Parent - childcare teacher communication
In your role as a teacher in an early education child care center, there is one extremely important thing you should be working on daily. Since we are often so preoccupied with the 500 other things that need our immediate attention as a child care teacher, we can overlook this one important item…. The strength of your relationship with the parents of the children you care for.
The strength of a teachers bond with the parent impacts positively in so many areas:
A parent will instantly know if their child has a connection with their teacher, and when this connection is apparent, they can relax knowing the teacher will do whatever it takes to ensure a safe and nurturing environment for their child. Because of this, a parent will return to a child care center despite any issues that may occur if they know, hands down, their child’s teacher loves their child.
Weight of responsibility
As described by an up-and-coming teacher, "It can be overwhelming as a teacher to grasp that you may be spending more time with someone’s child daily then their own parent." That’s a weight of responsibility many teacher carry heavily each day. Ensuring the teacher is not just trying their best, but being intentional with their parent communication will help with this burden. Also, as parents leave their children for extended periods of time each day, there's often large amounts of trust that must occur between parent and teacher. Parents oftentimes carry feelings of guilt when they think about how much time the teacher is spending with their children, and teachers have a tendency not to realize the level of guilt family members can experience.
Relationship of influence
A teachers relationship with the parent will also influence the bond with the children. Kids are very observant, and if they sense disrespect, uneasiness or tension, between the parent/teacher, they may mimic that behavior with the teacher, act out, or be uncomfortable in their care. The parent is the teachers direct line to the ensuring balance in the child’s behavior in the day care classroom. Parents provide the insight to the inner workings of their child’s life. If teachers can plan on better understanding and better preparing for what the kids in their classroom are going to need, they can become better teachers. Who wouldn't want that?
I would challenge every new teacher to consider their relationships with the families at your center. What are you doing in your classroom routine to build a strong bond with the children in your care? What are you implementing in your communication with your parents to gain trust and insight? If you have the parents support, you're going to succeed in your position because the parents are the backbone of any upstanding child care organization. You’ll leave work more fulfilled, enriched and engaged.
Consider developing a communication plan on how you can improve your interactions with each family member. Be intentional! For each child in your care, write a list of every family member you communicate with. Write goals for each adult connection you are accountable to. These goals will be different if it’s mom or dad versus the occasional aunt that may pick up the child. Share your plan with your center Director or co-teacher to hold you accountable. Reset goals monthly as you grow in your relationship with you families.
If you would like additional advice or support on this topic, consider emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our child care blogs.
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