As you’re preparing your lesson plans and classrooms for the first day of school (which may have already happened for some of you!), keeping in touch with parents is probably on your mind. Communicating classroom expectations and other pertinent information at the beginning of the school year is critical to get everyone started off on the right foot. But once you’re done with the beginning of the year communications, your contact with parents shouldn’t happen only when there is a problem or when parent’s night hits the calendar. Keeping open lines of communications with parents throughout the school year helps keep them engaged in their student’s school life, helps keep the student on top of communicating their goals, progress, and needs with their parents, and will ultimately help keep your classroom running a little bit more smoothly, even if it takes a bit of extra thought at the beginning.
The handy infographic below takes a look at 8 tips and tricks for staying in touch with parents throughout the school year. How often and how do you keep in touch with your student’s parents? Weigh in by leaving a comment below, mentioning @Edudemic on Twitter or leaving your thoughts on our Facebook page.
8 Great Ways to Connect With Parents
- Focus on the positive, not just the negative. If you have to get in touch with a parent because their child is having a disciplinary or academic problem, don’t just call and tell them what is wrong. Start off with what is going right, which will help the parents feel like you’re not just attacking their child.
- Be consistently in touch – not just when things are bad. If you only ‘touch base’ when something has gone awry, the parents will cringe when they hear from you. Share successes as well as failures, and don’t forget general updates.
- Involve the student in communicating with their parents.When a student has to communicate a goal, success, or failure to their parents in their own words, it engages the student more in their own learning process.
- Skype or livestream when needed to keep the parents in touch. If parents can’t be a part of a performance or other school activity, enable them to participate via technology.
- Use technology like email and texting. This is less invasive-feeling and usually easier for them, making it much easier for them to respond to than a phone call.
- Ask parents’ opinions when it is appropriate. When parents feel as though their opinions are valued and that they’re being actively included, they’ll be more involved and more likely to be a part of your ‘team’ rather than being hard wired to argue with everything you say.
- Bring them into school to get them involved. While not every parent will be able to participate in on site activities, getting them physically there is a great way to get them involved.
- Collaborate with parents and find some common ground. It is very likely that you have some common goals as the parents. Talk with them. Find out what makes them tick and what they want for their student.