, of course, come the parents—and as we all know, some parents can be more challenging than others. Even the most amicable of guardians can become worried if an unexpected issue arises. Don’t worry though—we have you covered. Here are a few key tips for turning a difficult situation with a concerned parent into a positive and productive interaction.
First and most importantly, listen. Let the parent explain their point of view and express their worries. They’re coming to you because they want their concerns to be heard, which leads into our next point:
Repeat the problem to them. Restating the problem back to the parent in your own words assures them you heard what they said, processed it, and understand their concerns. And if you did miss something, or if the parent feels they weren’t heard correctly, they can recognize this and explain further. Sometimes, being listened to may be all a parent needs from the interaction.
Reassure the parent that you’ll do everything you can to address their concerns and rectify the issue. If you can tell them the details of how you’ll handle the situation, that’s even better; knowing your plan can calm them and give them a sense of control. And depending on the issue, don’t forget to explain the possible results—let the parent be prepared for various outcomes.
After fully discussing the issue, promise to follow up with them, and then make sure to do so. Especially if it’s a time-sensitive issue, let the parent know when they can hear back from you. Then when you do follow up in the time frame you laid out, it assures them the issue is one of your priorities and you’re actively doing your best to resolve it.
Finally, thank them for bringing the matter to your attention. Just like repeating the problem assures them you listened and understood, thanking them further assures them you’re taking their concerns seriously and value them and their child as part of your community.
We hope following these five tips helps make difficult situations easier for both you and your concerned parents. And don’t forget, at the end of the day, all parents want is for their children to be happy, safe, and engaged at your child care center.