How much time do you spend talking to your child's educator?

Did you know that the average length of a parent-educator conversation in child care is 27 seconds. Yes, you read that right, 27 seconds! In such a short period of time, can information be exchanged and helped the educator do her job well?

Parental communication with educators is essential to children's harmonious development and greatly helps educators adjust their interventions. In addition, parent/educator collaboration fosters a climate of trust and a sense of security in children. In fact, parents' conversations allow educators to learn more about family realities and even to better understand children's personalities. Don't worry, the educator doesn't want to know all the details of your private life, but needs to know what's about the child. For example, if the family's goldfish is dead, if son's favorite softie flew out of the car window during the holidays, or you have just separated. All of these events have significant impacts on children and in order to help the educator better understand what they are going through and to respond appropriately, she must have a minimum of information. In addition, morning and evening conversations with the educator help to feed her knowledge of your child's tastes, interests and habits.

Research shows that when parents and educators talk more, educators have better relationships with children (obviously, they know them better and can work collaboratively with the family). What can be done to ensure that more time is spent interacting with educators to foster trust and collaboration with them? What can I do to spend more time talking to educators?

Here are some strategies to help you talk more about the educators, so that they can intervene as adequately as possible with your child:

1. Choosing the right time

You can first check with the educator when is the best time to talk to her, to increase your chances that she will be more available and thus discuss further. Also, it's important to consider your own schedule. For example, some parents are more available in the evening while for others, the morning will be the ideal time.

2. Once a week, talk more with your child's educator

Choose a time in the week to allow you to talk more with the educator (see strategy #1). Not sure how to start the conversation with the educator? I invite you to read your child's logbook (or the communication logbook). You can find interesting topics for discussion. If your child's educator is making an anecdote, ask them to tell you first-hand what they have been through with your child. You can also, in turn, tell anecdotes or pass on observations about your child to the educator. These exchanges are valuable to help her do her job well and will help your child establish a meaningful relationship with her. Photos are also good discussion starters. If the educator posts photos on a bulletin board, ask there. 

3. Use the good old phone

You are available at lunchtime or while the children are natre, why not make a telephone appointment with your educator? It will take a few minutes of your time and you may get valuable information about your child and again, you will allow the educator to learn more so that she can adjust her interventions. Keep in mind that these exchanges should take place not only when there are problems, because it is also pleasant for parents and educators to discuss the child's good moves and development. Also, when it's impossible to have a discussion with the educator who finishes her shift earlier than the time you can pick up your child, this tool becomes very interesting.

4. Use new technologies

More and more people have an email address or even a Facebook account. I know more and more educators are using these means to communicate with parents to tell stories, to pass on information and observations.

It is nice to rub shoulders with educators in a context where they are available. An outdoor day, a picnic, a show organized by the children, an exhibition of works of art for toddlers are special moments to exchange and have conversations that last more than 27 seconds.

The well-being of children above all!

Educators recognize the importance of working collaboratively with parents and are concerned about the development and well-being of your children. They are professionals who need to be recognized more for the work they do. In order to help them work with children, they are grateful to the parents who take the time to interact with them, parents who communicate important information about the child's daily life and finally, parents who recognize the importance of their work. Educators are not babysitters, they are professionals, trained to intervene with your children, in order to promote their development and establish meaningful relationships with them. In order for children to feel safe, to enjoy the best care available to them and to develop in harmonious and quality environments, the collaboration of educators and parents is essential.

This month, I challenge you to assess how much time you spend talking to your children's educators. Then try to practice a few strategies to have a conversation of more than 27 seconds and give yourself some time to see the positive effects in your children.

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