Children often spend their day with teachers and child care providers just as much as their parents, which means intentional, open communication between parents and providers is an important aspect of quality care and successful outcomes. Providers are knowledgeable in early education and development, and parents are experts on their own child.
Whether you’re a parent looking for tips on forging that relationship, or a provider who wants to take their communication to the next level, we’re glad you’re here to learn more about strengthening communication in early childhood education settings.
Here are a few ways to open new avenues of communication and bring more purpose to the ways you communicate with providers.
Let’s start with what’s happening now. If a teacher or provider has scheduled touchpoints with you to discuss how your child is doing, this is the time to have a conversation — which means you should come prepared with your own questions. It’s easy to forget to prepare for these touchpoints, especially when you’re not leading them. Consider asking questions like, “What is my child’s favorite activity? Are there any social issues I should know about? What can I do at home to help?”
Between these touchpoints, there can be other ways to check in with your child’s provider. A good starting point is asking them what their preferred method of communication is, like texting, scheduled phone calls or face-to-face interaction around pick-up or drop-off time.
Consider the nature of your conversation and how long it may take: Is it a quick hello or expression of gratitude? That may be appropriate for a short text or face-to-face chat. Is it a concern about your child? Schedule a sit-down or phone call. Teachers and providers really do want to communicate with parents, but their attention is first focused on the children in their care, so be respectful of their availability by asking ahead of time before broaching a topic that could take more than a few minutes to discuss.
If you’re a parent on the search for a new provider, we recommend using Step Up to Quality’s free Find a Provider tool. This online resource will help you find providers near you who are enrolled in Step Up to Quality — which means they’re committed to strengthening the quality of their practices and are held to our quality communication standards. Check out our visitation checklists that include conversation starters for infants, toddlers, preschool and school-age care settings, too!
There are many ways to communicate with parents, which you can learn to improve in depth when you enroll in Step Up to Quality, but here are some thought starters.
Are you taking the time to check-in with individual parents about their child’s development? Newsletters, social posts and blog posts are great ways to showcase your center as a whole, but it takes regular one-on-one communication with parents to strengthen their trust in your care and success in their child’s development. Decide what frequency and form of communication works best for you and your children’s parents, like weekly text touchpoints, daily app updates and monthly phone calls.
How are you building positive relationships with parents? Inevitably, challenges will arise when caring for children. If a relationship is established prior to issues, it helps parents and providers face them as partners with a solutions-oriented mindset. Learn more from the nonprofit Zero to Three about ways to examine how you approach problems and communicate them to parents.
We’re committed to improving early child care and education in Nebraska. Our coaches are ready to guide you on your journey to higher quality. Learn about the benefits of enrolling.