Parent Teacher Communication Tips – Establishing effective communication between home and school is important to review whenever a situation like a new teacher or new school year arises. Having a solid working relationship with your child’s school can be as critical as their daily attendance and having competent parent teacher communication skills are a must!
Dr. Marv Abrams, Adjunct Educational Professor for Argosy University, Orange County, provides tips for bridging the gap between school and home with parent teacher communication tips. Here are his tips, followed by an interview with Dr. Raghu Mather.
Parent Teacher Communication Tips
- The tough reality. Teachers have so many students and so many constraints on their time that they simply cannot give an adequate amount of attention to communicating home to the child’s parents. The key to success for parents, he says, centers along creating the appropriate and acceptable lines of communication with the school and with their child.
- Get involved. Whether your child is young enough for you to volunteer in the classroom or whether you join the good old PTA, you’re gaining access to knowledge about how the classroom and the school work and gaining access to school administrators that can be very useful for staying in tune with your child’s education.
- Know their friends. Know who your children are hanging out with, texting, and talking to on social networking sites and what they are doing with them. Kids are attracted to people just like them so if you find they hang out with a ‘bad crowd’ the reality is that they are the ‘bad crowd’ and you may need to intervene.
- Keep them active. Kids who stay active are kids who stay out of trouble, both Abrams and Papadimitriou agree. Whether it’s a school club, the band or athletics, the more time kids spend in the presence of an adult engaged in something positive, the better off they’ll be and the less time.
- Stay neutral. When your child faces trouble, socially or academically, staying neutral is the key. Parents can lose objectivity when it comes to their children. They send their children to us as their most prized possessions and can forget that their children sometimes make mistakes. Nobody is perfect – the goal should be to focus on the problem at hand and correcting the situation, not on identifying blame with either the child or the school.
- Back up your teacher. Never criticize the teacher or school in front of your child. It forces your child to choose between the authority of the school and your authority as a parent and only sets them up for further conflicts in the future. If you need to discuss an issue beyond with your child, you talk to the teacher without your child knowing. That gives you the opportunity to partner with the teacher to find a solution and sets your child up for success in the future.
Lisa LaGrou of Oakland County Moms – In order to not step on anyone’s toes, what is the recommended “channel of command” if a parent needs to contact the school with a concern about his/her child?
Dr. Raghu Mather – Parent should contact the teacher first and discuss the concern with him/her. If the parent is not satisfied with the response, contact the school principal.
Lisa LaGrou of Oakland County Moms – If a child expresses to his parent that he is bored at school, what are your suggestions for keeping them interested and active?
Dr. Raghu Mather – Parent should contact the teacher(s) first and let the teacher know so that he/she can evaluate the lesson plans for the child’s interest and motivation levels. Daily communication between the parent and the child about school work is paramount. Parent should help the child understand that no teacher can make all subject matter entertaining all the time.
Lisa LaGrou of Oakland County Moms – Some children don’t care to discuss their day and what they’ve learned. How do we as parents encourage them to share with us on a daily basis so we can be “on top of” their education?
Dr. Raghu Mather – Parent should ask the child specific, not general or vague questions about the day’s activities so that the child will talk/explain without resorting to yes/no answers. Parent’s tone needs to be nice, respectful yet firm. Good responses on a weekly basis may be tied to some appropriate reward system.
Lisa LaGrou of Oakland County Moms – As you mentioned, it is a good idea to keep kids active through extracurricular activities outside of school. What is a good ratio of activity for the different age levels and when is it too much for them?
Dr. Raghu Mather – There is no recommended fixed ratio; however, roughly one hour of extracurricular activity for two hours of home work may be used as a general guideline.
These parent teacher communication tips to keep open communication between you and your child’s school/teacher can be used year after year, and all throughout the school year.