As a childcare provider, building positive relationships with parents is crucial for the well-being of their children. While these relationships are often warm and positive, there are times when difficult conversations need to be had.
Knowing how to communicate effectively in these situations is essential. Here are four key steps to follow when having difficult conversations with parents.
Step 1: Notice how you are feeling.
Tuning into your own feelings is critical when approaching difficult conversations. Before you begin, take a moment to reflect on what you hope to accomplish from the conversation. Define your goal and think about how you can achieve it while avoiding what you don't want to happen.
Step 2: Avoid silence or violence.
Even with the best intentions, conversations can turn negative quickly. It's important to recognize when things start to become difficult, as this is often a result of feeling attacked or put on the spot. Responding with silence or violence will never lead to a positive outcome. Instead, focus on finding common ground and creating a mutual purpose.
Step 3: Create a mutual purpose.
When things become tense, apologize, if necessary, and clarify your intentions. By focusing on the child's experience, tension can be reduced, and joint problem-solving can occur. For example, if a child is throwing a tantrum at pick-up time, you can help the parent understand what the child is trying to communicate. This helps to create a mutual purpose and move the conversation forward in a positive direction.
Step 4: Develop a plan.
Developing a plan together with parents on how to handle child-rearing issues helps to build a partnership rather than a competition. Start by using "I" statements to express your concerns and ask for the parent's perspective. Work together to find a place to compromise and agree on the next steps. Remember to check in regularly to assess progress and make any necessary adjustments.
In conclusion, effective communication is key when having difficult conversations with parents. By following these four steps, you can ensure that these conversations are productive, build positive relationships, and provide the best care possible for the children. Remember, a relationship is a living thing that needs to be nurtured and grown over time. Check in regularly with parents to keep the lines of communication open and maintain a positive relationship.