Guidelines for Parent-Child Communication

Good communication is an important parenting skill. Parenting can be more enjoyable when positive parent – child relationship is established. Whether you are parenting a toddler or a teenager, good communication is the key to building self-esteem as well a mutual respect.


Basic Principles of Good Parent/Child Communication

  • Let the child know that you are interested and involved and that you will help when needed.
  • Turn off the television or put the newspaper down when your child wants to converse.
  • Avoid taking a telephone call when the child has something important to tell you.
  • Unless other people are specifically meant to be included, hold conversations in privacy. The best communication between you and the child will occur when others are not around.
  • Embarrassing the child or putting him on the spot in front of others will lead only to resentment and hostility, not good communication.
  • Don’t tower over your child. Physically get down to the child’s level then talk.
  • If you are very angry about a behavior or an incident, don’t attempt communication until you regain your cool, because you cannot be objective until then. It is better to stop, settle down, and talk to the child later.
  • If you are very tired, you will have to make an extra effort to be an active listener. Genuine active listening is hard work and is very difficult when your mind and body are already tired.
  • Listen carefully and politely. Don’t interrupt the child when he is trying to tell his story. Be as courteous to your child as you would be to your best friend.
  • Don’t be a wipe-out artist, unraveling minor threads of a story and never allowing the child’s own theme to develop. This is the parent who reacts to the incidentals of a message while the main idea is list: i.e., the child starts to tell about what happened and the parent says, “I don’t care what they are doing, but you had better not be involved in anything like that.”
  • Don’t ask why, but do ask what happened.
  • If you have knowledge of the situation, confront the child with the information that you know or have been told.
  • Keep adult talking (“You’ll talk when I’m finished.” “I know what’s best for you.” “Just do what I say and that will solve the problem”), preaching and moralizing to a minimum because they are not helpful in getting communication open and keeping it open.
  • Don’t use put-down words or statements: dumb, stupid, lazy: “Stupid, that makes no sense at all” or “What do you know, you’re just a child.”
  • Assist the child in planning some specific steps to the solution.
  • Show that you accept the child himself, regardless of what he has or has not done.
  • Reinforce the child for keeping communication open. Do this by accepting him and praising his efforts to communicate.

Words of Encouragement and Praise

Children thrive on positive attention. Children need to feel loved and appreciated. Most parents find that it is easier to provide negative feedback rather than positive feedback. By selecting and using some of the phrases below on a daily basis with your child, you will find that he will start paying more attention to you and will try harder to please.

Yes    Good    Fine    Very good    Very fine    Excellent Marvelous   At-a-boy Right

That’s right    Correct    Wonderful    I like the way you do that    I’m pleased with (proud of ) you

That’s good    Wow    Oh boy   Very nice    Good work    Great going    Good for you    That’s the way

Much better       O.K.    You’re doing better    That’s perfect Good idea    What a cleaver idea

That’s it    Good job    Great job controlling yourself    I like the way you ______

I noticed that you ____      Keep it up    I had fun ______ with you

You are improving at ______ more and more    You showed a lot of responsibility when you ______

Way to go    I appreciate the way you ______    You are great at that    You’re the best

Good remembering    That’s beautiful    I like your______

I like the way you ______ with out having to be asked (reminded)

I’m sure glad you are my son/daughter    Now you’ve got it    I love you

You can SHOW them how you feel as well as tell them:

Smile    Nod    Part on shoulder, head, knee Wink

Signal or gesture to signify approval    High five    Touch cheek

Tickle    Laugh (with, not at)    Pat on the back    Hug

One Final Touch

If a child lives with criticism, he learns to condemn.
If a child lives with hostility, he learns to fight.
If a child lives with ridicule, he learns to be shy.
If a child lives with fear, he learns to be apprehensive.
If a child lives with shame, he learns to feel guilty.
If a child lives with tolerance, he learns to be patient.
If a child lives with encouragement he learns to be confident.
If a child lives with acceptance, he learns to love.
If a child lives with recognition, he learns it is good to have a goal.
If a child lives with honesty he learns what truth is.
If a child lives with fairness, he learns justice.
If a child lives with security, he learns to have faith in himself and those about him.
If a child lives with friendliness, he learns the world is a nice place in which to live to love and be loved.





Tips for Strong Parent-Teacher Cooperation and Communication

As many schools across the country prepare for the start of the back-to-school season, it’s easy to get caught up in the chaos of school supply and classroom shopping, end-of-summer assignments, creating lesson plans, and meet-the-teacher nights. However, one of the most impactful steps you can take (as a parent or as a teacher) is to take some time to focus on establishing a good parent-teacher relationship at the outset of the school year. This will help lay the foundation for healthy parent-teacher cooperation and communication throughout the year.

