Parent communication is crucial in your ministry to children and families. In planning curriculum and ministry initiatives, keeping parents both informed and involved is something that can’t be missed. This isn’t a complicated task, however. Here are a few simple things to keep in mind.
1. Don’t merely inform parents; involve them! It is valuable to let parents know what their children are learning and hearing while they are in your care. It is even more valuable to empower parents to expand on that teaching at home. This could simply mean that you establish a memory work plan and some follow-up questions to help parents engage their children in conversation about the Scriptural and Gospel truth they are learning about. Encourage them towards trusted resources that go along with the curriculum. Give them a starting place.
2. You don’t have to schedule a million parent meetings. In fact, don’t do that. Instead of planning a meeting and overloading them with too much information at once, break it up into simpler forms of communication. Maintain variety. Save your parent gatherings for ministry equipping.
3. Don’t communicate too many informational items at once, or something will get lost. Look at the next 6 months. What important events and opportunities are coming up? Prioritize no more than one or two informational pieces each month and give parents a chance to buy in to one thing at a time.
4. If sending a letter or an email, make it something of value to the readers. Take the time to make it visually appealing and easy to read (Constant Contact is a great resource). Don’t include mere information. Engage the parents in an active partnership. (i.e. Include interactive articles written by leaders, encourage them towards trusted resources, etc). They will stop opening your emails if you only ask them to sign up for things. A monthly email is sufficient. Don’t crowd their inbox. Keep emails original.
5. Keep your ministry’s Biblical vision in front them. Say it again and again in different ways. Show how your different ministry initiatives filter through that vision. Be clear with new parents about policies, and expectations of your servant teams. Organization and attention to detail in regards to the safety and spiritual growth of their child is valuable to them. Be careful to not assume that parents know and understand why you do what you do.
6. Talk to them! Be intentional with the families that walk through your doors each weekend. Take advantage of the face-to-face time you get with them each week. Prioritize your ministry to them over your administrative tasks each Sunday. It may be brief, but it is an opportunity, and it opens the door for further conversation throughout the week. Take the opportunity to follow-up with them.