Communication is one of the most important skills in the child care business. Most of your day is spent talking to others. Even though most of the time you’re talking to children, you spend hours every week speaking to parents and potential families as well. But it can be difficult to choose what medium to use to communicate. Below, we will discuss when to use text, email, and in-person communication depending on the topic.
Texting is for informal communication. Text messages can be used to share photos of your child playing or eating. It can be used for concerns that require immediate response, such as new illnesses and late pickups. Texting may seem friendly, but it should be used carefully. A 2016 study surrounding preschool parents found that 3 text messages was the ideal amount. Any more felt overwhelming for working families.
Texting can also be misinterpreted. If you text a parent about a child’s behavior, they may misunderstand your tone of voice and think you are more, or less, upset than you are. They may feel extra stress in their work day because they are worrying that their child is having a bad day.
If used too often, texting can also become distracting for you. Parents may feel comfortable texting you several times per day for updates about their children. Multiply this by the number of children you are caring for and it’s easy to see that it could become a problem. Your focus during the day should be on your students, with parent care coming at the end of the day or other strategically planned moments.
Texting is also not the ideal tool for communicating with potential families. It’s more professional to email or call new parents when you need to talk to them about tours, paperwork, etc.
Email is a good tool for professional communication. It can be used for communicating information like:
Email is a great place to follow through with in-person conversations. If you created a behavior plan in person with a parent, email them the details afterward to keep them documented. If a child will miss a week of school, email their parent to verify the dates once you’ve received communication of the absence.
Email can also be an effective tool for potential clients. Consider putting together a newsletter to share updates and events that have taken place in your child care business. Sharing real-life moments is often one of the most effective marketing tactics.
It’s important to remember that email is not time-sensitive. Parents may not be checking their email every hour. If a child is late being picked up, for example, it’s important to call instead of email so the parent can be reached right away.
Save the most important conversations for in-person meetings.
If a child had a hard time listening that day, try to tell the parent in person. You can write an incident report if the conversation needs to be documented. But the understanding that comes with face-to-face communication will help you share your concerns appropriately while the parent has time to process.
If a child is not a good fit for your program, this is an in-person conversation. It’s a sensitive topic that requires empathy on your part. It’s also not news that a parent would want to open unexpectedly on their phones or computers while they are working or relaxing at home.
In-person conversations at pickup time are also a great way to share small details from each child’s day. What did they enjoy most today? Did they say something silly? Did they make a new friend? Though these topics can easily be shared in other formats, saving a piece or two of information for in-person chats can help you build relationships with parents and leave them feeling good about their children’s care at the end of the day.
If you’re looking for an easy way to handle digital conversations, Wonderschool can help. Our platform offers the ability to message parents in a well-documented fashion. These messages can be formal, informal, or both, making it mush easier to decide what medium to use to communicate. Parents with the Wonderschool app receive timely notifications about updates, shared photos, and messages. And you can even connect with other providers to share ideas, challenges, advice, and more.
If you’re ready to simplify your child care business communication management, try our program for free today. We’d be thrilled to have you in the Wonderschool community!
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