The pandemic has disrupted everything in day-to-day life, schooling is no exception. With having to deal with so much at the moment when it comes to matters in and outside school, maintaining communication with parents can potentially take a backseat.
Effective communication with parents is especially important during these uncertain times and should not be neglected. It helps keep parents in the loop and their anxieties at bay. It lets them know the school cares just as much about their child’s well-being.
Most importantly, when parents are well-informed of the happenings of the school, they can rest assured that the school is well-equipped to help the students adapt to the new post-pandemic lifestyle. In fact, they would be willing to contribute to it as well.
What are the options?
Thanks to the boom in technological resources, especially after the pandemic, there are a number of communication channels available. You have texts, emails, letters, and circulars for formal communication. The school website acts as a notice board of sorts as well.
Then there’s the informal method of group chat and phone calls for urgent messages. Lastly, there are software and apps that act as an exclusive internal system solely focussed on information sharing.
Pick few, not all
You can pick whichever option you like, but don’t pick all. It’s simply a waste of your energy and redundant for the parent. They may even miss an important message or two thinking they are repeated messages if they keep receiving the same message on every channel.
The ideal way to go about this would be to pick two or three channels at most. If the parent misses the message on one channel, they will receive it on the other. Make sure they are not similar channels as that would diminish the effectiveness.
Say, if they miss the message on the app, there is a chance they may also miss it on text as both are mostly viewed on mobile phones. Thus, the second channel of communication should be something like email or letters. Letters are received personally, and emails can be viewed on desktops and tablets as well.
Make sure the message is received
Effective communication is a two-way street. You should strive to be available for the parents at all times. They should be able to reach out to you, clear any doubts they may have, and ask questions. This can be tricky given everyone’s busy schedules, but it is essential to make sure they are on the same page as you.
Make sure they have understood a message, not just received it. Perhaps they can respond with something like ‘understood’ upon receiving any update. It automatically opens up the way for them to ask questions if they have any.
Additionally, opt for shorter messages delivered more frequently instead of longer occasional ones. It’s easier to pay attention and respond to shorter messages and frequent communication creates a better sense of being in the loop.
Encourage input from parents
46% of parents say that they wish to support their child’s education better. They truly are interested in being active partners in their children’s education should they get the proper ways to do so.
To make them feel invited, begin by personalising your messages to them. Establish a positive and inviting tone with your messages. Invite their input but don’t force them into it.
Ask them about their child’s strengths and weaknesses. Ask them what kind of a support system they think their child needs, and how you can provide it to the child.
Schools have come a long way in improving communication with the parents, aided well by technological advancements. The next challenge lies in involving parents as equal partners in their children’s education.
Providing effective communication to the parents makes them feel like a part of a team with educators. Parents are willing to do their part. The focus should be on building relationships between educators and parents and personalising the communication.