Nursery / Preschool Database (how to setup the child / multi-parent relationship)

I am trying to create a database for preschool families and running into what I think is a fairly simple issue to fix…but I can’t figure it out.

How do I organize the tables?

  • We have CHILDREN and we have PARENTS.
  • Some parents have multiple children.
  • Some parents are divorced (e.g. different addresses)

We have an online form where we get child names, parent names, parent addresses, etc.

Right now I can make it so I can join the kid with one parent in the table but when I try to join them to a 2nd parent it creates a new column.

I want to be able to look up a child’s record and show BOTH their parents names. Do I need to create a table called FAMILIES to join the kids with 2 different parents? Do I need to create a PRIMARY PARENT and determine just one parent to be primary (I’d rather one if I don’t have to).

You can do it with two tables. Table 1 = CHILD table. Table 2 = PARENT table.

In Child Table, create a linked column titled “Parents”. When you create the column, select “Allow Linking to multiple records.” This will allow you to link two different parents to one child (in a single linked column).

In the child table, you can use the grouping/filtering feature to group together kids with the same parents (families). You’d see these “family” groups regardless of whether or not the parents are living at the same address.

In the parent table, you could, again, use grouping/filtering features to pull up different views of parents. Parents could be grouped by child (another way to view “family” groupings). Or the parents could be grouped by address (which would allow you to see which parents are living together vs which are separated).

You could also accomplish this with a 3rd table labeled “Families,” but unless you are tracking a lot of family specific info (as opposed to parent info & child info), I’m not sure it’s necessary.

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