Staying Connected with Families: A Parent’s Perspective
Being the parent of an infant is hard. Being the parent of an infant amid a global pandemic is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. But like most things in life, it had a silver lining. Whereas I had expected to jump back into work when my new daughter was only 12 weeks old, I instead was able to keep her home with me full-time for the first 14 months of her life.
Although juggling work and a young child was difficult, I loved having my daughter near me during the day. Taking a quick break between Zoom meetings while she played with blocks or going to wake her up from her nap were blissful little moments in my workday. While I was keeping pace with my career, I loved that I was still able to watch her growth and development every day for over a year. It was hard, but it was the best of both worlds.
When the time came to send my daughter to an early childhood program in our neighborhood, it was a bittersweet moment. I was thrilled to send her to a program with a great reputation in our community, but I was also sad that I was going to be missing out on all the little moments in her day. Would I still get to see all her “firsts?” Would her diaper be changed often enough? What if she didn’t nap well and was grumpy when she came home?
Staying Connected From Drop-Off to Pick-Up
Luckily, my fears were put to rest when my daughter started her program. My daughter’s teachers used Teaching Strategies GOLD and Tadpoles, and they took full advantage of the two-way parent communication app. Each afternoon, I receive a Daily Report from the teachers explaining when her diapers were changed, what she ate, and when she slept that day. I also get a description of any fun activities they did that day and reminders for anything I need to bring soon, like extra clothes or diapers.
My favorite part of the two-way communication, however, is the shared documentation of her development and learning. I receive push notifications on my phone (and because the app syncs with my Apple Watch, I get a tap on my wrist as well!) alerting me that my daughter has a new piece of documentation that was shared with me. Opening the app to see a picture or video of my child with a description of which learning objectives she is demonstrating that day makes me feel like I still get to be a part of her day. I am not missing out on her development and learning like I’d feared: I am seeing it all unfold while I am at work. Of course, because I can always send information right back to her teachers via the app, I truly feel like we are partners in her day.
Even though I work with these early childhood solutions every day in my position at Teaching Strategies, experiencing them from this side gives me a new appreciation for them. Any parent of a young child knows how important it is to understand how routines such as eating and sleeping happened earlier that day—they have a very real impact on the rest of the day. Every parent deserves to see, too, how their child is learning and growing each day. Having all this information delivered and archived in a digital format certainly beats having to keep track of the paper daily sheets from my own toddler-teaching days.
I am so thankful to my daughter’s early learning program for making this investment in teacher-family communication. It has put my mind at ease and made the transition into full-time care more comfortable. Not to mention, I look forward to the notification each day that contains my daughter’s daily report and learning update!