Well, hi there sweet teacher! If you’ve been with me for any amount of time, you know that bringing teachers joy that will help them sustain their careers is absolutely what sets my heart on fire. I want impactful and incredible teachers to stay in the classroom and spread that impact to their little learners. And one of the major pitfalls that I’ve observed over the years that many teachers really suffer from is having bad relationships with the families of their students. This can absolutely kill your joy, which is why I’ve chosen today’s topic: how to make parents love you.
If they love you, your life is easier, trust me, and I want to give you my best curated tips that can help get you there. Or if you are already there, maybe you can help develop that love for you even more. So if this sounds like something that can help you be happier in your career, make sure you stick around. Are you ready?
Good Relationships = Joy
Every month, I try to include a post all about building relationships, whether that is with your students, with your coworkers, or with their families. I really believe that relationships in the workplace have a big impact on our joy. And definitely, definitely having great relationships with the people who care for our students at home can aid us in being more effective teachers. So today, we’re going to talk all about how to make parents love you.
We need them to adore us, that way they will give us all of their support and really trust the decisions that we make for their children. These same people can actually be the cheerleaders that cheer us on. I talked about finding your cheerleaders back in THIS POST, so be sure to hop back to that if you need some pick me up going on in your life. I love how parents can end up being those people who cheer me on, and you can have that too.
So today I’m going to give you three rules to live by that will help your parents absolutely fall in love with you. Many teachers have very negative thoughts when it comes to communicating and making relationships with parents. But I’m going to tell you, this is one of the big difference makers when it comes to being a joyful teacher. We need them on our sides. We need their help and support. And today I’m happy to share with you the ways that we can accomplish just that.
When a Parent Loved Me
One day this little girl in kindergarten brought me these beautifully drawn cards with her handwriting inside that said, “I love you Mrs. Mullins.” Now first of all, I knew this child was developing her art skills. There was no way she drew the elaborate pictures on this card. I also knew because she was in kindergarten that she had no idea how to spell Mrs. Mullins. Someone at home had to help her out with creating those cards.
So I said, “Oh, Ashley, this is beautiful!” And of course, I did a hug and all those things that I do to show my appreciation for those sweet little gifts. Then I asked her who drew these pictures. She told me that she and her mom sat down at the kitchen table and worked on them the night before.
That was an incredible gift, and you can bet I still have those tucked away. That was a great reminder to me that parent involvement and support is something that I thrive on. When I look at what I’ve learned over the years, there are three rules that stand out to me that I always follow when it comes to communicating with parents. And I’m proud to say that 99% of the time (we always have those outliers, friends) that parents really appreciate what I do for them and for their children. Just don’t forget that with any great thing comes great effort and practice. It takes persistence and patience, and your time and thoughtfulness.
#1 – Parents Love You if You… Love Their Child
So let me tell you rule number one. The first thing you need to do to help parents to love you is to of course love their child, which I know is not always the easiest thing to do. Of course we teachers love our students. But we also sometimes have those hard to love ones thrown in there too. And when I say sometimes, I mean just about every school year. I talked all about how to love those hard to love students in THIS POST. But yes, we need to love our students in order for our parents to love us.
I’m going to give you some tips on how to accomplish just that. First of all, we are looking out for their best interest when it comes to their education. So that in itself is love. But parents don’t always perceive it that way. So we have to take other actions to really demonstrate our love for our students that their parents can see and understand. I know you love them or you wouldn’t be teaching them, but we need to make other choices that really make that clear to our families.
Language and Actions
One way that our love is clearly demonstrated is through our language and actions towards our students. You can bet our students report to their parents how they feel at school. Be mindful about the way you’re speaking to your students. Even in stressful situations. Try to remember to control your voice. Our voices are very powerful, and our words can also be great clues about how we feel about something. Keep that in mind in all of your communication with your students. We want them to feel love. We want them to know that any decision that we make for them is out of kindness and respect for them. When we are intentional with those kinds of things, parents are going to love you for being so nice to their little one.
Brag On Them
Another way to clearly demonstrate your love for students is to brag on them. Find some positive things to say and say it out loud so that their parents can see that you appreciate them. One way to do this publicly is to use positive notes home, which I talked about HERE. I gave you a free set of positive notes home that are emoji themed, so grab yours if you haven’t! When those go home or you put the pictures of the students receiving those awards on Facebook, parents are proud. And they’re also thankful that you took a moment to recognize their baby. Parents love seeing certificates and things like that, that really show that you are recognizing their child out of all those kids.
Another thing that I’m sure to do is that when students receive recognition, I always take pictures and put captions along with those pictures that are really descriptive about my feelings for that child. So if Paisley has received a positive note home, I snap a picture. I might say something like, “I absolutely love working with Paisley. She’s such a sweet girl, so kind and always willing to help.” When you do that often enough, your parents really begin to perceive you as someone who truly cares for their child.
