One of the first opportunities for staff and families to partner may be during the enrollment period. Invite both parents to attend and be flexible in scheduling meetings at times when they can be present together. Although it would be ideal for both parents to be present during those initial discussions, acknowledge that it may not be practical or convenient. Reflect on how you can build the relationship with one parent and continue to grow your partnership with the other. In some cases, you might build relationships separately with each parent. If the initial meeting is with one parent, you might schedule a follow-up conversation with the other or both parents.
If you are meeting with the mother first, ask about the other adults involved in regular caregiving, including fathers and father figures. She might have thoughts about their perspectives and goals for the child. Offer to schedule a separate time with the father to capture his insights and contributions. You can use the family partnership process as another chance to engage parents together or separately where necessary. Including these kinds of strategies into your program policies will support staff in relationship-building from the start.
At enrollment, you might ask a parent:
- Who are the important people in your child's life?
- What other adults should we communicate with about your child?
- What are the best times to meet for both parents to participate?
National Centers:Parent, Family and Community Engagement
Last Updated: December 3, 2019