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Parent Involvement in Child Care

parent involvement


Parent involvement can be one of the most frustrating things about working in child care.  Parents are busy with their jobs and don’t always appear to be interested in communicating with you and/or participating in school activities.  Be empathetic with parents and try to understand their stress levels and living situations.  It is important to realize that no matter how hard you try, not EVERY parent will show the level of involvement that you hope for.   However, here are various parent involvement ideas to try.  Try not to rely on one single method. Getting parents involved is partly related to understanding how your families operate and what works best to get their attention.


Ideas to get parents involved:


Greet every parent personally – Always say hello and welcome to the parent when they drop their child off.  Yes, you want to greet the child too, but don’t forget to greet the parent by name.  This easy friendly guesture will make parents feel welcome, which can lead to more parent involvement in the future.


(Tip: Try to get to know the parents – find out their interests, hobbies, passions, etc.  This will help in more in-depth conversations.  Ask about something they have talked about previously.)



Set up a Private Facebook Group – Invite parents to join your classroom’s private Facebook group (most of them are probably very already active on Facebook anyway).  Only those in a private group can see the posts.  On this page, post pictures of the children involved in activities, suggestions for ideas to do at home, reminders, parenting tips, etc.


(Tip: Make the page interactive…Create polls, ask simple questions, create contests/giveaways, etc.)



Create Pinterest Boards – Create a Pinterest account with boards and pins that will be of interest to your families.   Ideas include: Weekend Activity Ideas, Recommended books for Toddlers (or the age group you work with), and Family Meal Recipes.


(Tip: You could also offer the option of turning your boards private and adding parents as pinning collaborators.)



Use Communication Apps –  There are many child care and preschool teacher apps that are recommended by early childhood educators to share pictures and updates with parents.  CLICK HERE for app suggestions.


(Tip: Communicate on a regular basis – and commit to the amount of time you will communicate.)



Make “Sunshine” Calls – Reach out with a quick phone call when you see that parents need some cheering up.  Or make a practice of calling at least one parent a week to relay good news.


(Tip: Keep track of these sunshine calls and make sure each family receives the same amount of calls throughout the year.)



Monthly Family Projects – Provide a monthly activity for the families to create something together.  At the end of each month, have each child show their family’s creation during circle time.  Examples: January – create a snowman character out of construction paper; April – Send home bean seeds and have families plant the seeds; October: carve a pumpkin


(Tip: Send home a project information sheet at the beginning of the month with directions, as well as materials that may be needed.)



Host Family Nights – Set up learning stations with activities based your current theme. Allow the parents to rotate through the stations with their child and do the activities.


(Tip: Provide dinner!  Everyone loves free food, and this takes the stress off of parents to provide dinner for their family.)



Family Posters – Ask families to work together to create a family poster. Explain that they can fill their poster with photos, drawings, notes, and handprints.


(Tip: Give each family the posterboard, so that they have a base to get started.)



Use a Class Mascot – Choose a class mascot, such as a stuffed animal.  Send the mascot home with a different child each weekend (or every other weekend).  Include a brief note introducing the mascot and a fill-in-the-blank journal for parents and child to fill out and return on Monday.


(Tip: Encourage the parents to take pictures of the mascot at home or participating in family activities.  Ask the parents to text you pictures so that you can share them with the children.)



Amazon Picks and Resources:


Preschool Teacher Apps for Parent Communication

Preschool Teacher Apps

Technology can be helpful when it comes to communicating with parents.  There are many child care and preschool teacher apps that are recommended by early childhood educators to share pictures and updates with parents.  (*Note: The Early Childhood Academy is only sharing information and does not endorse or represent any of these applications).


Seesaw is a student-driven digital portfolio that inspires your students to do their best work and saves you time.  Seesaw helps you see and hear what each student knows so you can better understand their progress.  Click Here to visit the Seesaw website.



ClassDojo helps teachers build a positive classroom culture by encouraging students and communicating with parents.  Click Here to visit the ClassDojo website.




Share photos, videos, notes to parents throughout the day. Record meals, activities, naps, and more to daily reports. Prepare lesson plans up to 4 weeks in advance, and much more!

Click Here to visit the Tadpoles website.




Remind is a communication platform that helps every student succeed. Whether you’re in the classroom, at home, or anywhere in between, Remind makes it easy to stay connected to your school community.  Click Here to visit the Remind website.



Brightwheel is the only app that integrates everything you need: sign in/out, messaging, assessments, daily reports, photos, videos, calendars, online bill pay for parents, and much more.  Click Here to visit the Brightwheel website.



Bloomz makes it easy for teachers to securely share photos, classroom updates and reach parents instantly through messaging, as well as to coordinate events (like PT Conferences) and sign up for volunteers.  Click Here to visit the Bloomz website.



Complete your preschool daily reports, schedules, attendance, check-ins and meal planning in half the time. Send parents daily sheets, pictures, videos and invoices they will love.  Click Here to visit the HiMama website.


5 Tips for Handling a Difficult Parent in Child Care

Written by Susan Gove, Ph.D. – CEO of Your Center Success

5 Tips for Handling a Difficult Parent in Child Care

difficult parent

Some parents walk through the door and you brace yourself for a challenge.  Others are so sweet that you think you could become friends.  That’s Day One.


You don’t always know how parents will interact with you on any given day.  After all, you are caring for their most precious child.


Here are a few tips on how to handle some of the most common difficult parent situations:


    1. The parent comes in and wants to carry on a lengthy conversation with you while you are trying to tend to a room full of children.


TIP:  You explain that you need to be engaged with all of the children you have in front of you right now and that a good time for the two of you to talk would be (fill in the blank).  Be courteous, but speak with conviction.

    1. The parent is upset because he believes that his daughter is not getting the same attention that all of the other children are getting because the staff member in her group doesn’t like her and he wants his daughter to be put into another area of the center.
      TIP:  You make sure that you manage his escalating temper and, don’t argue whether he is right or wrong.  Assure him that you are sorry to hear about his concern and that you will observe his daughter’s interactions with staff over the next few days and then you and he can talk again.  Assure him that his daughter’s success is very important to you.


    1. The parent is complaining that her child is unhappy about coming to school and cries when he has to get in the car to come to the center. She wants to know what is happening to her son in your center to make him feel this way.
      TIP:You show sincere concern and tell her that this is not uncommon, but something that you and she will want to work on together right away.  Schedule a time when you can talk together.  Tell her that you will do some extra observations of him and talk to other staff members about her son prior to your meeting.


    1. A parent wants to talk with you; you are uneasy and expect confrontation.


TIP:  Parents just want to know what is going on with their child.  They care and they can’t be there with their child, and that is very disconcerting to many parents.  The TONE of their question may not really reflect how they feel about the center or you.  Listen to the content and skip all of the facial clue and voice tones that you would normally examine.  It is your job to talk to parents because their children can’t tell them about their day with any reliability.



  • As hard as we try, we very often judge a book by its cover – or a parent by her appearance/attitude. Bad move.


TIP:  Don’t judge parents.  Listen to them.  Show that you care about their child almost as much as they do.  Show that you have a plan for their child’s success and that you want them to be a part of the process.