Conferences provide programs and families an opportunity to engage in focused discussions. During these conversations, families and providers can share the child’s progress and development based on the following:

  • Observations and assessments
  • The child’s interests, strengths, and challenges
  • Their past experiences with child care
  • Portfolios
  • Information from an IEP/IFSP, if applicable
  • Additional topics that will continue to support each child’s success

Providers can schedule conferences at specific times like every winter and spring, when children transition to a new program or classroom, at the request of families, or as needed. Below are some helpful tips that can lead to successful family conferences.


It is important to cultivate relationships with families in your program throughout the year to make conferences more meaningful.

  • Be approachable and accessible so families feel comfortable coming to you with concerns or to ask for help.
  • Participate in daily check-ins with families to address smaller, day-to-day items.
  • Share reports of positive growth and behavior from the day or special ways you connected with their child to show families that you understand and enjoy their child.
  • Make scheduling the conference SIMPLE using a free online tool like SignUp Genius, by sending an email, or by using a sign-up sheet that is easily accessible and visible for families.
  • Provide several reminders via email, text message, or handwritten notes sent home.
  • To accommodate busy schedules, consider offering a variety of times to meet.
  • Schedule a phone or Zoom conference if absolutely necessary.


Once you have established a solid relationship with the families of children in your program, you can focus on the needs, goals, and interests of each child. By taking the following steps below to prepare, the conference will be successful:

  • Provide an adequate amount of time for the conference, preferably 20 minutes.
  • If necessary, consider arranging supervision for children while you meet with families.
  • Be professional with location, dress, language, and demeanor.
  • Share examples of completed work by the child to provide a clear picture of their current skills.
  • Discuss goals and areas of focus for the future.
  • Listen and create an environment where families feel heard; ask questions if needed. Remember, this is an opportunity to learn from the family, not just provide information to the family.
  • Schedule a follow-up conference if needed.
A child care provider and parent meeting together.


Here are a few ways to keep the momentum going through steady communication:

  • Continue to send home daily notes or conduct frequent check-ins.
  • Continue to share big accomplishments and small moments from the day.
  • Continue building relationships with the child and their family.
  • Support the family’s engagement at home or in the child care program.
  • Remain open to communication from families.
  • Follow through with any discussion points from the conference.

Conferences encourage communication between families and child care providers, fostering mutual trust and building a strong team dedicated to the success of each child.