Each year my goal is to increase my parent-teacher relationship connection. There’s no surprise in knowing that with increased parent involvement in a child’s educational program, children can soar. Furthermore, the earlier the intervention, the better! If we can provide consistency between home and school interventions, kids and families benefit; and that’s what we are here for! The internet is jammed packed with an overwhelming amount of information. In the end I hear many families say, “I’m just exhausted and need to get dinner ready, and the laundry finished and everyone out the door.”
Receptive Language & Following Directions
We have to remember that in young children, receptive language is not yet fully developed. One of the “wants and needs” I hear often from families is that their child does not follow the directions they are given. Or that the usual, every day routines take so much support, and it becomes frustrating for both parent and child. The addition of visuals within the home has been the most successful change I have implemented. It is important to listen to the parent and start small. Sometimes we can get so excited about helping we can overwhelm parents. I like to ask if there is a specific routine they need help with or an area where frustration often occurs. If you cannot duplicate the schedules you use at school, you can encourage parents to make their own using their phones or online images. I love creating schedules for kiddos at home and using small visual strips for everyday tasks such as handwashing and bathroom routines. (Below, picture on left is a schedule I created and on the right is a parent assembled schedule that cost about $10 including the pocket chart).
Just like our kiddos, we have to teach parents how to implement schedules and visuals. Simply sticking them up on the wall is not enough. Explain and model to parents how, for example, when you are helping your child wash their hands, you point and emphasize each of the visual steps.
I also like to talk with parents about the parts of the day where they feel like they are constantly repeating themselves. Adding visuals to those areas such as one pump of soap, knowing when they need to use the bathroom or simply where to put toys back can be supported with visuals.
This is a picture from my classroom; however, this would be easy to duplicate by having the parent take a picture of where they want the child’s toys stored and printing them out. Nothing fancy needed!
Core Language at Home
Increasing communication is such a huge “want” from parents. The frustration that comes with not understanding what their child needs is so tough. Sometimes the smallest changes within a home can result in huge communication gains. Empowering parents with the knowledge of how to increase language in their child is truly priceless. I love sending home core language boards (and showing the parents simple ways to use them) and individual core language word cards. You can have a laminated copy in the bathroom for bath time, one on the fridge, bedroom, and living room! Many of my parents also have this communication food mat at home that I use at school (from littlemisskimsclass). Giving children structure on where food and drinks should be placed along with communication choices is a small yet BIG impact during mealtimes. Finally, depending on what communication method is utilized, mini PECS binders can be sent home to help support communication. This binder can be easily duplicated with online picture images, real images, and some Velcro.
Start small, and really listen to home needs. You can always add more later as parents become more comfortable with implementing small steps! Happy connecting!