They can question your methods.
They can challenge your decisions.
They can complain, make demands, and waste your precious time.
Which is why it’s critical that you get them on your side, critical that they like you and trust you and support your program.
There are many strategies you can use to encourage their loyalty—including having a fair and consistent approach to classroom management, a professional but friendly personal style, and a clear, non-judgmental way of communicating.
These are important, to be sure. But there is one thing you can do that will secure not only their support, but also their enthusiastic endorsement. It’s so powerful, in fact, that it outperforms all other strategies combined.
It’s fast. It’s simple. It’s reliable. Even among parents whose reputations . . . ahem . . . precede them.
It doesn’t entail any extra work. You don’t have to try to be someone you’re not or change one thing about your program. You don’t even need to have met any of your parents.
So what is this miracle strategy?
You make sure your students have a great first day—as well as first week and first month—of school. You make sure they rush home to share what an cool experience they’re having in your classroom and how stoked they are for the rest of the school year.
In the end, this is what parents want. They want their child inspired. They want their child excited about school. They want their child encouraged and motivated and engaged in the most important activity of their young life.
Because they know that when their child is happy, they learn. They grow socially and academically. They take another step closer to independence.
Of course, in many, many classrooms this isn’t the case. Parents find themselves wringing their hands during the first days of a new school year. They pace and worry and brace for tears and disappointment and a gloomy report.
They prepare themselves to give a pep-talk, to put things into perspective, to guide, encourage and remind that it’s only for a year. They steel themselves for the unpleasant possibility that they’ll have to voice their concerns to the teacher, or even the principal.
So when their child leaps into their car smiling from ear to ear and offering a glowing review of their first day or first week, they exhale a summer’s worth of tension.
They’re relieved. They’re thrilled. They’re at peace. So much so that they’re quick to share their satisfaction with other parents. They’re quick to offer their compliments of you to your principal. They’re quick to sing your praises.
And your reputation spreads.
So instead of having parents in your ear, waiting for you after school, and emailing you in the middle of the night, they merely smile and wave.
They sign up to volunteer in your classroom. They ask what they can do to help you.
Because when their child is happy, they’re happy too.
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