How Teachers Can Establish Positive Relationships with Parents 

 1 September 2022

By  Karen Cruise

As we start a new school year, a new cohort of students will join you, and with that comes new parents to meet.

While home and school life can feel very separate, a student’s achievement, well-being and personal growth can all be influenced by the relationship between teachers and parents.

Like children, parents can feel overwhelmed with a new school year and may be nervous about entrusting their child with a new set of teachers.

They can also feel unsure as to how best to support their child at home when it comes to their education.

With this in mind, to help children have the best experience possible at school, teachers have an opportunity to build these relationships.

Furthermore, establishing these positive relationships early can break the stigma that teachers only ever contact parents if there’s bad news.

So, as teachers, what can you do to improve the relationships with parents and potentially increase the success of each student’s school experience?

Offer Check-Ins

As children settle in at school, offer to check in with the parents.

This can be an email or phone call to ask how the parents feel, what their child has said and what your experience as the teacher has been.

At the end of the call, let parents know they’re welcome to contact you if they have any questions or need further support to help their child at home.

Set Communication Preferences

Knowing how parents like to be addressed (for example, with first names) and their preferred form of communication can help increase the chances of responsive and mutual communication.

It is also important not to assume anything about the family set-up – open-ended questions can help parents to provide the information they feel comfortable sharing and help you understand their situation, so you communicate effectively in the future.

Take Time To Listen

What parents share about their child at home can help to fill in the gaps between home and school life.

Parents know a lot about how their child operates and thinks, which can help you to tailor their learning experience.

If parents don’t offer lots of information, try asking questions focused on the child. Show you are actively listening; you can do this by using the exact words they use and don’t be afraid to repeat phrases back to the parent to check your understanding.

If there are language barriers, try to use a translator so that there are no unnecessary difficulties in establishing positive relationships. Share Specific Tips

Establishing this positive relationship with parents makes it easier to offer advice and be specific with actions parents can help with at home.

For teachers, it can feel uncomfortable to advise parents. Similarly, parents can feel put out by having teachers tell them what they should be doing.

However, by building rapport first, it becomes easier to offer advice.

When you offer advice, try to make it as specific as possible and tie it back to the result it can bring. For example, asking parents to ask their children how they answered a question in their homework helps to build the child’s comprehension skills; it also checks their understanding and offers a second chance for them to analyse their answer to ensure it’s right.

Remember, the school system has changed a lot since the parents were at school, so they may not understand what support their child needs.

By offering resources and support, you help to bridge the gap between home and school development.

Make Every Interaction Positive

Unfortunately, you may have to bring up challenges or approach a negative situation.

However, if you can ensure a positive encounter in every exchange, whether it’s a smile or a compliment about the student or any good news to share, keeping the conversations positive can help these relationships to strengthen.

Parents may feel like they’re back at school if they’re being brought into school for bad news, so leading with positivity can help to reduce the anxiety and feel like you’re all on the same team.

Flourished Minds delivers training to teachers to help them use a coaching style to have more positive conversations with parents.

If you need some help, get in touch with Karen, our head coach; she’d be happy to help.

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Karen Cruise - The Young People's Life Coach

Karen isn’t only an experienced, accredited coach, she’s also a hard-working mum with many years of employment in the corporate world, the last 10 at a very senior level.

She’s been described as dynamic, intuitive, unstoppable when it comes to helping young people live their best lives.

You’d be hard-pressed to find to a CEO more committed to helping your child succeed.

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