More than ever, there’s an increasing desire among parents to be involved in their child’s education. When a child care provider is able to effectively communicate to parents what is being taught in the classroom, parents can facilitate the continuation of learning at home.
Not only does this help instill positivity into the process, but it also helps improve a child’s performance at school. Most parents understand this and support this; however, there’s often a lack of understanding that this engagement needs to begin as early as preschool where a child’s most important cognitive development happens.
This is where your competitive advantage as a child care provider comes in. As the facilitator of this relationship, you have the unique opportunity to set the tone for the kind of parent communication you want to have this year.
Of course, communication with parents is not without its challenges. From busy schedules to a lack of resources, it’s hard to get providers and parents on the same page. With these challenges in mind, we’ve put together this list to help guide you towards better communicating.
Set the Expectations at the Beginning of the Year
Looking back at last year and feeling like your parent communication could have been better? You aren’t alone. Child care providers often express a desire to have a better relationship with parents but can feel stuck.
Let the beginning of the year be the time to come in with fresh eyes and set expectations now so not only can you hold yourself accountable, but parents can too. Whether it’s how often you want to be speaking to parents or the medium in which you’d like to do, having these expectations set from the beginning will prevent conflict and frustrations later on in the year.
Let Parents Know You Can Be Trusted
There’s a lot of trust that goes into handing over your child to a child care provider while you’re at work. While we know you have best intentions in mind for the children in your classroom, and every choice is not without a purpose, parents often need that extra reminder.
Establish your trust with them from day one. Things like educational credentials and years or experience can go a long way with parents so have the confidence to communicate these things to them.
Avoid things like discussing children with other parents and avoid faculty-room gossip. Maintaining confidentiality for all children is crucial in establishing trust with parents and can make or break the reputation of your child care facility. All children have good and bad days and the way your classroom handles the bad days can speak volumes.
Improve Visibility into What Goes on Day to Day
One of the best ways to communicate with parents more effectively is to simply be more transparent about what goes on day to day.
Think about some of the most commonly asked questions you receive from parents:
What are you focusing on this year?
How can I help with my child’s weaknesses at home?
Have answers to these questions prepared, and even better, offer answers to them before ever having to be prompted. Parents will appreciate that you are thinking ahead, and it indicates a keen interest in their child’s development.
Consider integrating software into your parent communication strategy. With something like KidReports, that is specifically designed for child care and early education learning centers, educators can send daily reports, activity information, photos, and more, allowing parents to stay connected to their children throughout the day and provide a level of visibility that many centers don’t.
Treat Parents as Your Partners
When it comes down to it, parents know their own child best, and you should use this to your advantage. Look at your relationship with parents as a partnership where both parties want their child to succeed.
Parents can offer valuable feedback on things like new activity ideas and healthy snack suggestions – however, remember that these are just suggestions.
As a child care provider you have ultimate decision in what goes on in the classroom. Lead confidently and assure parents that you will inform them immediately if they have any concerns regarding their child and encourage them to do the same.
Having effective communication with parents will always be a challenge, but don’t let this stop you from improving your strategy each year.
With these tips in mind it is possible to create a positive line of communication where providers and parents can both express themselves. Everyone has the same goal in mind – to create a positive environment for children to learn and grow in.
Looking for the right solution to help improve parent engagement at your child care center? Learn how Procare can help!