Studies show that family engagement is crucial for early childcare programs to really have an effect in a child’s development. To get parents on your team, you need to build a relationship based on trust, shared information, and communication. Here are our best practices for creating lasting partnerships with the parents at your childcare center:
1. Be transparent about how their children’s days are structured, what activities they’ll be participating in, and what they’re learning at your center.
It doesn’t make much sense to expect parents to reinforce what their child learns at daycare if they aren’t fully informed. Breaking your lessons into learning units will prepare young learners for grade school, and it will also give parents an easy-to-follow syllabus to engage their child with at home.
How you structure each day should also be communicated with parents. Psychology Today explains that adults need to lend children structures and patterns that allow them to respond to complex situations that they aren’t able to navigate on their own yet. You want parents to be able to replicate the structure that their child experiences during the day. That’s why we added the Child Tracking feature to the SmartCare app—so that parents can see the progress of their child’s day in real time.
2. Invite parents to open houses or other events, and encourage children and parents to bring their own traditions and cultural touchstones to share with the class.
Trust is a two-way street. Creating a common understanding at your childcare center requires that you understand where each of your families are coming from. Using show-and-tell and cultural events to encourage children and their parents to share their own traditions with the class will increase empathy and respect for diversity at your center. Become known as a center that incorporates all of your children’s backgrounds for a shared sense of values and community.
3. Share the information that you are using to inform your center’s pedagogy and approach to childhood development with your parents.
This seems intuitive, but when it comes to keeping parents informed, it’s far better to over- communicate than under-communicate. Provide them with the same resources that you are using to guide your center’s philosophy and practices. Better still, pass along information that is tailored to their individual child’s needs, challenges, and goals. Demonstrate that they chose your center because you’re the childcare partner they need.
Are you reading this post and thinking, “That all sounds nice, but in the middle of my crazy days I just don’t have the time for extra communication?” With a childcare software program, you can accomplish this and so much more. Check out our infographic that breaks down how the right software will free up the time, energy, and money you need to improve your center and turn the parents at your childcare center into your biggest fans!