3 Simple Ways to Improve Communication with Parents

Tuesday, January 1, 2019
Communicating with families is often the most difficult and overwhelming part of teaching.  There's no handbook for teachers to use to improve communication with parents, but we know how valuable positive home-school relationships are to student success.  Developing these relationships makes dealing with behavior and academic concerns much easier.  This list is a few of the strategies that I found to be most effective in my kindergarten classroom. 



1. Make a positive phone call home.




Phone calls mean more than a text or a note.  I get it, no one talks on the phone anymore, right?  A phone call takes some time and effort which conveys that you care.  To build a positive home-school relationship, parents need to know their child's teacher cares.  A simple phone call goes a long way to show parents that you care enough to take the time out of your day to communicate with them.  

Try to make phone calls in the first 2 weeks of getting to know students.  Already halfway into the school year?  It’s not too late to pick up the phone!  Start the conversation by checking in to see how your student is doing at home.  Give parents an opportunity to tell you about their child (this can be eye-opening!).  Make sure to keep it positive (even when the positive comment is “Billy is very energetic!”).  Tell them something that makes their student special.  This 2-minute phone call will go a long way in forging a lasting relationship with your students’ families. 

2.  Send Notes Home to Parents



Send home “glow” notes when students demonstrate positive behaviors and “grow” notes when behaviors need to be corrected.  Parents love to hear about how their child is doing in school and kids love to get notes from their teachers.  Don’t make it too complicated.  Some teachers like to keep track and send a glow note for every grow note to keep it balanced; that doesn't work for me.   If you can keep up with that, great!  If not, simply try to have positive communication with parents as often as possible.  Keep glow notes on hand ready to send home so you don't have to search for a note or print one each time you need it.  You'll be amazed at how impactful a small note can be.  These notes will go a long way to improve communication with parents and developing positive relationships with families.  I use these glow & grow notes for quick notes to parents and I use these teacher notes to send notes home to students.  


3.  There’s an app for that!



There are quite a few communication apps out there now for teachers use to communicate with parents.  I have used Remind for years.  Remind is an app that allows you to send mass text message reminders and you can also set it up to allow individual parents to text you (or not).  It’s free and simple to use.  I find that I am more likely to respond quickly to texts than to email, so for me, it’s perfect. 
Need more features?  Bloomz has scheduling features, a way to post class photos, direct messaging and more!  Seesaw is another popular app that allows students to share what they are working on in class.  Parents can log in to see their student’s latest writing assessment or watch their student read a book.  All of these apps are completely free to teachers!  Check them out!




Bonus Tip:  Use reminder stickers or labels in planners or on students’ shirts for quick communication.  Young students love stickers and this will help parents by giving gentle reminders about upcoming events.  You can grab my reminder sticker freebie here.

What other tips do you have for teachers to improve communication with parents?

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