Conversation Starters

Conversation Starter Page Header - School

Conversation Starters to Help Connect With Caregivers

  • How are you?
  • How can I support you? 
  • What's something I can take off your plate? 

Who knows better than teachers just how important a child’s home life is to their success at
school? The issue of child abuse and neglect is a big one. And sometimes the best way to tackle
big problems is to start with simple solutions—something as simple as asking caregivers, “How are
you?” Caregivers with strong support systems, including at their child’s school, help create the
safe, stable, nurturing environments children need to thrive. “How are you?” helps. Check out even
more ways you can start a conversation with a caregiver below.

• What’s something that overwhelms you right now?
• What do you see as your child’s greatest strength or skill? Tell me about a time your child
demonstrated that strength or skill.
• Next June, what do you hope your child says about their experience in school this year?
What’s the story you hope they’ll tell?
• What was your experience like in this grade? How do you remember that year of school?
• What are your fears or concerns about your child in this year of school?
How and when would you like me to be in touch with you this year? What do you hope I’ll
communicate to you?
• Is there anything about your child you can tell me that you think would help me support
their learning?
• Is there a question you hope I’ll ask about your child?
• When you think of your child, what makes you most proud?
• What is your child passionate about?
• What sparks your child’s interest?
• Do you have any suggestions on how best to connect with your child?
• What are two things I should do and two things that I should avoid with your child?

Supportive Services - Business

And Because Sometimes, All a Caregiver Needs Is a Kind Word of Support:

• Tell a parent, “I’m here to support you.”
• Say, “I know of some additional resources that might be helpful to you.” (See more resources below.)
• Comment on positive parenting moments.
• Hold space for parents to express what’s going well and not so well, in their child’s life but in their life too.
• Remember parents’ names.

This project was supported by Award No. 2018-V2-GX-0024 awarded by the Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice through the Tennessee Office of Criminal Justice Programs.