As a children’s ministry worker, you meet new families every year. Some parents may volunteer in your classroom and initiate conversations about their children. Other parents may prefer a more laid-back approach to school. You may “click” with some parents right away and you may have extreme differences with others.
No matter the situation, for the sake of the students, it is important for you to have a good relationship with all of the parents. You’re a few months into school now, so if you haven’t made a dedicated effort to improve parent relationships, start now! Here are 10 easy ideas for getting those relationships started on a positive note:
- Smile. Although it is sometimes intimidating to meet new people, many parents are more nervous than you! When you smile, it puts everyone at ease and opens the door for positive communication.
- Learn their names. You definitely want to know the names of the children you are working with, but knowing the names of the parents indicates that you care about them as well.
- Ask questions. Demonstrate interest in getting to know the children and their parents better.
- Visit one-on-one. If possible, make a home visit or invite them to come visit you. Spending individual time with each family lets them know you care and helps them feel valued.
- Have a party. Help parents in your group get to know each other by creating time for them to be together. It doesn’t have to be formal or fancy. Have potluck, add some games, and leave some time open for visiting.
- Share successes. As often as possible, share positive stories with the parents of each child.
- Ask for their input. When there is a problem, ask parents what they are seeing at home and how they handle similar situations. Always emphasize your desire to work together for the good of their child.
- Give them ideas about how they can help. Share what you are seeing and give ideas of how parents can talk to their children at home and what kinds of things they can do to help.
- Thank parents. Parents need to know that what they do at home makes a difference. When parents are willing to help and you see a difference, thank them and let them know how you notice.
- Ask God to be in the middle of all your interactions with others. Ask him to guide your thoughts, words, actions, and reactions. When possible and appropriate, pray with the parents.
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