7 Tips for Using Chat Groups With Other Parents
There's no question that technology offers great advantages, but it also has its dark side. It's important to learn to manage the chat groups that you share with other parents from your children's school.
But there have probably been times when you don’t even feel like reading through so many unread messages. That’s why we want to offer some advice to make these chat groups more efficient.
Take advantage of parent chat groups
Chat groups with parents from your children’s school can be useful for several reasons. For example:
- Maintaining communication with other parents
- Staying up to date on news from school
- Completing homework
- Organizing to complete group projects
- Sharing relevant information with all group members at once
- Clearing up questions about deadlines, field trips, lost items, etc
Don’t abuse the benefits of parent chat groups
It’s obviously very easy to use parent chat groups to ask what homework was assigned or what your kids did in math class. But this isn’t beneficial for your child.
Of course, when your son or daughter misses a day, this is a practical way to help him or her catch up. But you shouldn’t make it into a habit.
Teach your children to be responsible for their own homework. They should take note of all assignments on their own. Having to ask other parents what was done in class should be the exception.
This will help guarantee that your children pay attention in class rather than getting distracted and then expecting you to save the day.
Avoid commenting on impertinent subjects
Don’t get wrapped up in conversations regarding third parties, especially if they don’t belong to the chat group. If someone else does, be sure to point out tactfully that this isn’t the place.
Avoid being aggressive or sounding judgemental. You’ll be sure to find that other parents feel the same way as you.
Gossiping can cause all sorts of misunderstandings. It’s best to limit yourself and not make comments about other people. You’ll soon see that, with this simple step, the health of your group will improve little by little.
“If your child did something wrong in class or learned his or her multiplication tables, you don’t need to mention it in the chat group. Rather, keep the news within your family”
Use common sense
Here are a few more actions you should avoid and consider:
- Abstain from sending chain messages, jokes, videos and images that have nothing to do with the group’s objective. These sorts of things only take away from the purpose of the group, which is to keep parents connected on school matters.
- Send messages at a reasonable hour: Avoid sending messages at critical moments such as lunch and dinner time, as well as late at night or early in the morning. You should only send messages at night in the case of an emergency.
- If someone asks about the math assignment, don’t send the English and history assignments as well. Also, make sure no one else has already responded before responding yourself. Repeating responses to the same question can become quite bothersome.
- Avoid sending photos, audio messages and other files unless necessary. Depending on what media platform you’re using (whatsapp, facebook, groupme, etc), these files may take up memory on the recipients’ phones.
- When appropriate, send a private message. If your question is for a specific parent, then there’s no need to send it to the same group. Likewise, if one parent asks for baby-sitter recommendations, you can respond directly rather than within the group.
Don’t divulge private information about others or speak badly about them. Nor should you speak poorly of the staff at your school or, much less, other students.
If you have an issue with a teacher or authority at school, address the issue directly with the person in question. If you’re having problems with a student, speak privately with his or her parent or with an authority at the school. Avoid creating conflict or controversy within the parent chat group.
Parent chat groups are a tool for facilitating communication, not for dragging out misunderstandings. There’s no better way to solve a conflict than face to face.
Be brief and to the point
Get to the point and don’t include unnecessary items in your message. Keep details to a minimum.
Provide a clear idea of what you’re trying to say without becoming redundant or repetitive. For example, “I need to buy a size 12 uniform. If anyone has one for sale, please send me a private message.”
When to leave parent chat groups
There are times when it’s best to leave parent chat groups. For example:
- You’ve had to silence the group because the sheer volume of messages won’t allow you to rest.
- You have to empty your phone’s memory constantly.
- You find the group to have more disadvantages than advantages.
There’s no point in being tied to your phone all day reading messages that do nothing to improve communication among parents. You could also suggest that interested parents create another group where they can chat freely about issues that are off-topic.