As Early Care professionals, we know the importance of being able to effectively communicate with the families of children that we serve; we, nor they, can read one another’s minds and as with any good communication strategy we shouldn’t try. According to A Parent’s Guide to Family-Friendly Child Care Centers, Children’s Center, Boise State, 7, “Family-friendly child care is all about relationships, and relationships are all about communication. The most important goal in family-friendly centers is for staff and parents to work in partnership. Staff regularly involve parents in decisions about their child’s care and education. In addition, they keep parents informed about their child’s daily life and progress in the classroom in order to increase the parents’ understanding and appreciation for what is going on with their child. Staff keep the lines of communication open in a variety of ways.”

Some of the ways we can encourage meaningful interactions between staff and parents might include:

  • Greeting parents and children in the morning and saying goodbye in the evening. Additionally, this is a great time for conversations and information-sharing.
  • Sharing information about meaningful daily events related to the child. For infants and toddlers, there is daily written communication to parents about the individual child’s daily activities; for older children, there is daily written communication about the group’s activities.
  • Phoning or e-mailing throughout the day – include pictures when allowed. There are even online communication forms!
  • Leaving notes or questions in journals or logs used by parents and staff.
  • Leaving written notices in cubbies.
  • Sponsoring individual parent conferences.
  • Writing newsletters.
  • Providing more than one way to communicate with one another (e.g. using several ideas from the list above or creating your own idea).

As we all know, children can display different parts of their personalities at home and other parts at child care and at times how children act and react can depend on a variety of factors (sleep, weather, travel, hunger, illness, etc.). This is why constant and consistent communication between families and their child care programs is essential. Children deserve to have the people caring for them – their families and child care providers – on the same page!

 

Tags: communication, positive interactions, relationships

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