You can also show your love for their child by giving personalized gifts from you that maybe includes a little hand written note about them. Parents keep stuff like this for ever. Trust me, I have a whole cabinet full of papers from Reagan’s kindergarten experience.
So for example, here in our primary teacher friends Facebook group in the file section, you can find an end of the year gift template that I made last year and gave to my kindergarten students. It includes a personalized picture that has a class name on it, and a place for you to insert a child’s picture. I put those in Dollar Tree frames and parents loved them. It also includes a bookmark that has the child’s name. On the back of that bookmark I just wrote a little note for each child that said, “Mrs. Mullins loves you. I support you. I can’t wait to see what you accomplish. I’ve had a wonderful year with you,” those kinds of things. And parents always compliment me for taking time to do that.
#2 – Parents Love You If You… Keep Them Informed
Rule number two is to always keep them informed. I know this is a give me, and you’ve probably heard this a million times, but I want you to really put some thought and effort into it and to understand it. Have you ever been in a situation where you weren’t sure of someone’s intentions and really didn’t know what was going on? Well, I’ve been in several. I can personally say that if there’s something going on that I need to know about and no one is giving me information, I get very nervous, offensive, and I’m more likely to have negative thoughts towards that person or whatever it is because of being left out of the circle.
It kind of goes back to everyone’s in night need to feel included and loved and appreciated. So always live by the rule that you want to keep your families or parents highly informed about their child. And although this does consume some of our thinking, and work time, if we set habits in place, it’s much much easier. If you get in a ritual of sending a weekly newsletter and taking pictures to post on social media and all of those things each week, it will become habit for you and you won’t have to put so much thought in how to keep your families informed.
Make it a Habit
Choose your communication outlets, stick with him throughout the school year, and use them in a way that is very repetitive. So if you want to inform your families of an upcoming spelling test, make a habit of the day before the spelling test, sending out that text. If you send homework folders home every Monday and you want to put a snippet of information in there get in a habit of doing that every week. Make a template, something that’s very quick and easy for you to insert information into.
Consider doing video updates each week or voice memo messages. Having your face and your voice attached to that information will help parents love you even more, they will become accustomed to your personality, your sweet voice, and that is a great asset to us.
Progress and Assessments
And of course, we need to keep our families informed about their student’s progress. You can implement systems that will help you do just that with a little planning and preparation. When you give students assessments, be sure to share their results with their families in a quick and meaningful way. For example, I always use my rainbow word system for sight word ID. Embedded within that system are printable parent feedback pages that quickly let me add the information and let parents know how their child did and the actions they need to take to help them improve.
It’s very hard to write a note for every assessment for every child. But it can be easier if we make templates and put systems into place. There have been times in the past where after a student completes an assessment, I just record a quick voice memo and send to that parent to let them know their results. It takes about 20 seconds. But parents truly appreciate that extra step that I took to keep them informed.
#3 – Parents Love You If You… Recruit Them to Be On Your Team
That moves us on to rule number three to always live by if you want parents to truly love and appreciate you as their child’s teacher and caregiver during the day. This rule is to always recruit parents to be on your team. Begin to think of them as team members rather than just observers.
So if you are the star of a football game, and there are people on the sidelines just watching to see if you fail, that can make you pretty nervous. If we recruit parents to be on our team, we have this goal of getting their child to the finish line. It takes some of the responsibility off of you and helps you both work for a common goal. And when they are on your team, they have to love you. Right? They have to have this respect for you as a teammate, and the relationship just gets better from that moment on.
How Do We Get On the Same Team?
What do I mean when I say to recruit them to be on your team? Utilize them to help their child become successful. Let them know that, hey, I need your help in this. You play such an important role in your child’s life, and I would be absolutely silly to think I could do this on my own.
Of course, this should happen in the beginning of the school year, but it’s never too late to bring families on your team. Maybe there is some really tough content that they need to reinforce at home. Or maybe their child is lacking some confidence and you need their parents to help you boost them up at home as you boost them up at school.
Another point to remember is to also celebrate victories with them. Now maybe they don’t even deserve it. I don’t know. But I’m going to give them credit because we are on the team together. So when we celebrate these victories together, it just really reinforces that we have brought this person on our team. Recruit them, let them be on your team, give them some accountability on what they need to do, and then celebrate the victories and give them some credit for what they actually did.
Ready to Make Parents Love You?
Follow these three rules and I guarantee you will begin to see over time that your parents love you more and therefore your life as a teacher becomes easier and more joyful. And let me tell you teacher that the more joy we have in our careers, the greater the impact we spread. Parents may not love you teacher but I sure do. And we’d love to have you over in the Primary Teacher Friends Facebook group!
I hope you have an incredible week with your students. We are nearing the end of the school year. Hang in there. Think of this time as a way to prepare for next year and learn some new things. And as always, until we meet again, go make a difference, teacher friend!