Ten Tips for Developing Positive Relatonships with Parents
1. Smile When You See Parents
Greet them. Most parents only occasionally interact with teachers so make sure that at least 90 percent of your encounters with them are positive, warm, and friendly. The impressions left from fleeting encounters in the hallway last a long time.
2. Learn Their Names
Learn how they like to be addressed by their first name and how to pronounce them correctly.
3. Declare Your Intention
Tell parents that you want to partner with them, that you appreciate their support, and look forward to working together.
4. Communicate Often and in Various Forms
Provide information about what’s going on in your class (weekly would be ideal): what children are learning, what they’ve accomplished, what you’re excited about, what they’re excited about, and the learning and growth you’re seeing. Suggest things that they might ask their child about: “Ask them to tell you about what they learned last week about meal worms.
5. Make a Positive Phone Call Home
Call all homes within the first couple of weeks and then at regular intervals throughout the year.
6. Lead with the Good News
Give positive praise first when calling parents or meeting with them to discuss a concern. Every kid has something good about him/her. Find it. Share it. Then share your concern.
7. Find a Translator
If you can’t speak their language, seek a translator for at least one parent conference and/or phone call. For obscure languages, you can sometimes find a refugee center or other public agency that can help. Reach out to those parents as well; do whatever you can to connect.
8. Your Language is Powerful
It communicates an awareness that there are many different kinds of families. Be careful not to assume a mother is, or isn’t married, or even that if she is married, she’s married to a man. Learn to ask open-ended questions and understand that sometimes parents/guardians might not want to share some information.
9. Ask Questions about the Child
“What kinds of things does he enjoy doing outside of school? Who are the special people in her life — family or family friends? What do you think are her best characteristics? What was he like as a little boy?” Demonstrate an interest in knowing your student.
10. Listen to Parents
Really listen. They know a whole lot about their kid.