As an early childhood educator, you likely have many students who have never been in a classroom setting. This can also mean that parents are separating from their children for the first time. It’s a new and exciting time for everyone, but it’s a big change.
It’s important to build relationships with parents so you can learn more about your students’ needs. Parent-teacher relationships help facilitate students’ academic and social-emotional success. The more you know, the more you can help children learn and grow.
Read on for more information about how you can effectively communicate with parents.
1. Establish communication early
When a new student enrolls in your class, it’s important to start to build that relationship with his or her parents right away. How can you do this? One way is to simply be clear and open about how you will communicate with parents about their child. Parents will likely have questions about communication as they tour the center, so be prepared to answer them then. It’s also good to touch base on the first day and remind parents about how you will keep them up to date.
Your preferred method of communication is up to you, but be aware that parents may have their preferred way of communicating too. Whether you like to touch base at the start of the day or communicate at pick-up, talk about how you will keep parents informed, and how often. Then, do your best to maintain those expectations. After all, parents want to hear from you too!
2. Listen to parents’ viewpoints
When talking with parents about their child, let them be an equal part of the conversation. Be open and encourage parents to make recommendations and ask questions. They know their son or daughter best, and their viewpoints can help you determine next steps when addressing problems or concerns.
For example, if you have a child who is biting in your classroom, ask parents what they do at home if they notice this behavior. Are there strategies that work at home that you can implement in the classroom?
Listening to parents is crucial for effective two-way communication. They care just as much about their child’s academic success as you do, so let them be a part of the conversation.
3. Be trustworthy
What are parents most concerned about when leaving their child with a new teacher? Trust. Every parent relationship you have should be built on trust. This will take time as you build these relationships, but there are things you can do to establish trust from the beginning.
- Respect confidentiality for each child and family.
- Touch base with parents often. A little note or a brief conversation at pickup can go a long way.
- Address concerns about the child right away. Don’t wait until parent-teacher conferences.
- Be considerate of parents’ concerns. Listen and work together to come up with a solution.
Take time to establish trust, and you’ll find that it will be much easier to work with your classroom parents.
View parent-teacher communication as an opportunity to learn more about your students. Together, you and your classroom parents can help your students succeed. Read more about how you can help students reach their full potential in your early childhood classroom.