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Uncovering a Child's Needs: Essential Questions to Ask Parents About Their Child

Families can provide valuable insights about their child that can help them succeed in your program. Here’s a list of questions to ask parents about their child to help you prepare the best learning experience.

Uncovering a Child's Needs: Essential Questions to Ask Parents About Their Child

Essential Questions to Ask Parents About Their Child

As you get to know the children in your program, it’s important to communicate openly and honestly with their families. Parents and guardians are a great resource because they have insight into how their children behave and interact with others outside of school and have knowledge of their strengths, interests, and challenges that can help you as you prepare your learning environment.

It’s important to have a list of questions to ask parents about their child so you can get to know them better. This article covers different ways to approach families with questions and sample open-ended questions to use.

Teacher sitting at desk with parent and child.


Why is it important to ask parents questions about their child?

Even though your job is to teach children and get them ready for their future learning experiences, you can’t do it alone. Having a support system on your side will make your job a lot easier. Promoting family engagement from the outset of your preschoolers’ time in your classroom will help strengthen that support system.

Families want what’s best for their children, so involving them early on can make them feel more connected to their child’s education. And once they have that connection, they’ll be much more likely to get involved in the day-to-day lessons you’ve taught and reinforce them at home.

With brightwheel's daily report feature, you can easily record activities and share photos and videos with families with a few simple taps on your device. You can save time by scheduling automated daily summaries to be sent to families every day and even customize what information is shared or kept internal for your records. 

How to ask parents questions about their child

There are plenty of ways to ask parents about their children. Here are a few methods you can use to discover more information about your preschoolers from the people that know them best.

Parent-teacher conferences

Parent-teacher conferences are a great way to interact with your children’s parents or guardians in a more formal setting. It’s a time to learn more about each child, discuss their developmental progress, and give families the opportunity to ask questions or share any concerns. But, even though it’s a more formal one-on-one conversation, you don’t have to make your meeting stuffy. There are plenty of ways to make parent-teacher conferences engaging and more interactive so you can create a positive relationship with families.

Intake forms 

Intake forms, surveys, and questionnaires are also great ways to gain insights from your families. With these types of forms, you can ask a variety of open-ended questions and get thoughtful answers without having to schedule parent meetings. Once you have the answers from your intake forms, you’ll have a baseline of what to expect with each child, a better understanding of family expectations, and information you can use to improve your program.

Ad-hoc conversations

It’s not always necessary to have a formal meeting. Sometimes it can be just as insightful to ask questions during pick-up or drop-off. Some questions have short answers that can be addressed quickly, which allows you to get the valuable insight and feedback you need immediately.

Virtual communication

Another effective way to communicate with parents is through virtual communication, whether it’s through email, text, or an in-app experience. Childcare apps like brightwheel’s communication feature make it easy to stay in touch with families. Share progress with families, give quick updates, or send reminders—all from the same app you use for billing, admissions, and classroom management. 

Open-ended questions to ask parents about their child

Below is a list of open-ended questions you can ask parents to gain insight into their expectations and their children’s needs. 

  • What do you see as your child’s greatest strengths or skills? The answer to this question gives you insight into what skills you can look forward to seeing and help strengthen even further.
  • What do you see as your child’s biggest area for improvement? It’s important to identify any areas for improvement to get an idea of what skills you’ll need to focus on throughout the year.
  • How would you describe your parenting style? This question will help you get valuable insight into how your children’s parents communicate with their child and how they will interact with you.
  • What is the best way to communicate with you? Everyone has different communication preferences, so it’s important to understand how families want to stay in touch, whether it’s by phone, email, or in-person meetings. Establish communication preferences and frequency early on, so everyone is on the same page.
  • How would you describe your child’s personality? Families know their child best, so this question can give you valuable insight into what to expect and help you prepare as you welcome new children into the classroom.
  • Are there any behavior issues we should be aware of? This question is also important to ask so you have all the information to set each child up for success. Being aware of any behavior issues helps you to prepare and plan for how to address them in the future. 
  • Is there anything else you can tell me about your child that you think would help us support their learning? It’s important to get as much information as you can, so ask this open-ended question to spark conversation. Families will appreciate that you treat each child as an individual and can tailor your teaching methods to their child’s particular needs.
  • Do you have any concerns or questions for me? This question signals to families that you are open to feedback and gives them the space to bring up anything that’s top of mind about their child.

Communication is the key to a positive learning experience 

Asking parents about their child will help you gain valuable insight, which will, in turn, help inform your teaching strategy. Be sure to establish this open line of communication and nurture it throughout the year to ensure that families feel involved in their child’s education and children have the best opportunity to learn at school and at home.

Brightwheel is the complete solution for early education providers, enabling you to streamline your center’s operations and build a stand-out reputation. Brightwheel connects the most critical aspects of running your center—including sign in and out, parent communications, tuition billing, and licensing and compliance—in one easy-to-use tool, along with providing best-in-class customer support and coaching. Brightwheel is trusted by thousands of early education centers and millions of parents. Learn more at

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