Five Easy Ways to Communicate to Parents

As an educator, there are always lessons that are learned the hard way. Today I'm hoping to cut back on your tough lessons learned with 5 Easy Ways to Communicate with Parents. It starts with the very first day of school. 

Whether you are beginning as a first year teacher, changing schools or grade levels, coming back into the workplace, or simply beginning a new school year, it's obvious that our first focus as teachers is obviously our students. We spend hours and hours (and sleepless nights) planning, fretting, and preparing for them during the summer and on breaks from school. Blood, sweat, and tears, all before Day 1. And then, they arrive!

1) Reach out to families on Week One. We seldom take the time to open up communication with parents from the very start. I can't tell you how thrilled parents are when they receive a phone call, note home, or email welcoming their family into your classroom. Not only are you opening up the lines of communication for them, but you're also beginning the school year on a positive note. Parents will leave your conversation with a good feeling about the school year. It takes 2-3 minutes, but makes such a great first impression. 

2) Follow up with an organized way to keep up the lines of communication regularly. After  you've introduced yourself and given parents an idea of your excitement for the upcoming school year, it's important to keep up the lines of communication regularly. I use the Weekly Student Reflection* rubric attached to my spelling tests (just for ease of grading) to write positive notes, celebrations, and challenges and send these home weekly. 

*For more information on how I use this weekly progress note, click on the link to my previous post or the picture below. 

3) Remember that parents are human. When our students leave our classrooms, they have a whole other world outside of school. Unfortunately for us, sometimes their outside lives take over. It's important to remember that families cannot always control for example the amount of sleep a student receives the night before a test, whether or not homework is completed or checked each night, and sometimes don't even know from where their next meal will come. However I can guarantee you that, although it might not always be obvious, parents want what's best for their student. Just like we do. Be helpful by reaching out to parents if you notice that their child is slipping academically or exhibiting odd behavior, and ask how you can help parents at home. It could be something as simple as offering an extra day to complete an assignment, or it could lead to a more structured intervention or behavior program. Often you'll find the parents receptive and grateful for your concern. After all, it takes a village... and we ALL want our children to be successful.

4) Always be ready to explain WHY. If a student begins to slip, be prepared for concerned (and sometimes emotional) parents to question you. Not because they don't trust you or question your experience as a teacher. But because they don't know how else to ask for support. Anticipate these questions, and be ready with one or two quick responses that begin with something like, "One thing you can do at home to help Johnny is...," or "One easy way to help your child to be successful is...". Be positive, calm, and supportive. As teachers, we are emotionally invested in our students. Remember that parents are invested two-fold.

5) Celebrate the little things. I have a folder in my filing cabinet at school with some of my favorite affirmations from former students and their families. Whenever I'm feeling like I've been defeated (which we all feel at one time or another,) I pull out my file and remember all of the wonderful families who entrusted me with their most precious gifts. Cheesy, I know. But all it takes is for me to re-read a handwritten note from a student, a thank you note from a parent, or glance at an old hand-drawn picture to remember that parents are grateful. My favorite note as of late was drawn by my then-kindergartner. I hope it makes you smile.

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Happy Teaching! 


  1. I believe that you could begin by demonstrating some enthusiasm for what your parents are doing. Offer to cook supper or tidy up after supper buy essay – Request your Mother or Father a question about when they were your age or about their parents/your grandparents. Any association you can make will open the lines of correspondence. Good fortunes! Have a fabulous time! I'm certain your folks will be exceptionally cheerful!

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