With the summer winding down, now is the time to start preparing your child for a successful school year. Transitioning from the leisure activities of the summer to the emergence of structure can be difficult, so planning ahead can be critical. One important component for success at school is good communication with your child’s teacher. Follow these helpful steps to initiate a strong relationship with your child’s teacher.
Tips to Establish a Good Relationship With Your Child’s Teacher:
- Set up a phone call or face-to-face meeting. Connecting with your child’s teacher prior to the beginning of school, or during the first weeks, can be essential to provide introductions and a brief dialogue about your child’s strengths and needs. This will allow the teacher to gain insights ahead of time to plan ahead with how to accommodate the student and carry over strategies that have been helpful in the past. If your child experiences separation or transitional challenges, try to arrange a prior meeting with the teacher before the school doors open to facilitate comfort, recognition, and familiarity.
- Have your child create a “get to know me” project that can be given to the teacher at the beginning of the year. This can be an art project, a letter, or list of positive aspects of self and what the child hopes to learn this year. This can educate the teacher on a child’s likes/dislikes and personal knowledge to begin making connections.
- Show gratitude. The student-teacher relationship is a special bond that takes time to cultivate. Whether it is simply sharing a compliment “I really liked that lesson” or bringing the teacher a special, thoughtful treat can help your child stand out.
- Discuss with the teacher a plan for collaboration as the year progresses. Work towards setting up a system of phone calls or email chains that can be used to transmit critical information and updates as needed. This can serve as a more proactive mode of communication to minimize crises or challenges.
- Teach your child self-advocacy skills. Educate your child on how to assertively communicate needs to the teacher. If the child is shy and struggles with initiating comprehension questions or something like needing to go to the bathroom, practice role playing stressful scenarios with your child. Work with your child to identify areas of concern and create coping statements that your child can implement as needed.
- Establish effective check-in strategies. If your child struggles with organization, math skills, or just simply calming down after lunch/recess, work with the teacher to identify times throughout the day that the child and teacher can check-in. Depending on age, the parent can work with the teacher to facilitate this or the child can independently initiate question-asking or assistance throughout identified times of the day. If the child is cautious about being singled-out in a “check-in” forum, encourage the teacher and child to create a discreet hand signal or gesture to indicate assistance, help, or feeling lost.
NSPT offers services in Bucktown, Evanston, Highland Park, Lincolnwood, Glenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!