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Children who hear similar messages and experience common reactions from all of the adults in their lives are more likely to understand expectations. Parents and caregivers working together present a ‘united front’ that helps children feel safe and develop more fully.
1. Keep a Journal
The daily hustle and bustle of the childcare environment can make it hard for caregivers and parents to find time and space for discussion. It can be helpful to create home-school journals to write notes, log behaviors, and track progress. These journals can be passed between caregivers and families so that all parties can stay up-to-date on important information when face-to-face contact is not possible.
2. Avoid Mixed Messages
Mixed messages from caregivers can be confusing to children and can lead to challenging behaviors. Be clear with any other adults you work with on your program’s specific rules and expectations, and encourage everyone to use the same language. For example, if you use the phrase, “We keep our hands to ourselves,” make sure that others use the same wording.
3. Invite Parents to Observe
Welcome parents to visit the program throughout the day. Observing your body language, tone, and the specific words you use to handle different situations can give them a better picture of your approach so that they can try it at home.
4. Share Practices and Policies
In order to establish consistency between home and school, you must be clear about rules and policies. Begin introducing parents to program practices by giving them a written guide and discussing it with them during their child’s orientation. Post class rules and share copies with parents so that they may have visual reminders of the content and wording of the expectations.
5. Welcome Additional Caregivers
Some families may rely on additional adults (grandparents, relatives, nannies, etc.) for childcare. Because these caregivers may spend a lot of time with the children it can be helpful for them to use the same approach you are using. Encourage parents to share information in regard to the program with them, and invite them to important meetings, special events, etc.