Dec 27, 2011

How to Build Trust With Parents

I cringe every time I read of a child that was severely injured or abused in a church or school. I don't know how I would react if if were my child...I don't even like thinking about it. I constantly remind our staff of the great responsibility we have to not only God, but to the parents who entrust their children with us. They are trusting us with the most precious thing on earth to them...their children. 

We must go the second mile to build trust with parents. Here are some ways to build the trust factor...

  • Keep the rooms clean. I once went to a home to eat and the entire home was covered with roaches...literally. I quickly lost my appetite and made excuses about not being hungry. Just couldn't bring myself to trust the food. It's the same way with your church rooms. When parents look inside the room, they quickly access if it's clean. If it's untidy, cluttered, or dirty, their trust factor will evaporate. Keep toys clean and disinfected, throw away or repair damaged furniture, keep the floor vacuumed, and the trash emptied.
  • Let parents know every volunteer has been through an orientation process which includes a background check and screening. Put it in writing and regularly remind parents.  Knowing that you have done due diligence to only have approved volunteers in the room will build trust.
  • Let parents know your safety rules such as no adult is ever alone with a child.
  • Do things with excellence. A commitment to excellence lets parents know you are worthy of their trust. This will be shown not by what you say, but by what you do.
  • Follow proper ratios. Nothing will deplete trust quicker than a parent looking into a room that is too crowded or understaffed.
  • Have a secure check in/check out system. This is critical to build trust. Parents must know that their child cannot be picked up by someone else.
  • Issue pagers or use numbers on the screen to notify parents when they are needed. This will give parents a sense of security and will help them feel more comfortable entrusting their child with you.
  • Communication. Regularly communicate with parents through newsletters, email, phone, text, Facebook, etc. Direct communication about their child's experience at church instills trust. Parents want to know...they want to be involved.
  • Fill out incident reports. Kids are going to fall down, they are going to get bumps, scratches from other children, etc. Hardly a week goes by without it happening. The key is how you respond and communicate with parents. Have incident reports. Anytime there is an accident, bump, scratch, etc. fill out an incident report. Write down exactly what happened. When the parents come to pick up their child share the incident report with them and have them sign it. This will build trust. Trust is depleted if they go home and discover a bump or scratch and were not told about it.
Trust must be earned and remember...it only takes seconds to destroy it. Be diligent to earn parent's trust week in and week out. With each passing year, their trust in you and your team will grow stronger as you lead with integrity.

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