It’s officially back to school season which means something different to everyone. For children, it’s a time of excitement and exploration. For parents, it’s school supplies and some free time. And for teachers, it’s the chance to connect with a whole new group of students to mentor for the year to come and possibly beyond. In all of the rushing around and preparation, it can be easy to lose sight of some of the simple practices that will fuel your child’s success. Here are 3 ways you can start supporting teachers outside the classroom:
Communication is key
When parents and teachers communicate effectively, everyone wins. Research has shown that with families involved, children do better both academically and socially. Not only this, but a key part of supporting teachers lies in communication. Forming a collaborative partnership with your child’s teacher not only benefits your peace of mind but also aids in your child’s growth and development. Avoid rushed conversations in the drop-off or pick up line. At the onset of the new school year, set up a time to sit down and discuss what’s on your mind. This also helps the teacher understand your child better. You can share personality insights; explain how the child typically expresses her emotions; indicate what you believe her learning style is; and share any home life events that may have an impact on her performance or behavior. Establishing open and honest dialogue that can be continued throughout the year fosters a strong parent-teacher partnership with the singular goal of your child’s success.
Homework is their work
Every parent wants to help their child perform well academically, but taking over their homework can become detrimental to this. Homework drives home the lessons learned throughout the day and allows both the student and the teacher to assess where they are with the material. While answering questions and offering supportive encouragement helps, avoid providing actual solutions. This not only empowers your child to learn problem-solving skills but also allows them to recognize areas that they may need to brush up on in class. If your child brings home a bad grade or a less-than-stellar report card, let them know that mistakes do not define them and are an inevitable part of the learning process. If you want to spend time cultivating the skills learned in class, focus on reading. Whether a picture or chapter book, the simple act of sharing a story can inspire a lifelong love of reading.
Home time is just as important as school time
Learning doesn’t stop when the bell rings, nor does supporting teachers. What you do at home is just as important as what goes on at school. Your child’s personality and potentialities take shape at home. Creating a warm and safe environment for them to unwind and grow should be just as important as making sure they have all of their school supplies. A few simple things to remain mindful of:
- Spending quality time with your child. From going for a walk in the park to snuggling up on the couch with a book, activities that let them know you care are key in fostering healthy self-esteem and the desire and motivation to learn in school.
- Feeding your child nutritious, whole foods gets their brain ready to absorb all of the information they learn day-to-day. The brain develops substantially in childhood and what a child eats significantly affects their focus and cognitive performance.
- Trying to limit screen time. In this digital age, it seems like we are constantly surrounded by screens. While children will need to learn to use smart technology to function in modern society, becoming entirely dependent upon it deprives them of certain rites of passage. Get them outside to play, go for a bike ride, read a book together, play a board game – real life happens here and now, not on a screen.
- Most importantly, letting your child know they are loved, no matter how busy your day may be. The rest of their relationships grow from this foundation.
Get involved, stay positive and trust the teacher. And remember, teachers are human too!