One of my greatest joys in life is parenting, and a close second is teaching! I have participated in both of these areas for over twenty years! As I have assumed both of these roles, I have compiled a short list of tips to encourage successful relationships between parents and teachers.
Tip #1: Be prepared and establish routines. Have a plan for breakfast (or healthy options to send to school with your child). When kids are hungry they have difficulty concentrating on their schoolwork. Layout clothing and pack the back pack the night before. Plan ahead for special events at school. Get to bed on time so mornings are less stressful. When kids get enough sleep, they are able to do their best during the school day. Routines and order help kids to feel safe, and they lessen the anxiety a child may have if he/she is not prepared for the day. Make sure children know where they need to go after school. Send a note(written or via email) if plans change.
Tip #2: Find your family’s rhythm regarding schoolwork. Some children are ready to work on homework right after school, others are ready to begin after an hour of play, and still others may not be ready for homework until after your evening meal. Be open to trying different times based on your child’s behavior. Often children come home from school and they are worn out. They have “held it together” for the past seven hours and sometimes they let their frustrations out when they walk in the door. Allow them some space. Allow them some time to unwind.
Tip #3: Be available, but don’t badger. If your child wants to share about his/her day, listen. But don’t pester him/her with questions. You may want to establish a sharing time at your evening meal in which everyone shares two positive things about their day, and one not so positive (if they wish). Many teachers send home newsletters or post assignments on a blog. Use these to ask a few specific questions about your child’s day.
Tip #4: Communicate with teachers and encourage your child. Let teachers know if your child is struggling. Ask questions when you don’t understand something. Be honest about homework. Help your child to understand a teacher’s perspective, and help the teacher to understand your child’s perspective. Inform teachers about family events such as a pet dying, or a grandparent coming for a visit. Teachers care about students, and being informed helps teachers show students they care.
Tip #5: Pray for your kids and their teachers. Pray with your kids. Prayer is a vital part of life and asking for God’s blessing and reminding your children that God goes with them throughout their day is so important. Teachers so appreciate prayers for wisdom and health and strength and energy. When children experience their parents praying for their teachers and themselves, they see respect and love and they feel God’s blessing.
When parents and teachers respect each other and partner together, it is a win-win-win situation: Children Win, Teachers Win, and Parents Win!