Here are some ways you can encourage families to be active participants in your program:

  • Make every meeting a two-way exchange of information.
  • Consider family needs. Make it dear that you are including families in decisions that affect their children.
  • Find ways to reflect families' home language and culture in all aspects of your program. 
  • Communicate regularly with families. 
  • Consider creating a parent education-and-support program based on what families want and need. 
  • Understand the importance of finding staff and administrators who come from the families' cultural, ethnic and racial backgrounds. 
  • Find out if there is a family hierarchy in decision making. The relative who brings the child to your program may not be the one to make the decisions about matters concerning the child. The decision maker may be the father who stays behind the scenes or perhaps a family elder 
  • If you need a translator, find another adult to do it. Try not to use young children to interpret for parents unless the family is fully comfortable with this approach. Even if young children are developing fluent English, they lack the maturity to discuss adult concepts. Keep in mind than an uncomfortable role reversal can occur if the child is in the position of being more capable than the parent.