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Speaking to Parents about Developmental Concerns

What is RAPPORT?

  • RAPPORT is an abbreviation for Relationship, Approach, Plan Ahead, Professional, Open, Reflection, and Together.
  • It’s about building relationships with families to facilitate timely dialogue with parents that is based on a foundation of an established, trusting relationship with caregivers.
  • If this is already in place, conversations about child development can happen much more easily.

R (Relationship)

  • Take the time to build a trusting relationship with caregivers.
  • Ongoing open and honest dialogue builds mutual respect.
  • Discuss what the child is doing well (strengths).

A (Approach)

  • Approach families with interest – greet parents upon arrival and departure.
  • Create a sense of belonging with families. For more information on promoting this, review How Does Learning Happen (external link)?

P (Plan Ahead)

  • Use the Nipissing District Developmental Screen (NDDS) to record observations.
  • Think about what you want to say and collect thoughts before the meeting.
  • Use the NDDS to guide conversations, as it is a tool that many parents will be familiar with.
  • Find a quiet location for conversation at a mutually agreed upon time. Arrange for staff coverage if necessary.

P (Professional)

  • Use clear and concise language.
  • Be an active listener – listen more than you speak.
  • Be unbiased.
  • Draw from your professional learning and background.
  • Be open to referring to other professionals in the community.

O (Open)

  • Be open to hearing about parents’ experiences.
  • Ask questions to clarify the parents’ perspective.
  • Let parents know that you are trying to determine the best way to support the child and parent(s).

R (Reflection)

  • Consider your own thoughts and feelings regarding the child and parent(s).
  • Are you blaming the parent or child? Ask yourself if there may be reasons for why the challenges may be occurring. Is there something happening that you may not be aware of?
  • If your feelings are interfering with your interactions with the child and/or family, approach someone you can speak to (for example, your child care supervisor or dial 311 to speak with a program support service consultant at Halton Region). 

T (Together)

  • Work together with the family in order to determine the best support.
  • Acknowledge that everyone can make a valuable contribution.
  • Be aware of parents’ perspective that they may be concerned that their child will be “labelled”.
  • Use Nipissing District Developmental Screen (NDDS) to guide the conversation. Explain that the NDDS is used widely in Halton.
  • Encourage families and child care staff to use the NDDS.
  • Invite families to bring back the completed tool and discuss their thoughts and experiences.
  • Discuss next steps e.g., contact Halton Region at 311 or refer directly to other community services.
  • Cultural differences may play a role in discussion. Contact the Halton Multicultural Council at 905-842-2486 ext. 221 to discuss the impact that culture may have when working with families.