When you look into the factors that make a daycare successful, you will find one common denominator: parental involvement and family engagement. Having a top-notch daycare center and offering excellent services to little children will amount to nothing if you fail to communicate what you are doing to the parents and guardians.
Parents like to be involved in their children’s lives, and daycare centers play a pivotal role in little ones’ daily routines. Therefore, fostering a close relationship with the parents is paramount, and the cornerstone of trust is communication.
As a result, more and more child care centers are stepping up their game by hosting events for parents and planning various family events. Such events are crucial and help to promote communication.
Moreover, they create a bridge between the home and the school, the two settings that will shape the child’s personality characteristics and boost their cognitive and physical growth.
This can be easier said than done when organizing the perfect parent-child care events can turn out to be a logistical nightmare. However, if you want to give your child care facility a competitive edge, hosting family events is no longer a matter of “if” but a matter of “when.”
So, how do you prepare and throw the best events for parents?
What To Consider During Event Planning
The ideal family events start with some brainstorming.
Several critical aspects of the event must be determined ahead of time and require careful thought before perfect execution. During event planning, you need to decide on three questions: type of event, time of day the event will occur, and event length.
1. Type Of Event
When it comes to parent-child care events, there is a plethora of options and themes you can choose from. The life of a preschooler is exciting, and even the small things that happen are a whole new experience for them. Each unique experience is a wonderful opportunity for a family event and a great way to showcase your work and portray the beautiful school community you have curated for your students. Some ideas could be:
- Preschool open house
- Preschool garden party
- Santa’s workshop
- Christmas celebration
- Art show
- Pumpkin carving
- Thanksgiving theme
- Welcoming Spring family event
- Easter egg hunt
- World book day event
- Literacy Fun Activities
- Get-together picnics
2. Time of Day
Once you have decided on the event, you need to pick the ideal time of day to host the event. Not all events lend themselves to the same time slot. For example, an easter egg hunt outside in the preschool yard would be best around noon when the weather has warmed up and the sun is shining. On the other hand, literacy fun activities are best to take place early in the morning while the children are well-rested and can concentrate and participate in your lesson.
Whatever you decide, bear in mind that middle-of-the-day events may inconvenience your parents. It is hard to take time off work during the day to attend an event and then return to work only to come back again later to pick up their children. So, be considerate of your parents’ needs and try to schedule events first in the morning – when they drop off their little ones – or later in the day – shortly before they are due to pick them up.
3. Length of Event
Ideally, family events should not run over 1.5-2 hours. Events for parents are exciting and are an opportunity for your parents’ community to get together and catch up on their news. However, if your event runs longer, you will end up with agitated and tired children and anxious parents to get to their work (if the event is early in the morning) or head back home (if your event is before closing time).
4. Don’t Forget The Invites!
Once you have decided on the what, when, and how long of your family event, it is time to send the word out. We are not saying that you should shout it to the rooftops, but you should make sure that your parents are aware of the upcoming event ahead of time.
An invitation placed in the children’s cubby a month before the event is critical to give parents ample time to request time off work. Then, as the event nears, you can send out email newsletters and reminders and advertise the parent-child event on the school’s website and social media accounts.
Don’t forget to request that the parents reserve their slot and confirm their participation, especially if there is food involved, so you can plan accordingly and shop for supplies.
Preparation For The Event
Preparation for the event can start a couple of weeks prior. First, you must make a thorough list of all the supplies you will need for that day for your craft, art, and lesson activities. Next, go through what you already have available in your child care center. Finally, gather your available supplies and check them off your list so that you know precisely what you need to shop for.
Events for parents can be a daunting task and are never a one-person show. Therefore, preparation for the family event also requires finding others to help you run them. Set up a volunteer list and delegate tasks to others to ensure that the day flows smoothly and seamlessly.
Remember that RSVP you requested? In the hassle of everyday routine, it is not uncommon for many parents to forget to inform you of their attendance. Taking the time to call the parents personally and ask whether they will attend will make them feel valued and appreciated. Even if they had no intention of attending the family event, a personal reminder call would make them reconsider.
Now that you have your attendance list in order, plan for food supplies and go grocery shopping for tasty snacks, treats, coffee and tea.
What To Provide During The Event
You have planned and prepared, and the family event day is finally here! What do you need to provide during the event?
First of all, you need to have a welcome area. You could have name tags ready for the parents to wear. A teacher could be responsible for welcoming the parents to the school premises and guiding them to the event area.
Have a coffee and snacks station available where the event will take place. Parents can grab a coffee and catch up with one another while they wait for everyone to arrive and the event to begin.
Planning a couple of interactive activities that parents can do with their children is a great way to kick off the event. This gives parents a hands-on experience of what their children are learning and what sort of activities your child care center uses to achieve these learning goals. Alternatively, you can set up your students’ portfolios for the parents to browse and see their child’s progress.
Research shows that successful daycare centers actively pursue and encourage parents to become involved in their children’s school life.
Even though events for parents can be a hassle, they help foster a relationship of trust and establish a freeway of communication.
Family events connect home life and school life, ensuring that little ones feel safe, cared for, and flourish academically and emotionally.