Our Facebook live guest is Michelle Dragalin. Michelle earned her Educational Specialist in Educational Technology from Walden University, Master of Education from the University of Phoenix, Bachelor of Art in Special Education from Old Dominion University, and Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Bemidji State University. Michelle is an elementary school teacher (PK-8) in Texas, has worked as an elementary school teacher in Colorado elementary and as a special education teacher.

The Communicating with Families course focuses on strengthening communication skills when starting a new position as well as advancing work relationships through daily conversations and interactions with families.

The Communicating with Families course focuses on strengthening communication skills when starting a new position as well as advancing work relationships through daily conversations and interactions with families.

Many topics were discussed and enjoy the re-play to learn about:

  • Why face to face conversations are so important
  • Challenges with text messaging
  • Communication tips when you meet potential employers
  • Common concerns parents share

Can you share why communication is so important when working with families?

Michelle: Families today have chaotic schedules and the larger the family – the more potential chaos. Playdates, school, work meetings, cooking, sports, and summer vacations are just a few of the family activities and commitments that can create a hectic schedule but strong communications between families and nannies can help child routines go smoothly. Communication is critical in maintaining family routines and minimizing stress.

In an age of text messages and emails, why are face to face conversations important?

Michelle: The benefits of a face to face conversation are sometimes overlooked. Taking a few minutes when transferring supervisory responsibilities can make a world of difference. Nannies can communicate the highlights of how the children were feeling and behaving while in her care and the family can share the key activities for the day. Remember to make eye contact and be aware of how your body image impacts the meaning of your words. Speak clearly and listen attentively. If you are receiving a lot of information, take notes and then restate the information to make sure your comprehension is accurate.

When discussing the job responsibilities, how can you make sure the communication is clear?

Michelle: Each nanny position is unique with respect to job duties and expectations. A work agreement is a great tool that lists the job responsibilities and expectations which allows the families and nannies to align on expectations. Work agreements are developed between the nanny and the family with both sides agreeing to the contents. Work agreements most often start as a conversation about the job and advance into a written document to ensure both sides understand the position as well as the compensation. If you don’t have one already, take a few minutes to review a work agreement as there are a lot of free templates, including one on Amslee’s website.

When working with a family, how do you develop strong communication and ensure it’s clear?

Michelle: A communication center provides a place to help the family and nanny share information. A communication center can be a physical location such as a bulletin board, refrigerator, or cubby hole. It can also make use of today’s technology and be a group email list or a joint electronic calendar. The crucial element is that every family member has access and regularly checks the communication center. Nannies and Families must have access to the communication center. Sharing key information about activities and events with their locations and times help the nanny know when and where to care for the children so she can do the job successfully.

What information should be tracked and shared with the Family?

Michelle: A daily report may be a one-page template or a quickly written note highlighting the activities and key points from the day. The contents of the daily log will differ based on the child’s age and the desires of the parents. It may include feeding, toileting, activities, completed homework, and any household management duties completed during the day, among other things. Unusual events such as symptoms of an illness or a fall at the playground, as well as any actions taken by the nanny such as administering medication or getting medical assistance should be listed. The daily log should be shared in the communication center. Of course – an emergency must be handled appropriately and then summarized later in the daily log.

Thank you, Michelle, for your time tonight!! If you aren’t already, follow Amslee Institute on social media to see weekly articles published by our faculty and other Facebook live chats.

To learn more, a Communicating with Families course is available with enrollment in the Advanced Childcare program.