A school-aged child spends about six hours at school during the week. This doesn’t include extracurricular activities. Needless to say, your child’s teacher likely gets to know your child very well. In some areas, the teacher will likely know your child better than you do. So how do you use this to help your son or daughter?
First, get to know your child’s teacher (or teachers). Make every effort to attend any and all school functions and be as involved as you realistically can.
Secondly, let your child’s teacher know you appreciate him or her. You know that parenting a child or two (or three or four) is a difficult task. Imagine spending the bulk of your weekdays in a classroom of 20, 30, or more children. Yes, teachers get paid, but often not nearly enough.
And when you do converse with your child’s teacher, whether in an informal setting or at a parent-teacher conference, here are a few questions you can ask.
- What is my child most interested in during class?
Maybe your daughter spends hours at home drawing, but you have no idea that at school she is fascinated by science lab, or that she always volunteers to read aloud. Asking your child’s teacher what your kid shows an interest in can help you provide support along those same areas of interest.
- How does my child interact with others?
Social skills are as important as scholastic education, even more so in many areas of life. You might have an only child, or a kid with siblings much younger or older than he is. Perhaps you do not observe his interaction with other children very much. His teacher does, though.
By asking this question, you can find out if your child is more of a leader or follower type. Your teacher might give you insights that you are not aware of. They can provide hints that you can follow up on in conversations with your child.
- Are there any behavioral concerns I should know about?
A mother of a fifth grader noticed her son had a bald patch on his scalp. When asking him about it, she realized he had been pulling his hair out due to frustrations at school. It was a nervous habit, and the boy needed encouragement and attention to get past it. The mom confided that she wished she had known earlier what was going on at school. It might have enabled them to help her son earlier.
Although we wish our children had carefree, easygoing lives, sometimes they do struggle – with behavioral issues or learning challenges. A child’s teacher can often spot these matters early on or confirm a concern that you, as a parent, might have. If you have open and frequent communication with your child’s teacher, you can work together to help your child through any difficulty they are facing, and do the best you can in raising a positive, healthy child.
Bonita Jewel – Editor, wife, and parent