5 Parent-Wrangling Secrets Every Childcare Professional Should Know

It can be challenging.

Maintaining strong relationships with parents. You know it’s critical, but that doesn’t make it easy.

Parents are so emotionally invested in their children they can’t always see straight.

Using a few simple strategies can make all the difference, so here are 5 strategies to strengthen your relationship with parents.

1. Stop, Look and Listen

Whenever possible, stop what you’re doing and look at parents when they’re talking to you. This communicates that you’re really listening to what they have to say.

Let the parent finish speaking and then check your understanding by paraphrasing what you heard.

Paraphrasing can seem a little strange at first, but it’s actually reassuring for the speaker. It shows you’ve heard them, and it helps clarify their thoughts. They can hear what they told you and confirm it’s correct.

2. Get Curious

Try to understand the parents’ perspective, even if you don’t agree with what they’re saying.

You can do this by getting really curious about their thoughts and feelings. You might try saying something like, “It sounds like that was frustrating.”

It’s also useful to use open-ended questions to ask for additional information if you need it. Open-ended questions give people a chance to expand on what they’re saying rather than just saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’. For example, “What did you mean by saying he was mucking up?”

3. Respond, Don’t React

Often when we’re rushed or busy we say things in the heat of the moment. It’s OK to pause and consider your response first. It’s also OK to defer the conversation until you both have more time.

Get used to using ‘I’ messages. They keep you focused on how you’re feeling about the situation, rather than blaming, or focusing on what you want parents to do.

It’s important to keep your comments in the present. Don’t bring up issues from the past. If the issue keeps happening, move on to finding a solution.

4. Address Problems Now

We often have to raise concerns with parents, and it’s never easy. But problems don’t go away by themselves, so it’s important to address them before they escalate.

The most important thing is to be open and honest with the parents. Explain exactly what the issue is and why it might be a concern.

Check what parents think about the issue and whether they’re concerned about it. Ask if they experience the same kind of issues at home.

5. Work Together Where Possible

When you’re looking after children it’s natural that there will be concerns from time to time. Whenever there’s an issue, it’s important for you to work with the child’s parents, as a team.

Try to show an interest in the parents’ welfare as well as their child’s after all, the problem is likely to impact them too.

Offering solutions is a consultative process. Ask for parents’ opinions and then brainstorm as many solutions as possible. Once you’ve got some ideas, jointly evaluate the pros and cons of each solution to find what works.


How To Harness the Power of Critical Reflection

Confusing isn’t it?

Understanding critical reflection and knowing how to use it to implement a childcare program.

What is ‘critical reflection’?

How is it relevant to childcare?

How do you use it to meet Element 1.2.3 of the NQS?

It’s all so … difficult.

But it doesn’t have to be. There’s really three simple steps to getting it right.

So let’s unpack them, shall we?

1. Unpacking Critical Reflection

The first step is to unpack what is meant by ‘critical reflection’ and what is expected of educators in relation to the National Quality Framework.

This needs to be done effectively so you can distinguish between evaluation, reflection, and critical reflection. Once this becomes clear, you can apply the critical reflective process to a range of practical context and issues.

Getting crystal clear on this also allows you to identify a range of strategies for recording and documenting critical reflection.

2. Strengthening Early Childhood Programs

Critical reflection is more than just a process to be followed. It’s doing reflection at a more conscious level.

Critical reflection is the process of analyzing, reconsidering and questioning experiences within a broad context of issues, ideas, and values. Used correctly it strengthens early childhood programs.

But it requires a deep understanding of the process, and how to make it work for you. You need to be able to participate in reflective conversations, reflection on action and reflection in action

3. Developing a Growth Mindset

A key outcome of the critical reflection process is developing a growth mindset. Not just in yourself, but in your team, and the children and families you work with.

Developing a growth mindset changes “I can’t” into “I’m working on it”. It moves you from “impossible” to “I’m possible”. This is deeply transformational for both educators and families.

Developing this mindset increases creativity and eliminates boundaries. It makes almost anything possible.

How To Make It Easy

Understanding critical reflection is one thing, but harnessing the power of the process can be complex.

It can take years of discovery, setbacks, and experience to get it right. But there’s a shortcut you can take.

You can discover key strategies from experts like Stephen Gallen, Caroline Fewster, and Rod Soper. Their experience encompasses all aspects of early childhood learning, from classroom teaching to managing services, consulting and developing professional development programs.

They’re passionate about early learning and providing optimum opportunities for young learners to realise their full potential, and they’re sharing their knowledge and expertise with us at the Day With The Best.

The Day With The Best is set to become Australia’s foremost Professional Development Event for Early Childhood Educators, so grab your place now.