Sharing Development Concerns with Parents: A Guide for Early Childhood Professionals

Barnardos. (2021). Sharing Development Concerns with Parents A Guide for Early Childhood Professionals.
The daily conversations you have with parents in your role as an early learning and care (ELC) professional, where you share brief discussions about their child – talking about how their day went, sharing the joy of milestones reached and exchanging pleasantries – lay the foundation for a trusting and respectful relationship to develop between you. This relationship is crucially important to the development of a partnership approach, where you work together with parents in the child’s best interests. The trust built up within this relationship will be key if an occasion arises where it becomes necessary to have what may be a more difficult conversation with a parent about their child. Such conversations might relate to concerns you have about a possible developmental delay, a sensory or learning related issue, or a behavioural or emotional issue for a child. Knowing how to approach these conversations and what to say when sharing your concern, while also trying not to cause undue distress for the child’s parent or for yourself, can sometimes be challenging. This resource offers guidance about how to approach difficult conversations with parents and how you can work together, if the parents wish, to plan steps for the family to get any emotional supports and practical help they might need. While this guide contains general advice on approaching difficult communication with parents, you will need to consider the uniqueness of each family and determine what will work best for them.