Parents are Heroes
When parents choose to invest their time in attending our programs, it can be easy for some key components to get lost in the busyness of getting a session up and rolling. But we’d like to invite you to pause, reflect, and rework how you approach your classes.
Why is this post called Parents are Heroes? Because this phrase keeps us centered. It can feel easiest to “take over” at times when a parent is struggling, a child is acting out, or you have a great idea to share with a parent group. It takes restraint and reframing to learn how to shine a light on the good (even when it feels tough) that parents are doing. It takes confident humility to lift others around you and make them feel like “more than.” We truly believe this is an element that, when executed well, brings families back again and again and provides better word of mouth advertising than you could ever buy.
3 Fantastic Tips for Making Parents the Hero:
1. Clear is Kind, Unclear is Unkind (Brene Brown) The more you can make class expectation clear, the more parents (& children too) feel at ease. Provide lots of communication before class starts, clear visuals as families enter your space, and clear expectations about what class time will hold.
2. Model kind and clear language. Parents often aren’t familiar with how to hold a boundary without giving a threat. Help them out. If they are calling over their child, rephrase what they say to be on their team. “Sam, I hear mom saying it’s time to pick up the blocks.” “Molly, it looks like dad is ready to do projects, let’s go help him out.” When a child is overwhelmed in a situation or in a space, offer the parent an alternative space, coach them through helping their child regulate, then talk through options that would be helpful to continue class.
3. Talk about strengths of each parent as often as possible. Parents are so hard on themselves. They get caught in the trap of comparison so easily. Do whatever you can to help draw out their strengths. Are they quiet, but present? Point that out. “Jayne, you are so engaged with your kiddo.” Are they laughing and being goofy? Point that out. Are they experiencing a tough day? Help them normalize their experience. “We all have tough days, I love how you are showing your kiddos perseverance.” (Note: this is not meant to be fake, and it is NOT to be used as a saccharine response to someone who needs help, mental health support or otherwise, it's about typical tough days and finding what we can that is good and can be a strength)
Remember Teddy Roosevelt’s quote “Comparison is the thief of joy,” and help each parent identify and celebrate what they ARE doing well.
Same holds true for you, teacher! Reflect on your teaching practice…what are you really good at? In what ways would you like to grow? What’s one small step you could take to continue your growth journey? Ready? Now get at it :) You can do it!