March 20, 2023
By Tammy Barrows
When teachers and families build strong relationships/partnerships based on respect and trust, they can work together to provide continuity for children and promote resilience. This is why the importance of teachers/caregivers building relationships with children and their families cannot be overlooked. With that said, it can be challenging for those relationships to form. Busy programs, busy families…we all know the drill. So we want to give you seven ideas for building relationships with children and families we feel are simple and that we hope you’ll try.
- Remind yourself to smile and be inviting as children and families enter your classroom. Let them know they matter to you.
- Listen more and talk less when interacting with children and families. Being heard is validating.
- Have a small, dry erase board in each child’s cubby, so at drop-off time, families can write down things that they want you to know about them as they start their day.
- Have a mirror near the door so that during drop-off time, the child and parent can look in the mirror together and say something that they are proud of themselves for.
- “You’ve got mail!” Grab a sticky note or a name tag sticker and write down a celebration about the child’s day. Ask the child to stick it on their shirt to wear home, or put it with their belongings. This will let the parents know how great their child is and it makes the child feel valued.
- Have a basket with small snack bags, granola bars, or some fruit by the door for families to grab during pick-up time. Many families are busy after pick-up, so a little snack can help hold them over until dinner and it takes some pressure off.
- Create a “Resilience Wall,” where children and families can write down something they are proud of about their family on a sticky note and then stick it on the wall.
Tammy has been in the early childhood field for over 30 years, serving first as a preschool teacher and then as a preschool education director. She now serves as Professional Development Manager for the Devereux Center for Resilient Children.