Today’s young families are used to constant connections. According to a recent post by Millennial Marketing, more than 75% of Millennials have their mobile devices glued to their palms. They thrive on engagement. What can you do beyond your daily face-to-face greetings to serve your families online and off line, and assure their retention at this time of year when they can be vulnerable to a change if they are not getting what they expected from your services?
Here are a few outbound steps you can take to make sure you are connecting with your center’s families.
- Email newsletter. Send this regularly, not only telling them what is going on in the center, but linking them to special children’s events in your area, to articles supporting your approach to early care and education, or to information from your quality ranking organization that help your parents understand the value of your high rank.. Make your newsletter more merely than a journal of center activities; make it a valuable resource your parents look forward to receiving.
- Real-time news. Parents used to instant communications will appreciate securely- shared paperless communications they can receive on their mobiles while their child is with you. App-based systems, such as Kid Report or Life Cubby provide parents with visual, real-time communication on their child’s daily activities. A welcome offline approach is to call a parent with what I call a “Happygram”. When the child reaches a milestone or does something good,
personal contact by phone from the child’s teacher, followed by an email or a written note can make the parent feel part of what’s happening while they are away. They engage, they smile, they stay.
- A method for interacting with their child’s daily learning. Do you give your families a tangible way to interact with their children and reinforce the day’s learning activities once they leave the center? If not, you are missing an opportunity to connect with them. Choose a specific topic the parents can ask their children about on the way home or in the evening. Perhaps it is something like, “Tell me what two things can go together, such as comb and brush, ice cream and cone.” I have seen this done effectively with a send –home “Car Talk” card. This kind of action allows you to become the conduit for parents to feel engaged in their child’s development in your program.
When you do a good job of initiating contact with your parents, you support your positioning as a knowledgeable, professional, helpful resource they can trust. You want to become that resource, because it not only serves them well, it bonds them to you as customers. They then refer you to others, and fell more like true partners in the early education services you provide.