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Old 07-23-2018, 02:41 PM
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Default Parent Communications

Another thread today reminded me I need to decide on the best method for parent communications for my program this upcoming school year. I have found good communications cut down on parents trying to talk my ear off during drop off and pick up but I want a plan. My clients are helicopter parents and want/expect daily updates --- this is just the clientele, so I have to find a way to embrace it. I will be eligible to double my enrollment this Fall so I need to be sure whatever I start that I can sustain as the enrollment grows from six up to twelve dcks. My program is a home based preschool just part day.... ages 2-5.

I have been experimenting with two different parent communication methods:

Method #1 Daily Written Notes
(similar to this one in the image attached)
I can tell some of my parents love the reports - it gives them something to talk about with their child in the evening and they put it up on the fridge, etc. some ignore it and I find it just trash in the bottom of the lunch box the next day.... :roll eyes: It takes about 1 minute per dck to complete and about an additional 15-20 minutes a week to pre-fill (while I lesson plan)


Method #2 Class Shutterfly Share Site
I like the Shutterfly site a lot it has our calendar, photos, volunteer sign ups, wish list, etc. The big draw back I have found is that some days I am too busy to take photos during our actual activities and the Shutterfly Share Site is mostly structured for photo updates, which is what makes it so easy. I could add a blog/journal area to the Share Site documenting what we are actually doing (which would take 15 minutes or so a day). This would be less focused on "their" child and more on the group. I also wonder if parents will even log into the site to read a blog/journal if I take the time to write it....

I'm still debating between the two communication methods so right now it is a combo, nether has been a clear winner or loser. (The methods I have tried that do not work for me are Facebook Pages, Brightwheel, & Wordpress Blog)

What would you like as a parent? What would you offer as a provider in my shoes? Should I offer both? Any thoughts/advice?
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Old 07-23-2018, 03:30 PM
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I just replied to the "other thread"....

As a parent, I prefer the note like you showed above. My current daycare has a different one for each age group. Infants include bottles/solids/naps/diapers and once they are a little bigger there is a box for "what I did today..." where they show the main focus of the day (sometimes it's a color, or an animal, or something else).

It gets REALLY repetitive, fast. To the point where I only care if something is out of the ordinary (usually the caregiver will point out at pick up -- "look, he didn't eat any of his 5pm snack, that's really out of the ordinary for him"

I find myself usually focusing on one aspect of the note. Usually I care most about how well my kids nap. I will be completely honest and say I heavily stalk any social media-image type blog thing that previous daycare offered....I can't see anyone NOT looking at it, as long as they know about it. However, I much prefer the paper. Especially if you are trying to minimize pick up times.
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Old 07-23-2018, 03:32 PM
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I just do a new sign (piece of paper) everyday by the sign in/ sign out: "Today we...." And write down a few things. Since all the kids will be nearly the same activities, etc. I'll say we read Corduroy, We played with water beads, we tried eggs and grits and we loved it... Etc. We always have a menu posted, so they know what we ate, but if it was a new food and if there were something to say about it (liked it, didn't like it, the recipe was a disaster, etc).
On the "Today we..." Sheet, I only list about 4 things. Otherwise probably gets long.
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Old 07-23-2018, 03:37 PM
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Yes, be careful not to go overboard.

You don't need to do something that takes a ton of time. You already do enough for us parents!

Usually in the "today we" section on our papers we just get one word! It's not grammatically correct, either.

"today I did .... LEPRECHAUNS!"

That's it. That's okay!
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Old 07-23-2018, 04:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by happymom View Post
I just replied to the "other thread"....

As a parent, I prefer the note like you showed above. My current daycare has a different one for each age group. Infants include bottles/solids/naps/diapers and once they are a little bigger there is a box for "what I did today..." where they show the main focus of the day (sometimes it's a color, or an animal, or something else).

It gets REALLY repetitive, fast. To the point where I only care if something is out of the ordinary (usually the caregiver will point out at pick up -- "look, he didn't eat any of his 5pm snack, that's really out of the ordinary for him"

I find myself usually focusing on one aspect of the note. Usually I care most about how well my kids nap. I will be completely honest and say I heavily stalk any social media-image type blog thing that previous daycare offered....I can't see anyone NOT looking at it, as long as they know about it. However, I much prefer the paper. Especially if you are trying to minimize pick up times.
I agree I think the repetitive nature bores parents and they stop reading them --- they appreciate them initially but stop paying attention.

I could not tell from your post on one hand you say you like the paper notes best but you also say you pay more attention to the social media.

I do think "showing parents" with pictures is better than a piece of paper but it can be difficult to always get pictures....
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Old 07-23-2018, 04:51 PM
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I do 90% of my communication verbally at drop off and pick up. Anything outside of that is communicated through text “I need diapers” “kid has a fever” that sort of thing. I also have a private FB Page where I share pictures once a week showing what we did all week. I take 2-3 pics a day and choose the best ones st the end of the week.

