When a child is behaving inappropriately, one of the biggest factors that decides whether a programme of intervention succeeds or fails is sustained parental support. Any long-term support from parents has to be earned, not left to form by chance.
September is the month when you should be actively developing relationships with parents (because you’ll need them later!) Here are some sure-fire techniques to make your parental approval ratings soar.
Plan a positive first contact with every single family
How do you achieve this? Simple. Take a copy of your class register. Within the first two weeks, aim to invite the parents of every single child into the classroom at the end of the day. Don’t panic – this is not for a full, parental conference – only to share a good piece of work their child has produced, or discuss a positive piece of behaviour you’ve observed. You’re only aiming to spend a minute or so per child.
Highlight the names of the children when the meetings are over. Don’t follow the class list in a random order – prioritise. There are two classes of relationship that you’ll need to build as early as possible: parents of children who have behavioural needs, and parents who wield influence in the world of playground politics.
- For some children, their behaviour means you are likely to be meeting their parents with some negative news fairly early on. Prioritising those children now ensures the first parental meeting has a positive focus.
- September is the time to make sure good messages about your teaching are being shared on the playground. By inviting in parents who are well respected and listened to, you are making sure those messages get out early.
Now you’ve made that important first contact, keep the flow of communication running. Why?
- Because psychology tells us that we are more likely to engage with someone who gives us positive messages about our children (and, by implication, our parenting) in the past.
This doesn’t mean you have to continue meeting with every parent in person.
Plan to send home a positive communication on a Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday about one child’s work or behaviour. This could be through a well done card given to the child at the end of the day, a direct email, or a message through the school’s texting system.
I’m proud of…
At the end of each day, ask every child in class to name one thing they have done they are proud of. If the child struggles, tell them something you think they did well. Here’s why:
At the end of the day, most parents will ask their children what they did at school today. Many children then peer into the middle distance as they struggle to remember a single detail.
Your class won’t: you gave them the answer 30 seconds before they walked out the door.