Having a positive relationship with parents is an important factor to any childcare setting as it means that practitioners will be able to provide the best possible care and opportunities for children. We’ve done a bit of research and put together some useful ideas to help you improve this relationship.
Having open channels of communication with parents is essential to caring for any child; they might be suffering bereavement, be upset or worried, they might have problems settling in at nursery – anything bothering the child needs to be discussed between the nursery and the parents so that the situation can be dealt with effectively using a joint approach.
A lot of nurseries have also been opting for an ‘open door’ policy, which might be worth considering if your nursery is struggling to build this strong relationship. This policy allows existing or prospect parents to visit the nursery, look around, and join in with their child’s play, allowing parents to come into the nursery at any point re-enforces the trust needed for parents and practitioners.
These parent-practitioner partnerships are built on trust. Your nursery must respect the confidentiality of child information (excluding circumstances where the child is in danger), and this will ensure their trust in your setting, and parents will be more likely to share problems and worries they have about their child.
How can you build this communication and trust?
The EYFS guideline highlights that showing you’re supporting the learning and development of a child can help form parent relationships. You can achieve this by making a few simple changes within your setting:
- Put notice boards in your nursery and display pictures and information about what activities the children have been up to – another way to do this which is more accessible is to have a recent news or newsletter section on your website.
- Share the current curriculum with parents - by giving them access to what their children are doing parents will feel involved and they will also be interested in how much their child has learnt.
- When parents pick their children up, take 5 minutes to tell them what topics and games their child is enjoying most so that they can revisit these at home.
- Invite parents into the nursery so that they can share information about their culture and traditions; this also gives them an opportunity to see the environment their child is in every day and help them feel more involved, whilst teaching children about other backgrounds.
- Organise group information sessions that you can invite parents to so that they can find out what is going on in the nursery, how their children are performing and what plans are being implemented.
- Schedule regular one-to-one meetings with parents so that you can share more personalised feedback and provide them with the opportunity to ask questions.
- Allow parents to borrow books and games their child is enjoying so that they can share this with them at home.
- Share a few child development books that parents can borrow.
- Encourage parents to share their opinions and ideas about the nursery, this will help them to feel more involved in their child’s development.
How can you do this effectively?
Invest in a website. A website means that you can upload parent information at any point including images, newsletters, social events, and information evenings. You’ll also be creating a platform where parents can find information about your nursery 24/7. You could even add a forum so that they can leave you feedback or messages.
Use nursery management software to organise your information. Abacus also includes the add-on: Dayshare. This software allows your nursery to share a child’s day with parents, including how much they ate, how many naps they had, what activities they’ve done and even gives you the opportunity to share pictures. This means that parents can find out what their children have been doing throughout the day, securing their trust in your setting and strengthening your relationship with them.
Organise group sessions for parents. You can use this time to answer any questions the parents have, share any concerns, hand out leaflets and newsletters and to generally make parents feel more involved, enhancing their confidence in your service.