Promoting Communication with Family Members During the Holidays

Promoting Communication with Family Members During the Holidays

Posted by Sara Naff on Nov 27th 2023

The holiday season is upon us, which means lots of opportunities for classroom fun and strengthening family partnerships.

A young student shows his teacher and parents an art project.

Research shows that consistent communication and engagement with families leads to better student outcomes. Here are some ideas for fostering family engagement and communication during this festive time of year:

Seasonal Newsletters

Send home class newsletters or cards before holiday breaks to update families on recent lessons and activities. Include a few lines about what their child particularly enjoyed or did well. Photos are also appreciated!

Canva offers dozens upon dozens of school newsletter templates. Many of these designs are free. You can also apply for the Canva for Education program, which provides free premium accounts to K-12 educators.

On the Flip Side:Provide a blank newsletter handout for children to complete with parents and guardians, and have them bring it back to you before break or after. Display your young reporters’ newsletters on a prominent bulletin board.

Art Projects

Have students make decorative holiday art projects to take home and hang up. From handprint turkeys to paper snowflake designs, get creative!

Ask families to share photos of the artwork on display. You can also display diversity by having students bring in family photos or cultural symbols to create a holiday bulletin board. Invite families to come see it. Learn other ways to use bulletin boards for parent and family communication and education.

It’s Party Time!

Organize a classroom holiday party in the last week before break. Send invites to families and encourage them to attend. Capture the memories with photos!

This gathering could also include a classroom holiday sing-along! Spreading holiday cheer together is a great bonding experience. We love these sing-along tips that showcase traditions from around the world.

Story Time Discussion Questions

The holidays are a wonderful time for sharing stories and celebrating our community!

Read a festive tale with your class or family-focused on themes like generosity, gratitude, and kindness. Use these questions to start a fun and engaging chat:

  • What was your favorite part of the story? Why?
  • How did the characters show kindness/gratitude/generosity? Provide examples.
  • How can we show those values in our classroom/family?
  • What traditions does your family have during this holiday season?
  • What are you thankful for or looking forward to this time of year?
  • How could the characters have responded differently in the story? What lesson does their experience teach us?
  • How did this story make you feel? Why?

Encourage Reading Time at Home:You can provide families with lists of recommended, age-appropriate books to give to kids as gifts and/or to read with loved ones during holidays, weekends, and breaks.

More Circle Time Prompts

Use these holiday-themed discussion starters to promote family engagement:

  • What traditions does your family have during this time of year? Share a favorite memory!
  • If you could create a new holiday tradition, what would it be?
  • What are you most looking forward to this holiday season?

Online Courses

Want to increase your engagement with families all year long? These courses can you explore and implement new programs and activities:

Family Communication: It's Easy & Important

Communication is not always easy but it is necessary. Learn simple ways to communicate effectively with families and make your learning site a great place to be. Read more about this course.

Fostering Family Engagement

Discover how to create programs, events, and curricula that promote and nurture ongoing family engagement. From an educator who recently completed this course: “Any professional who is engaged with families needs to see this training. Good review and new material!” Read more about this course.

Sara Naff headshot

Sara Naff is an early childhood education professional who has taught in the preschool classroom as well as adult learner environments. She is Director of Operations at AIR Childcare Training Solutions.