Today’s early learning classrooms have a unique opportunity to connect with parents in a wide variety of ways. Whether you chat with parents via an early learning app, send regular messages via email, or deliver messages through a simple phone call, parents can easily receive timely information to stay in touch with caregivers.
However, with so many different modes of communication, it can be difficult to know the best way to connect with individual families. Finding out what works best for parents can help to ensure that you are connecting in a convenient and supportive way.
A Simple Question for Parents
When parents drop their children off into your care, they are counting on you to deliver helpful, timely updates on how things are going with their children. However, depending on their line of work and responsibilities throughout the day, parents will often have different preferences about when and how to receive information. To ensure that you are providing information in a way that is helpful and supportive of their needs, you might ask parents a simple question: How would you like to receive information and updates about your child throughout the day?
Some parents may prefer a phone call, while others might prefer a text, an email, or a message through an app (if your program uses one). Some parents might even prefer that they get information about their child’s day through a check-in conversation at pickup. The question can be presented during an intake meeting, an annual survey, or even just in casual conversation with a parent who tends to be difficult to reach. Whatever their preferred method is, it will be helpful for you to know so that you can be sure you will be able to connect. If you use the parent’s preferred method of communication, it is a lot more likely that you’ll receive a response.
Bridging Preferences and Policies
Of course, it is important to remind parents that there will be times when a phone call may be necessary for more urgent or pressing matters, such as if their child was injured or is not feeling well. If your center has communication policies that have been working well, they should be kept up for the other families who have come to rely on them.
The goal in presenting this question to families is to learn more about their communication style to see if their preferences can be accommodated in your program. Consider the feedback that you receive from families, and see if there is a way to communicate that works for both the parents and for you!