The Dos of Communicating with Parents

Talking with Your Employers
By Anne Merchant Geissler, The Child Care Textbook

Before talking with your employers, set an agenda. Decide on the topic for discussion and  agree on how much time will be allotted with the understanding that there may be future meetings. Keep focused on the current issues and keep track of time.

Be patient. Allow each person to speak without interruption. Listen to what each person has to say with an open mind. Let go of judgmental thoughts. This allows each person to express their feelings freely and comfortably.

Focus on positive results. Believe that everyone’s needs can be met in a satisfactory way. There are solutions that can work for everyone. The challenge is to honor everyone  involved in the communication and to be open to all possibilities. It may take several meetings to explore and create the best environment.

Give empathy. Acknowledge each other’s feelings and concerns. Practicing empathy instead of opposition or intellectual feedback can bring remarkable results in creating nurturing, and mutually supportive relationships.

Talk honestly about your feelings and concerns. You have a right to express your feelings but do so without accusing others or making others feel they are wrong. Take a  few moments so that you can state your feelings clearly and directly without being overly emotional.

Develop an inquiring attitude. Ask open ended questions — not statements hidden within questions. For example, “Why do you always…?”

Use “I” statements. Avoid defensive reactions by coming from your own personal experience. Instead of beginning with accusations that begin with “you,” shift the tone  by stating how you feel. For example, “When I heard what you did, I felt angry because I felt like my input was ignored.”

Paraphrase and use expanders, such as, “You felt sad. Tell me more.” This conveys understanding, interest, and inquiry. Use eye contact and nodding of the head.

Begin and end with something positive. Acknowledge the positive aspects or qualities of the situation or individuals involved before addressing frustrating or difficult issues. End  on a positive note by thanking others for their time and effort for participating.

This advice is from The Child Care Textbook by Anne Merchant Geissler. You can purchase your own copy by clicking the links below:

The Child Care Textbook: Required Reading in the Nation’s First Tuition-free, College Credit, Child Care Training Program

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