Building a healthy relationship with parents is one of the biggest keys to a successful childcare center!
Parents place a huge amount of trust in you and your business by sending their beloved kiddo to your daycare center. They want to be sure their child is safe, happy and growing in their learning and development.
That’s why hearing about how things are going and getting feedback from the provider is so important. I know that, in my daycare centers, parents like to be involved and informed. They want updates and they want to know any concerns or pointers so they can help. They want to build bridges, and so should you.
Learn how to build great relationships with parents in your daycare
Building great rapport with parents
First of all, you want parents to know you’re always available and that you care about the well-being of their child. You make that clear through your professionalism, friendly manner and offering an open line of communication.
Secondly, as a provider, you want to be on the same page as parents with how kids are being raised. Get to know your parents and find out their beliefs, priorities and goals. Bringing a few elements of the home environment into your daycare center can help kids transition into their new place of learning. It also builds great rapport with parents.
This can include everything from cultural aspects of the children’s backgrounds to using a bit of native languages other than English that may be spoken at home (even just a few words go a long way). Even if you’re familiar with various kids’ cultural backgrounds, never assume you understand their parents perspective until you speak with them.
Talk to parents, find out what their youngster likes to eat and what they love to do at home! Discuss your learning strategies, games and philosophy on early childhood education with parents during the touring and introduction phase. Chances are, they will be eager to hear about your approach and contribute a thought or two of their own.
This helpful guide lists seven things to “be” in order for providers to have a healthy relationship with parents: Be interested, be humble, be respectful, be inviting, be a good listener, be positive and be creative.
Building a healthy relationship with parents as a provider involves reaching out to them and letting them know you’re always there when they want to reach out, too! This goes for crazy work schedules, too, and if you use Hopping In, make sure you let them know that they can see the availability of your daycare at all times and book the extra time they need.
The day is busy, so when do we get time for a chat?
We all know how busy it gets most days for parents and daycare providers. A chance to grab a quick chat may come up at different times, such as in transition between classes, at the beginning or end of the day, and at parent-teacher nights or daycare event days. Formal meetings are sometimes an appropriate setting, as well.
Providing feedback can come in the form of daily notes about when kiddos napped, ate or had their diaper changed. Various apps and software can help with this, and if you’re still struggling with filling your daycare center, take a look at Hopping In and what it can help you with.
Philosophical and curriculum discussions are also often good topics to bring up in newsletters and pamphlets that you can hand out or send to parents.
Don’t force it…
Not all parents necessarily want to have a heart-to-heart conversation. Sometimes they are just too busy.
No parent has an obligation to open up extensively about his or her kiddo to you or to spend time out of their day talking. The key is to make sure that parents know you’re around and listening and that you’ll be there when they want to talk. Reach out through a newsletter, parent-teacher nights or quick, informal chats. Ask how things are going at home. However, as I said, don’t necessarily expect parents to get detailed about their child’s education — it’s up to them.
But we all know there are those times when —
Well, those times when a subject just needs to be brought up. Sometimes there’s a problem that needs discussing. Maybe a little tyke has been sick or misbehaving. In these cases, of course, it may be necessary to have a word with one or both parents.
There are going to be times when parents are not doing what we believe is best for their child. This is a tough aspect of the childcare business and there is no easy answer. Remember that our priority is to keep kids safe, happy and growing to become the best future self they can be. If there’s a concern that involves parents, bring it up with them directly in a friendly and respectful manner.
Sometimes, however, we have to do our best on our end to accept that we can’t control how parents are going to parent outside the classroom.
Healthy relationships are built on trust and communication
I know it’s a cliché, but it’s true. As a daycare provider you’re entrusted with the humbling responsibility of caring for someone’s precious kids. Reward that trust by following the seven ways to “be” listed above. Keep open lines of communication so you’re always available to address and parental questions, concerns or feedback.
Building a healthy relationship with parents is vital. It’s enormously healthy for kids to be learning and having fun in a positive atmosphere. When their parents and their daycare center are on the same page, that’s a big boost.
Reaching out to parents and making sure they know they can always reach out to you is the number one way to build bridges. Healthy parent engagement is worth the time it takes.
In conclusion, the more you can learn about parents and their needs and goals, the more you can apply those to benefiting the learning environment you offer to their children. Building a healthy relationship with parents isn’t always easy, but it’s always worth it!
Author: Hopping In Blog
Sholom Strick is an expert on the business of running daycare centers and founder of Hopping In, a tool that helps childcare centers and family daycare providers fill unused spots.
To contact him or for media inquiries email firstname.lastname@example.org