With some parents and carers, it is easy to develop a positive relationship, with others, not so much. Whatever kind of parents you have, here is a quick guide on how to build those bridges.
- Phone Calls
I know this is time consuming and not always the most desirable of jobs, but it’s worth it. Don’t just call with bad news, call with good news too. If parents aren’t picking up their child, you still need to find ways to communicate and a quick call at the end of the day is a good solution. When it’s bad news, be brave and call; if you don’t, you’ll be the one with an enraged parent first thing the next day saying something like, “Why wasn’t I told that my child….”
In your extremely busy and tightly packed schedule, squeeze in a few minutes in the morning to pop out before the bell rings and say “hello” to your pupils and their relatives. This avoids those awkward conversations when you say something like “I’m always here to help if you have a problem,” and they respond with something like, “When is that? Because I never see you.” It shows you are friendly and approachable and gives them an opportunity to talk to you about their concerns. Even if they don’t use it, you gave them the chance.
When your pupils are collected at the end of the day, do yourself a favour and call out a reminder such as, “Don’t forget to bring your PE kits tomorrow.” Although the school sent letters and reminders and you have probably reminded the children several times, that doesn’t always mean the message has gone through. Little reminders like this save you hassle and helps parents and carers feel informed.
At the end of the day, give parents and carers positive feedback about their child and, where appropriate, give them a bit of praise too, e.g. “Tom has been doing so well with his reading, it must be because of all those extra reads you are doing at home.” If you show appreciation, they’ll give it back.
- Reach out
We all have those parents and carers who are always in a rush; they stay as far away from the entrance as possible and start walking off as soon as they have their child in sight, but don’t just leave it like that. Those are the parents you need to try to talk to. They may not want to open up to you and that’s fine, but if you don’t approach them, they won’t approach you. Don’t make the mistake of assuming these parents simply aren’t interested, there could be many other reasons they aren’t approaching you including a lack of self-confidence or bad experiences from their time at school.