Child Care Professional

Miscommunication in the Digital Age

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Like all communication, child care communication between a parent and caregiver can fall victim to intention vs. impact syndrome. While we love technology at Rayz Kidz and appreciate the power that it holds, we also know that digital communication lacks the cues that come from tone and body language. Imagine, you have great intention; you want to provide information, support, or insight so you shoot off a chat message, an email or text without a second thought. Unfortunately, it lands wrong with the receiver. They’re a little (or a lot) hurt, insulted, frustrated, defensive or surprised (not in a good way). There are two things you can do to avoid this:

1. Pause and imagine how the overall message and the individual words will land on the person reading it. How the specific receiver – with their personality, beliefs, tender spots, and life experiences – will read it. For example, sending the message about a child biting a classmate may be taken in stride by a mom who understands her child’s biting is just a normal developmental stage, however could be upsetting for a mom whose tender spot makes her feel like she’s failed as a parent when her child misbehaves in “big” ways. Instead, craft the message with her tender spot in mind, including a line such as “I know it’s hard watching Lucas struggle with managing his big emotions but so many kids do. It’s a normal developmental stage and I promise, he’s making strides forward and soon he’ll grow out of it.” Your reassurance will soften the blow and make her feel you’re working as a team on the problem.

2. Make an agreement between each other that if something doesn’t land well for either of you, instead of making assumptions, you’ll ask for clarity. This takes a lot of self-awareness and self-control – jumping to negative conclusions is a natural defensive mechanism but it’s a skill that can be developed and honed with practice.

Make it a habit to take a quick mental review of your message and you’ll be amazed at how many of these situations you can avoid.