Tips for Getting School started off on right foot
In the past few weeks all of our little ones have gone back to school. Whether it is the same school or a new school, this time of year is always a tough one for kids and mom alike. On top of the change in routine, it is just stressful to get to know a new teacher, new class and new classroom material. Here are some tips for trying to get school off to as strong of a start as possible
• Form a strong partnership with your child’s teacher. There is nothing more important than getting to know your child’s teacher and together partnering to make sure your child has the best year possible. While they are the subject expert, they need your support and guidance at home as well. It is important to go to the “meet the teacher night” and shake their hand, introduce yourself and to make sure they know you are invested in your child and their education as well.
• Let your child know you are working with their teacher. Some kids like school to stay at school and not be talked at home. It is important your child knows that you are working with their teacher to make sure homework is done right, that papers are reviewed and so forth. The more they know that you are watching their progress, and talking to the teacher, often the better performance you get out of your child.
• Be Honest with the teacher. When they send home the short questionnaire asking what they should know about your child, this is NOT the time to sugar coat and tell them how great they are. If they have some behavioral issues then tell them. They can’t help you or your child without being aware of them, and the sooner they know, the better they can develop a plan to address them. If your child has difficulties with certain subjects then tell them, they can over-invest in these areas or bring an aid into the room to help.
• Let the teacher know you want to hear the positive and negative feedback on your child. The more secure the teacher feels that they can call or email you with both positive and negative feedback on your child, the better partnership you can have. Like at work, take negative feedback as a gift. I know it is hard to hear at times, especially when it is about your child, but you can only help if you know the full story, so welcome it.
• Talk to your child every day about school. Children often don’t want to talk about school. When you ask them how their day was you often get “fine” as your answer or another 1-2 word response. When they are home they want to play or hang out with mom and dad, not talk about school. But it is crucial that you do. The more often your talk the more comfortable they will become in sharing what actually goes on in school – be it the mundane or something more scary and intimidating like bullying. Make this a nice conversation versus inspection and this is one of the best ways you can truly be ‘in the know’ regarding what actually happens during the school day.