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Breaking the Ice: Go-To Conversation Starters for Kids

Many children find it difficult to approach new friends. They often learn how, by watching others and trying things out. While they mayClassmates talking outdoors be able to do this on their own, they will be even more effective if they have an adult to provide guidance, appropriate phrases, and opportunities to practice.

Having  “go-to” phrases can really help children be prepared for social opportunities and lower anxiety about the unexpected.  Here are some ideas to share with your kids.

Conversation Starters For Children:

Help them pick out 2-3 of their favorite “go-to’s” and practice in role play with each-other  toys/figurines or new children (when ready).

Just introduce yourself!

Example: “Hi! I’m Alex.”

Ask a question about what they’re doing.

Example: “Are you playing the new Angry Birds game?”

Show that you’re interested in them.

Example: “I think I want to read that book. Do you like it?”

Give a compliment.

Example: “I like your backpack!”

Ask for their opinion.

Example: “Which video game do you like the best?”

Share a little about yourself.

Example: “I moved once too, so I know it’s really hard at first.”

Offer to help.

Example: “I can show you where that classroom is!”

Offer an invitation.

Example: “Want to sit together at lunch?”

Guide your child by talking about each idea and asking them which ones they prefer. This is a great conversation to have with your child as school just begins, to help lower that back to school anxiety!

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How To Notify A Parent About Concerns You Have For a Child In Your Classroom

Teacher In Front Of Classroo Of StudentsThe start of a new school year is associated with many changes for a child’s academic, behavioral, and social functioning.  Teachers are often the first ones to identify concerns regarding a child’s academic, social, or behavioral functioning.  Bringing concerns up to a parent can always be a challenging situation.  Below are several tips that can prove useful for teachers to help identify and bring up concerns with a parent.

5 Tips For Voicing Your Concerns The Right Way

  1. Be confident.  You as a teacher have the most insight in a child’s day to day functioning.  You are able to compare the child’s development to that of the other children in your classroom.  If you suspect that a child is falling behind his or her peers with any domain in your classroom it is important to identify this and bring it up to the parents.
  2. Document.  It is always important to have actual examples to show why you have concern about the child’s performance within the school setting.
  3. Plan.  Have a plan as to what your want to accomplish and how your ultimate goal will be met.  Be specific with your feedback to parents as to what you would expect their child to be doing and also what ideas you have for that child to reach the goal.
  4. Measurable and attainable.  Any goal that you have for a child needs to be measurable and attainable.  If a child was previously standing up and walking around the classroom every 20 minutes, it would not be reasonable to assume that the child can remain seated for a full day of school.
  5. Communication.   After goals are determined and a plan is established it is vital that you and the parents have constant communication in order to ensure that the child has made progress towards the goals that are set.

Start The School Year Out Right

A Guide To Meeting With Your Child’s New Education Team

Summer vacation is almost over and the first day of school for many children is on the horizon. The majority of children (and teachers) experience difficulty transitioning from the A Parent and Teacher Meetcarefree days of summer to the rigid structure of school. Children with special needs and learning disabilities are even more likely to exhibit difficulty with the school year. As a parent, it is your duty to advocate for your child in order to ensure that the academic year starts smoothly and that the child’s needs are being met.

I recommend that the parents establish a meeting with the child’s teacher and any ancillary staff that has an impact on his or her academic success (special education teachers, social worker, speech/language therapist, occupational therapist). In addition, it is always recommended that you have your child’s outside therapy team be part of this meeting in order to share information and develop effective strategies. Five specific goals of this initial meeting are listed below:

5 New Teacher Meeting Goals

1. It is important that all individuals working with the child be made aware of the child’s issues as well as what has worked/not worked in the past. It is vital that last year’s teacher have an opportunity to share information with parents about the challenges from the previous year as well as what solutions she has found helpful in the classroom.

2. Any outside therapist needs to be present at the meeting to share how things have been going over the summer. What has the child been working on as part of therapy, what goals were achieved, and what goals were not met. This will help establish expectations for the child.

3. Creation of specific, attainable, and measurable goals is important. If a child is getting out of his seat every five minutes it would not be realistic for his new teacher to expect him to sit for hours on end. We might set up an initial goal so that the child is expected to remain seated for ten minutes. Once that is achieved with regularity we move the goal up to fifteen minutes, and so on.

4. Establish a frequent communication system between parents and teachers. The goal of this is to not bombard teachers with constant emails/phone calls but to be able to have constant communication between all parties so that parents can help organize the daily assignments and ensure that all work is completed.

5. Identify that everyone is on the same team. The goal of this meeting is not to burden the academic staff with more work but to help develop solutions to ensure that the child’s needs are met.