How to Make Strong Contactless Connections With Parents

In this new normal where we are trying to keep a physical distance from each other, this can easily lead to an emotional distance as well — which is not a good feeling for parents when it comes to their child care provider. After all, they are trusting you with the most important people in their lives, and so it is crucial to maintain a strong and healthy connection when parents can’t come inside a center and see where and who they are sending their children to.

In this article, we’ll go over several easy ways to keep relationships with parents strong when being there in-person is not an option. A little really does go a long way and parents will be SO appreciative for it!

Drop By at Pick-Up and Drop-Off

If possible, try to be present for a little bit during pick-up and drop-off. Seeing a Director or Supervisor even just for a few seconds with a friendly wave and “hi, great to see you!” will put in some much-needed face time and show that it is important for you to see parents any way you can — from a safe distance, of course!

Send a Weekly Newsletter

You might be doing this already, but if not, now is the time to send regular communications to families. If you send a newsletter once a month, consider increasing the frequency to weekly. When parents are not getting any face time with their child care provider, there is no such thing as over-communication. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have anything “newsworthy” to share — just the fact that you’re sending something will help parents feel connected and that providing excellent care is still your top priority.

Here are some ideas of what you can share if you’re having a bit of writer’s block:

  • A “Meet the Teacher” series where you share fun facts about each of your staff members.
  • Upcoming activity schedules.
  • Upcoming meal schedules.
  • Recipes for parents to try at home that the kids loved that week.
  • Pictures.
  • Activities to try at home (try our activities database)!

Send Random Messages “Just Because”

An informal email, text or message through your child care app will go a really long way toward making parents feel like they still have that one-on-one relationship with you that they are not getting when they can’t see you in person. Something as simple as “I found this recipe that I think Abigail will really like!” or “was Kerri happy after her first day back?” will delight parents by showing that they’re still top-of-mind for you and that you’re still working hard for them.

Take Lots of Photos and Videos

Sending a message in HiMama.
A sample update in HiMama.

It really is true that a picture is worth a thousand words. No matter how detailed of an update you provide, nothing beats actually seeing what happened. Encourage staff to take lots of photos and videos throughout the day or have a Director or Administrator do so if they are able to. Then, share these in your newsletter, social media (with permission) or send directly to parents by email, text or HiMama!

Hand Out Activity Kits

With many parents now spending more time at home than ever, one of their biggest questions during the pandemic has been what to do to fill up their days. Solve this problem for them by handing out activity kits or busy bags with fun things for families to do at home together!

To create your activity kits, print off instructions from our activities database (or create your own) and include any required supplies. Then, hand these out at pick-up or deliver them to each family’s home. Encourage them to also share photos or videos on social media or through HiMama. You can even create a section in your newsletter to showcase families who have completed the activities!

Host Video Catch-Up Meetings

To facilitate one-on-one conversations, you can schedule video meetings with each family using Zoom or another video chatting platform. This will allow you to catch up and answer any questions that parents may have, as well as have a more meaningful conversation that texts or emails just cannot replace.

How are you keeping your connections strong with parents during the pandemic? Let us know in the comments!

Michael Keshen

Michael writes for HiMama's early childhood education blog and ECE Weekly newsletter. When not developing content for early childhood professionals, he can usually be found out and about with his wife and daughter exploring all that Toronto has to offer, or playing music with his karaoke band.