As the children go back to school, parents everywhere breathe a collective sigh of relief; but don’t relax too soon.
There is documented evidence that children of involved parents have better attendance, higher grades, and are more likely to attend university.
To help kids get the most out of school, parents need to partner with teachers and share responsibility for kids’ learning. Here are 9 tips on how to support both your child and teacher during this academic year:
Tip #1: Share Your Expertise
You are an expert on your child. Early in the year, fill the teacher in on your child’s strengths and interests, personality, and specific learning challenges. When you help the teacher connect with your child, everyone is set up for success. A friendly email is a good way to do this.
Tip #2: Expect Great Things
Research shows that parents’ and teachers’ expectations have a huge impact on a child’s development. Set high but realistic expectations for your child that are consistent with his age and ability. Share your expectations with his educator. Their expectations are likely to rise in response – and that’s good for your child.
Tip #3: Address Problems Early
Donna Henderson, PhD, a professor of counselling, recommends parents contact the child’s teacher at the first sign of falling grades, changes in behaviour, or increasing school-related complaints. Working together, you may be able to avert problems before they become more complicated.
Tip #4: Respect Teachers’ Limits
Your child isn’t the only one in the class and the teacher has a responsibility to ensure everyone gets the attention they deserve. Don’t ask teachers to make exceptions that interfere with other children’s learning. Ask the teacher to point you toward additional resources while you provide extra tutoring at home.
Tip #5: Volunteer Time Outside the School Day
Parents don’t have to be present at school to support teachers. Offer to cover a new set of readers, attend sporting events, and fundraisers or buy some small class rewards for high performing learners. Your kids will get excited when they see you helping at school too!
Tip #6: Establish a Family Routine
Build time into kids’ schedules for reading and study in a designated, distraction-free location. Homework is much easier to accomplish at the same time and place each day instead of on-the-fly between soccer and recorder lessons. Routines help kids manage stress and maintain healthy habits.
Tip #7: Reinforce Learning in Your Child's Daily Routine
Find teachable moments in your everyday routine and go over key concepts. Test math skills at the grocery store. Read books together and point out spelling words or parts of speech. Take in a concert or play. Kids need to see learning and problem solving as everyday activities.
Tip #8: Be Conscious of Your Tone
-Approach concerns with calm and respect
Present complaints calmly and respectfully. Use specific examples and ask for the teacher’s ideas about what can be done. Remember, even if you disagree, you’re both on the same side. Your child is likely to lose if you become aggressive.
Tip #9: Show Appreciation
Teachers don’t go into education for the money: their reward is in seeing your child grow, learn and achieve. Send an email to say how much your child enjoyed last week’s science experiment or write a note to the principal to compliment a job well done. Partnerships flourish when people feel appreciated.
On that note, as teachers, we would like to say, “We appreciate you as parents and guardians of all our learners. Thank you for your support. We look forward to the year ahead and working together as a team.
Together, let us create a community where every moment is a chance to learn, connect and make memories that will last a lifetime.
Author: Karen Engelbrecht
Editing and Content Design: Sherillyn for Spheres Consulting Emporium
Photography: Rynali Photography