Think about how you regularly communicate with family, friends, and co-workers. I would guess that text messaging and email are at the top of your list. Calling them from your phone or messaging on Facebook may be next.
Letter writing is probably very far down on your list yet as children’s ministry teachers we often give kids a paper copy of a newsletter or other communication to take home to parents. What percent do you think actually is delivered? Think back to when you were a kid and you will probably have a good answer.
Generation Y parents (those born from 1977 to 1994) are increasingly familiar with digital and electronic technology and many have smart phones. Consider communicating with these parents digitally. Below are some free, easy-to use ideas.
- Send a group text message to parents. Try sending out a text message as soon as the class is over to tell parents what their kids just learned. Use your own cell phone or check out free mass text messaging sites such as Class Pager where you send the text message from your computer.
- Keep parents informed through weekly emails that could include an electronic newsletter or parenting tips. Try to respond to parent emails within 24 hours.
- Create a class Facebook page. Post class pics and happenings. Create events on Facebook and invite parents.
- If parents are Twitter users, keep them informed through Twitter, the popular micro-blogging service. Twitter users can also send direct messages to each other.
- Post events and other information on a class website. Check out Google Sites for a free, easy-to-use website creation tool.
- Have kids create a video with Animoto about what they learned. Post the video to a class YouTube channel or to Vimeo.
- If your church has an automated calling system such as One Call Now, create a call group for your class. Send an automated voice message to all parents.
- A picture is worth a thousand words. Take a picture or video and post to Instagram where you can transform and change the feel of the picture or video. Share via Facebook or Twitter if you like.
Ask parents to complete a technology opt-in form to collect information such as email addresses, cell phone numbers, and permission to post pictures and videos of their children to the web. Of course, don’t bombard parents with digital communication but use it strategically.
You will be empowering parents by finding a good balance between digital communication and traditional means of communication such as making a personal phone call, mailing a post card or sending a letter home, which is very appropriate at times. Parents were created by God to be the primary spiritual leaders of their children. As the “assistant” spiritual leader of children, let’s support and empower parents in every way possible. It’s tough being a parent today. Build relationships by keeping the lines of communication open while keeping them informed about what their child is learning.
As Deuteronomy 6:5-9 says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”