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Relationship-Based Practices

When you engage with a family, you help strengthen the partnership with them. There are six Relationships-Based Practices that can help promote family engagement. These practices are intended to guide what staff say and do with families to support open communication and promote better understanding. Reflecting on how we apply Relationship-Based Practices can improve our efforts to strengthen relationships with families.

Relationship-Based Practices

  • Observe and describe the child's behavior to open community with the family
  • Reflect on the family's perspective
  • Support competence
  • Focus on the family-child relationship
  • Value a family's passion
  • Reflect on your own perspective

Sample Interactions Reflecting these Practices

Intake Meeting

  • Invite parents' input and use it in making decisions about the child and family
  • Be aware of your own biases

Follow Up During Informal Discussions

  • Use simple, clear, and objective descriptions of the child's behavior
  • Acknowledge and share child and parent behavior that demonstrates something about the family-child relationship

Home Visit

  • Use parent observations and interpretations to inform how you support the child's development
  • Invite parents to share their perspective on the child's behavior and development

Challenging Behavior

  • Recognize the child's strengths
  • Reframe parents' emotions as passion for their child

Within an Established Relationship

  • Share positive and specific information about the child with the family
  • Attribute the child's progress to parents' efforts

Topic:Family Engagement

Resource Type: Article

National Centers: Parent, Family and Community Engagement

Last Updated: March 5, 2018