Developing meaningful communication between parents and child care providers.

The following tips can help set the stage for meaningful communication between parents and child care providers:

  • Recognize that effective communication might take more time at first.
  • From the beginning, build a trusting, open relationship based upon clear, honest, compassionate communication.
  • Let the parents know you care about and enjoy their child. All parents want their child to be liked by others.
  • Practice a positive attitude – attitude is contagious.
  • People from varying cultures may have different assumptions about communication styles, but people from all cultures appreciate kindness and courtesy.
  • Address questions and concerns when they first arise.
  • Ask yourself, “Will this message strengthen the parent partnership?” or “How do I pose my concerns and questions without straining the relationship?”.
  • Organize your thoughts before talking with the parent.
  • Schedule times and a place to talk away from the child.
  • Ask the parent questions that might help you understand the parent’s point of view.
  • When facing criticism or complaints, avoid being defensive. Show calmness and willingness to meet a parent’s need.
  • Pay attention to your body language, making sure your posture and movements reflect friendliness.
  • End conversations with a plan so that each person can get what he or she needs from the communication.
  • Sometimes it is helpful to let parents know you want to take time to think about an answer to a question or a request they have.
  • Make your program and physical environment “communication friendly” by emphasizing. communication at orientation; point out bulletin boards or special posting spots and how they are used; use short, routine newsletters to share information, and have a “note drop box” or designated place for parents to share written information.
  • Find out what method of communication works best for the parent-in person, telephone, e-mail, or journal.
  • Make parents feel welcome at any time.

Return to Talking with Parents for Childcare Professionals.

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