6.1.3 Families are supported

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Current information is available to families about the service and relevant community services and resources to support parenting and family wellbeing.

Raising children can be difficult
The NQS wants us to use our strong relationships with parents to provide support for them, especially new parents. We need to be able to support families in their parenting role by being readily available for informal discussions with them at mutually convenient times. Further support is offered by referring families to current information on parenting and family issues displayed in the service, as well as referring them to recognised parenting and child development websites.

Case Study 1 – Role play parent interactions.
Karen the room leader says she and her educators, especially new educators, regularly act out and role play parent interactions to improve them. Karen says “not all educators feel comfortable talking to parents, especially when the educator is new, so that is why we act out and role play many different scenarios. These include:
⦁ Morning drop offs and afternoon collection of children, both easy transitions and difficult ones where the child is upset
⦁ what has happened through the day
⦁ taking parents to the curriculum and showing learning
⦁ talking about the family’s weekend adventures so we can use it for curriculum
⦁ encouraging parents to participate in the curriculum
⦁ difficult conversations (behaviour etc)
⦁ friendships their child is forming
⦁ activities to do at home with the children
⦁ staffing changes (educator away on leave or extended illness)
⦁ child’s illness
⦁ professional support services
⦁ sourcing community information (OT, doctors, professionals etc)
⦁ community events for children the busy parents might not know about.
This process has created a strong bond between parents, educators and the children. I tell my educators to always make the first move as some parents might be scared to talk to us, or don’t know what to talk about.”

No parent is going to take advice from educators they haven’t built trust and rapport with. That is why we need to practice, and role play our interactions to build our confidence, which in turn can assist parents.

Case Study – Not good
Educators stay seated where they are and yell across the room and say to the parents “Yeah, they had a good day.” Parents never ask educators for support.

Exceeding theme 3: Practice is shaped by meaningful engagement with families and community

Difficult conversations regarding children are easier when we have a great relationship with parents.

Case Study – three positives to one concern
At a centre, there were many children with difficult behaviours consistent with autism. Educators were frazzled, exhausted and ready to resign. The Nominated Supervisor and educators reflected and made a huge effort to start working with the families. After consistent relationship building which included talking to the parents about three positives the educators were having with the child and one area of concern, the families were then ready to take advice and seek further professional assistance.

Case Study – Parents opening up and requesting help
Not all parents are ready to hear advice from us, but as the relationship builds between educators and parents they will slowly ask for advice. A parent told the educator how unwell she had become. She described how her son would push toy dump trucks up and down her hallway from 4am each morning waking the whole household. The educator saw this opportunity to lead the parent to the specialists by telling her the specialist may have many strategies to help them to get the child to sleep through the night, so she could get a good sleep. The parent took the advice and sought the assistance from the specialist. Both the family and centre have a plan to assist the child and the mother and other family members are getting better sleep.

The key to supporting families is strong relationships and having community information ready and accessible for parents when they need it.
Remember to have information for parents to access without them needing to ask.


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