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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