I did the paper report at a Centre and when I first started and in my experience parents do not read it. They are interested at first but it gets old fast. Taking 10 minutes out of my day for parents who are not reading it is not worth it. I can tell them at pickup if they ask. Most parents don’t care. I also used to post a weekly menu but had parents continually ask me what we ate so I got fed up with that too.
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Old 07-23-2018, 04:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CalCare View Post
I just do a new sign (piece of paper) everyday by the sign in/ sign out: "Today we...." And write down a few things. Since all the kids will be nearly the same activities, etc. I'll say we read Corduroy, We played with water beads, we tried eggs and grits and we loved it... Etc. We always have a menu posted, so they know what we ate, but if it was a new food and if there were something to say about it (liked it, didn't like it, the recipe was a disaster, etc).
On the "Today we..." Sheet, I only list about 4 things. Otherwise probably gets long.
I am trying to minimize their time at pick up.... a sign that would lead to more conversation is the opposite of my goal.

I could imagine my parents now reading that sign then... "Did Billy like Corduroy? Does he sit still when you read? At home he will only sit still when I read X dinosaur book. Do you have that book?" or they would ignore the sign all together and each individually ask about our day.... I'd point to the sign then the above convo would happen, LOL!

Honestly I love my dck's parents but when you multiply them times 6 or 12 it's too much!
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Old 07-23-2018, 04:54 PM
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Lol yes, do focus on the goal haha
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Old 07-23-2018, 04:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CalCare View Post
Lol yes, do focus on the goal haha
Honestly I cracked up just thinking about how they would respond to that --- part of me would LOVE to do that.

Since we are in a similar area / market do you find your clients want this same sort of communication? Is this a reflection of the social media addiction society seems to have now? I have accepted that I need to embrace my clients expectations but it is a bit surprising at times.
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Old 07-23-2018, 06:10 PM
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I text once a day for a couple of parents at nap then the couple others on another day. Plus the what we did today sheet. Plus the posted menu plus I make collages about what we have done/pursued recently like a Reggio style documentation with text, photos and art examples. I don't do a newsletter or a daily sheet... I mean mine all seem super happy and say I don't charge enough lol so I guess I'm fine for them. They are familiar with RIE and seem to understand Reggio and feel like they are getting a hell of a deal... It seems
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Old 07-23-2018, 06:13 PM
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Back when I started out, I did notes similar to the ones you posted.
I thought they worked great... for the 1st year or so.

I'd find them scattered about in my driveway or crumpled up in bags. Or when I mentioned the "needs" of a child (diapers) and they never noticed I wrote that down- hence never read.
Then I broke it down cost-wise with the extra paper, ink and time and it just wasn't worth it to me.

I have a communication board where I write down the week's menu and preschool goals.
I have a blog- yes, I do get parents logging into it every day. I post videos, pictures and business info.
I also text at nap time (needs/supplies and pertinent info).

I know lots of providers love bright wheel. I'm just not into sharing that much nor do I want the expectation of writing in it everyday.

The communication board- I write on Mondays and that's it.
The blog, I do 1-2 times a week.
That's enough for me!
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Old 07-24-2018, 06:19 AM
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When I started finding daily sheets thrown under my porch, in my yard and along the road of my neighborhood, I stopped doing them.

I simplified.

1. I answer any question they ask during face to face times. They generally stop asking after the first couple months.

2. I schedule conferences every 3 months following assessments to plan individual curriculum goals. Most cancel stating they have no concerns and are busy.

3. I post weekly/monthly (depending on how many of each age group I have) summary photos of activities, art, garden and playground time. Most go unacknowledged.

4. I send home free art daily and projects weekly. I keep a photographic record of art/emergent writing the parents can view online anytime to see progress through the years enrolled.
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Old 07-24-2018, 06:27 AM
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I do logs/ daily reports for under 12 months with feeding times & amounts and diaper changes. Otherwise it's either talk to DCPs at pick up and quick texts/ pic of their child's activities.

I stopped doing daily reports after I started putting smart alec/ funny notes for children's activities. I did it for almost a week with 4 children before someone said something.
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Old 07-24-2018, 07:03 AM
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There is a program in my area that charges parents for daily notes.

For infants, I think they charge $1.00 per
Older kids, I think they charge $1.50 per

Parents can read the group bulletin board upon pickup (lists daily activities and meals/snacks) if they want general details verses individual daily notes on every area of play/learning etc

For parents of verbal kids that don't care if they have actual written logs for their child can chit chat on the way home about the details of their day if they want to know any additional things.

For infants, I imagine it depends on the parent. Some want the sheets to keep baby on schedule etc and other parents seem to do just fine by winging it.

At first I thought the idea was odd but now I see it as a way to weed out those parents that really don't want these daily sheets. Saves the provider time not having to do them if the parent doesn't really care.

Those that do care, can pay for the little extra benefit.
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