Having a collaborative relationship with the parents of the kids you care for is an important part of providing care. That relationship allows for easy transitions, open communication around behavior challenges and developmental needs, and helps keep the business end of things aligned. Here are three ways to help build and keep a good relationship.
1. Notice Their Great Parenting Moments
Parenting is hard, and parents most often get noticed for the not-so-great choices they make. However, almost every parent has great parenting moments. When their child tells you about the wonderful story Dad told him last night at bedtime or the silly song Mom was singing in the car, let parents know how special those things are to their child. A quick “great job!” to the parent can be the bright reminder they need in their overwhelming world.
2. Work Together on Struggles You Share
When a child is going through a hard transition or is stuck in a negative pattern of behavior, it’s hard for everyone. Reach out to the parent and let them know what you’re seeing during your time (they’ll probably be happy it’s not just happening with them!), offer support, and work out a game plan for how you can be on the same page moving forward. That benefits the child and both of you.
3. Give Them a Break
Parents sometimes do things that make your life harder; they may ignore an important policy, fail to stick to an agreed-on plan of action around a child’s behavior, or just not be the friendly face you need after a rough day. Like us, they have their off moments. When those moments happen, you can let it become an issue that negatively impacts your relationship, or you can extend them a bit of grace. Of course, if the troubling behavior is a pattern, it needs to be addressed. However, if a normally great parent is not so great towards you now and again, just give them a break. It will make you both happier.
A good relationship with parents makes the work you do infinitely more enjoyable. It doesn’t always happen automatically; however, with a little effort, it can be pretty easily created.