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Enrich Your Child (and Yourself!) by Connecting with Other Parents

Photo by FatCamera / iStock
Photo by FatCamera / iStock

Amidst the everyday chaos of working, prepping meals, and running errands, it may seem like there’s very little time left—so when you reach your child’s day care center, you’re probably itching to just get home asap. We get it, believe us, but there’s a really good reason for sticking around for just a few minutes to chat. Taking the time to make connections with other parents at your child care or early education center has the potential to benefit your family, your child, and even your center, too. Here’s how:

1. It’s Good for You.

It’s easy to get a conversation started if you take the time to try, especially at pick-up and drop-off times. No matter where you are on your parenting journey, this comes with great perks for you. Even if you aren’t a first-time parent, talking with parents who are having similar child-rearing and child care experiences can give you the gumption to persevere and comfort knowing you’re not alone. Sharing with other parents also lets you reinforce what you already know and gives you opportunities to learn something new from them. Who knows, maybe somebody at your center already found a perfect guide to potty-training and can point you in the right direction!

2. It’s Good for Your Child.

By the time your child is a preschooler (or even sooner), he may begin expressing interest in friendships with peers—and a really good way to help him accomplish that is by connecting with parents of other kids. Even better, when you communicate with other parents, you’re also helping your child develop social-emotional skills and giving him an opportunity to see, appreciate, and acknowledge differences in families.

This isn’t something you want to skip out on: Developing relationships is an important part of early childhood development. Naturally, how this looks varies depending on the child—some kids are naturally comfortable socializing and maintaining a large group of friends, some prefer just one special friend, and others may need support in creating meaningful relationships with their peers. If your child is struggling and you’re not sure how to help him form friendships, reach out to your child’s teacher. He or she will have great insights into how you can support emerging friendships while keeping your child comfortable and happy.

3. It’s Good for Your Center.

Even in the early years, parental involvement in children’s school experiences impacts the quality of children’s experiences, so get involved! Ask your center director to share ways that you can support the program—not only will the kids benefit, but you’ll have plenty of opportunities to forge strong and lasting friendships with other parents who are getting involved. Most of our centers are now accredited, but some are still in the process of achieving national accreditation—and those still in that process really need their families’ involvement because it’s a crucial component to demonstrating a high-quality program. If your center can achieve accreditation, everyone benefits across the board!
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