All parents want their children to succeed in school. One of the best ways to support your child is by building a relationship with your child's teachers, administrators and counselors. Sometimes even with full support at home, children struggle in school. Communication is the key to building a positive relationship with your child's school faculty. Your relationship can be instrumental to your child's success.
Building a relationship
Your child's teachers, administrators and counselors are an important part of your child's day. Forging a partnership with them is important because you can establish a line of communication and be ready to deal with any issues that may arise.
- Trade contact information – Back to school night is an excellent time to trade email addresses and phone numbers with your child's teachers, administrators and counselors. Find out the best ways and times to reach them and let them know what your communication preferences are. For instance, let your child's teachers know you would like to speak on a monthly basis to check up on your child's progress and share successes from the classroom.
- Get involved in the classroom – If you can spare the time, volunteer to chaperone a field trip, be a guest speaker or help out with a project. Even if you have a very busy schedule, you can volunteer your time outside of school hours by providing snacks for a school party, making baked goods for a fundraiser or gathering extra supplies for the classroom. Many teachers have to purchase supplies out of their own paychecks and will be happy for any donation you can make.
- Offer positive feedback – Many times, people are inclined to contact their child's school when there is a problem. Teachers today are tasked with meeting the diverse needs of their students in an environment geared to outcomes and accountability. Calling your child's teacher with compliments can strengthen your relationship and give the teacher helpful feedback for the best ways to teach your child.
- Handle classroom problems with respect – Don't wait until a situation has spiraled out of control to address it with a teacher. Enlisting the teacher's input immediately and respectfully can help avoid conflict and strengthen the parent-teacher relationship. Schedule a solution focused session with your child's teacher. Be prepared to listen to all perspectives and offer helpful suggestions. If the issue is still unresolved, let the teacher know that you would like to get the perspective of the school counselor or principal before moving forward. You can maintain open communication when you keep the teacher involved in the process.
How to help when your child struggles in school
Even with full support at home, sometimes children can have social, behavioral or academic challenges at school. Your child's struggles may leave you feeling frustrated, disappointed or defensive. You can leverage your relationship with your child's school to support your child during difficult times by following these tips:
- Look for signs that your child may be struggling – Children may display anxiety, anger, neediness, disinterest or lack of motivation because they are having difficulty understanding the material, having issues with peers or teachers, or a variety of other problems. If your child displays any of these behaviors, work in conjunction with the school to investigate.
- Be positive and solution-oriented – Sometimes parents are inclined to punish their child for problems at school. Remember that if your child is struggling, there is a reason. Try to get to the root of the problem by communicating openly with your child and your child's school. Work as a team with your child's school faculty to determine what is causing the issue and brainstorm solutions to get your child back on track. Heaping on punishments at home can add to your child's stress level and possibly complicate existing problems at school.
- Talk to your child's counselor – Counselors are experts in child development and behavior and can be a wonderful resource for you and your child. If your family is experiencing a transition at home such as an illness, a death in the family or a divorce, let the school counselor know. If your child has a learning disability or behavioral issue, your child's counselor can help identify the issue, administer testing and suggest solutions to help your child thrive.
- Get your child a tutor – If your child is struggling with academics, talk to your child's teacher or counselor for a tutoring recommendation. Sometimes a little additional help outside of the classroom can go a long way. The website Tutor.com provides a no-cost homework and studying resource for military students at all levels. You can also learn more at about homework help and tutoring at Military OneSource.
Check out Military OneSource for more tips on communicating with children and supporting your child's education at home.