As an early childhood educator, the relationships you foster with the children and families you serve is at the top of the priority list. Here are some helpful tips to make the most of your conversations with parents.
Tip #1. Learn the names of the parents and the names of their children.
This seems like a no-brainer, but it can be tough when you’ve got a lot of parents and families to get to know. Knowing their names and the names of not only the child you care for, but also their siblings, helps them feel like their family matters to you. Greet them by name, ask about other family members, and it even helps to learn their pets’ names too!
Tip #2. Figure out the best ways to get into contact with each other.
While parents often fill out paperwork with contact information, it doesn’t hurt to ask them directly. For example, “I send updates and newsletters each week through email, do you have an email that you’d like me to use?” If you’ve got social media accounts or a class Facebook page, make sure they are aware. Drop off and pick up times aren’t always the best time to connect, so sending home a note about their child’s day helps build that connection.
Tip #3. Keep them in the loop with what is happening in the classroom.
General updates and class newsletters are great, but make sure you’re reaching out with a personalized and individual approach regularly. This helps build the relationship and allows for more meaningful conversations. Don’t wait until there is an issue that needs attention. Communicate small, seemingly mundane tidbits about their day too. “I have to tell you, Greta made us all laugh at lunch time because she told us a silly joke. Her sense of humor brightens our day!”
Tip #4. Be available for a mini conference if needed.
Parents want to know that their child’s caregivers and teachers are available to discuss concerns or issues at any time of year. This does not need to be a long meeting, but can be a 5 minute chat over the phone or through email. The more of a relationship you’ve been able to foster, the more productive these conversations are.
Tip #5. Make sure they know you care.
The key to any meaningful conversation you have with a parent is to make them feel that the staff love and care for their child. Making sure that you demonstrate this from the very beginning is important. Build a relationship with their child, facilitate meaningful connections with the parents, and don’t let too much time go between check-ins. Remember, the small actions you take to build a relationship over time, the more meaningful the conversations you’re able to have.
Bonus Pro Tip. Automate your center with best-in-class parent communications!
High-quality communication between staff / teachers and parents is key to customer acquisition and retention. Parents want to have the same seamless experience when managing their child’s care as when pre-ordering their morning coffee. From a daily news feed of their child’s activity to milestone achievements, real-time messaging with their child’s educators will always make your families feel connected with what matters most.
Christina is a blog writer and early childhood education content specialist at Kindertales.
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