With so much free information available to anyone with Internet access, you may have felt the effects the Information Age has had on Childbirth Education. However, even though your students could do enough research on their own to replace the information gained from formal education, there is a reason expectant parents are still flocking to classes: human connection.
Building trust and connection with your students is more than giving them accurate and clear information. It is about building relationships that will last long after classes end. Although your responsibility will always be to provide current and vital information to equip them for their journey through childbirth and beyond, you may find that some of the most impactful moments you have happen outside of a curriculum. Here are some suggestions for building connections:
Connecting Before and After Classes
Whether you host classes virtually or in person, use the time before and after your classes to foster relationships with your students. Make sure your students know you will be there 10 minutes early just to chat. Use that time to answer questions or simply to get to know your students. Ask them about their families, work, or hobbies and interests.
After your lesson ends, stay a few minutes after to be available to make connections with your students. By showing a genuine interest in their lives, they will know that you care about them. Oftentimes, when we think back on our own favorite teachers, they were those that showed interest in more than just the topic at hand.
Connecting During Classes
Are you connecting with your students during your classes? Or is the information pathway a one-way street? As educators, it’s easy to assume that the education you are giving your students is the most important part of instruction. But remember that everyone learns a little differently, and if you aren’t meeting a student’s learning styles, they may feel disconnected.
Provide opportunities in your classes for your students to have the floor. Facilitate discussions where they can share their ideas and help one another out if you have group classes. Allowing expectant parents to discuss and share the material will help foster deeper comprehension.
Use the Best Curriculum
Although we said some of the most impactful moments you have will be outside of your curriculum, the heart of your classes will always be the information you are teaching. Your curriculum should be accurate and up-to-date with the latest research and best practices. Without an accurate curriculum, all your other efforts to connect and build trust with your students will fall flat.
Plumtree Baby makes this easy with our comprehensive and accurate resources that aid your childbirth education classes. With so many teaching curriculums to choose from, you can rely on our products to provide the best in childbirth education so you can focus on building relationships with your students. Or, if you want to write your own curriculum, check out this article to make sure you are covering all your bases.
Make Connections Long Term
It may be unrealistic to maintain a close relationship with every student after your classes end, but it is more than possible to maintain a connection for months, and even years later. Build time for relationships into your schedule by setting reminders to follow up with your students several times after their class ends:
- Send your expectant parent a text a couple of weeks before their baby is due to ask if they have any last-minute questions that they didn’t think of during class.
- Give your students a call after their baby comes to congratulate them and ask how the birth went.
- Shoot the new parents a text when their baby is 6 months old to tell them you’re thinking about them and ask how they are settling in.
- Send their baby a birthday card when they turn 1.
Through all this communication, don’t forget to ask questions about them and listen to their stories and concerns.
Another option is to start a private Facebook group just for graduates of your childbirth classes. Make this a space where they can ask questions, get feedback from other parents, and help others who are in need. You can maintain connections with your students by posting regular tips, hosting discussions, and sharing articles to help them wherever they are in their journey.
Building long-lasting relationships with your students will always pay off as you get to witness the impact a genuine relationship can have on an expectant parent’s life. Let us know your thoughts or your favorite ways to foster connection in the comments!
Hannah Olsen, Freelance Writer
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Plumtree Baby, LLC
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