Working as a childcare professional means interacting with children, families, co-workers, and sometimes childcare specialists. It is important to maintain open and honest communication with all those involved at your centre. It is especially important to establish comfortable relationships with the families of the children you work with.
Establishing positive relationships with families will allow for collaboration between you and the parents of the children in your program. Creating mutual trust and respect will insure parents feel comfortable talking with you about their issues and concerns regarding their children. They will also be more likely to accept your professional observations and inferences about their child’s development. It is also more likely that parents who feel comfortable with you and your team will participate in the program’s events and experiences, contributing to the programming and planning in the centre.
Create a Welcoming Atmosphere – It's important to allow family members to participate freely in the centre's activities. Invite family members to ask questions and to explore the centre. You can provide explanations about the activities and how they link to the program. Show the family member different projects that their child has participated in and any displays such as art that the child may have worked on.
Have Open Communication – It's so important for you to have open communication with parents about their children's developmental needs. Parents have a right to know what is happening with their child. So if you have any behavioural issues or concerns with a child, talk to their parents using positive messages based on solid observations and knowledge of typical child development. At times, it may seem like parents don't take the time to communicate with us. However it's our responsibility to build up the lines of communication before there is a need to talk about any difficult situations. This can include newsletters, personalized notes, child communication books, questionnaires, surveys, suggestion boxes, etc.
Create a Room Notice Board – This will allow you to share experiences and messages with families on a daily basis. You can add the weekly program, daily photos, children's birthdays, child / parent input of the program, newsletters, and any messages or important information that you can share with the families at the centre. Just remember that this will be seen by all families, so only provide general information that will benefit all families.
Source: Aussie Childcare Network. (2009). Building Positive Relationships in Childcare. AussieChildcareNetwork.com
Retrieved from www.aussiechildcarenetwork.com/childcare_relationships.php on June 10, 2013.
Contributed by Nicole Livingstone, Intensive Resource Support Worker
~ Aisling Discoveries Child & Family Centre ~