Why Parent-Teacher Cooperation is Important

Strong parent-teacher cooperation in and outside of the classroom has a number of short- and long-term benefits for students. Research has indicated that there are positive academic outcomes stemming from parent involvement.[1] In fact, parent involvement remains a strong predictor of academic achievement at all levels, from kindergarten through high school, as these children have fewer grade retentions and are more likely to graduate.[2]

For Schools: How to Promote Parent-Teacher Cooperation

Some of the most effective ways that schools can foster healthy communication and collaboration between parents and teachers is delineated in a research-based framework developed by Joyce Epstein of Johns Hopkins University:[3]

  • Parenting: Assist families with parenting skills, family support, understanding child and adolescent development, and setting home conditions to support learning at each age and grade level.
  • Communicating: Communicate with families about school programs and student progress. Create two-way communication channels between school and home that are effective and reliable.
  • Volunteering: Improve recruitment and training to involve families as volunteers and as audiences at the school or in other locations. Enable educators to work with volunteers who support students and the school. Provide meaningful work and flexible scheduling.
  • Learning at Home: Involve families with their children in academic learning at home, including homework, goal setting, and other curriculum-related activities.
  • Decision Making: Include families as participants in school decisions, governance, and advocacy activities through school councils or improvement teams, committees, and other organizations.

By establishing policies and procedures that address the above initiatives, schools can begin establishing a school-wide community and culture that promotes positive parent-teacher cooperation and communication.

For Teachers: How to Develop Strong Parent-Teacher Partnerships with Your Students’ Parents

As a teacher, you likely understand the impact that a students’ home life can have on the school day. By establishing relationships built on strong parent-teacher cooperation and communication, you can partner with parents to help students succeed inside and outside of the classroom.

  • Avoid “dumping”: This is a scenario in which a frustrated or upset teacher gets in touch with parents and “dumps” the problem onto them. Instead, try the “three call method” to establish a positive, working relationship with parents. Early in the year, teachers should try to call each student’s parents to set the framework for a partnership. The second phone call should focus on something positive that the child has done, such as a good grade on a math test, excellent behavior during a class period, or something similar. Then, on the third call, if necessary, the teacher can present the parents with a problem. “In this way, parents and teachers have already established a trusting, workable relationship that significantly diminishes blaming.”


  • Prioritize Parent/Teacher Conferences: “Parent-teacher conferences give you the opportunity to boost communication about their child’s progress. Similarly, it affords you the opportunity to extend the communication lines beyond the four walls (i.e. between home and school, as well as develop strategies and plans for the students’ future together.”


  • Make Yourself Available: At the outset of the school year, inform parents that you are available to discuss any questions or concerns that they may have. Whether that means being accessible via phone, text, or email between certain hours or having weekly office hours in which parents can schedule in-person appointments is up to you. The most important part is establishing your availability and your willingness to work with parents to help their child succeed.


For Parents: How to Foster Positive Relationships with Your Child’s Teachers

Developing positive parent-teacher cooperation is a two-way street, and there are a number of proactive steps that parents can take to help cultivate this relationship.

  • Approach the relationship with respect: “Treat the teacher-parent-child relationship the way you would [treat] any really important one in your life. Create a problem-solving partnership instead of confronting a teacher immediately with what’s wrong.”


  • Let your child develop their own relationship with the teacher.


It’s important for parents to give their child space and time to develop a relationship with their teacher that is independent of their own. Try to reserve your own opinions and judgments, especially if they are not positive, so that your child is not influenced by them.

  • Communicate in the most effective way possible for both you and the teacher. This may mean sending a quick e-mail or a handwritten note in your child’s school folder. Or it may mean scheduling before- or after-school, in-person meetings for a quick chat. By maintaining open lines of communication in a respectful and efficient way, you can help develop a healthy and productive parent-teacher relationship.


Improving Parent-Teacher Cooperation and Communication in Your School

One of the best ways to evaluate the current state of parent-teacher cooperation in your school is through anonymous surveys. These assessments, available for both teachers and parents, offer a big-picture perspective on a number of key data points, such as teacher perceptions of parental involvement with student behaviors and parent perceptions of school and family engagement.
Regardless of how you approach the parent-teacher relationship at the outset of a new school year, one fact remains clear: “the key to successful parent-teacher collaboration is to become a team. This collaboration is the most powerful tool in helping a child be successful at school…As parents and teachers learn the value of this collaboration, they can create an environment that supports the ability for all students to succeed.”[10]

[1]Patrikakou, Evanthia N. “The Power of Parent Involvement: Evidence, Ideas, and Tools for Student Success.” Center on Innovation & Improvement. Retrieved from on August 11, 2016.


[3]Epstein, J. L. and K. Salinas. 1992. School and Family Partnerships Encyclopedia of Education Research, 6th edition, New York: Macmillan.

[4]“Curwin, Richard. “Parents and Teachers: The Possibility of a Dream Team.” Retrieved from on August 12, 2016.

[5]“Cox, Janelle. “Parent-Teacher Collaboration Strategies That Work.” Retrieved from on August 15, 2016.


[7]“The Parent-Teacher Partnership.” Retrieved from on August 12, 2016.


[9]“Talking with Teachers.” Retrieved from on August 12, 2016.

[10]“Cox, Janelle. “Parent-Teacher Collaboration Strategies That Work.” Retrieved from on August 15, 2016.

source :