Communication: With Your Child & With Your School Tips on how to communicate effectively How to Communicate With Your Child • • • • • Be Attentive Care Share Encourage Love Be Attentive • Be attentive – listen patiently and carefully, providing encouragement. Your child needs to know that at this moment, what he/she is saying is the most important thing to you. Let your face and voice show your interest. Care • Let your child know that you care about his/her feelings. Say things like, “It’s okay to be afraid, sad, excited, etc.” Follow through and SHOW your child how you care. Share • Share situations from your own life when you were experiencing the same feelings as your child. Your child wants to know that you understand why they are feeling this way. Encourage • Encourage your child to solve his/her own problems. Be very assuring that you will be there to help if needed, but try to encourage independence. Love • At any age, your child needs to know that your love is unconditional, and that he/she can tell you anything. You may not like what your child tells you, and there may be consequences for poor judgment and behavior, but your love will never change. Communication with the School/Teacher Strong communication between home and school makes it easier for your child to go back and forth between the two settings. If your child sees this ongoing communication, he/she realizes that you think school is important. SO. . . . • READ newsletters and notes sent home. (Or have someone read them to you) • LISTEN carefully to phone messages sent by teachers and administrators. • Contact your child’s teacher on a regular basis. (phone, e-mail, send a note) • VISIT the school occasionally. If possible, arrange to eat a meal at school with your child. • VOLUNTEER in the school or classroom. Any help is welcome, even if short term. What should you talk to the teacher about?? • • • • • Find out Inform Ask Questions Tell Contact Find Out • Find out what you can work on at home with your child that will help his/her progress. Even if your child does not have a lot of homework, the teacher may have suggestions for enrichment activities. Inform • Inform the teacher about what is going on in your child’s life that may affect behavior or learning at school. For example: family illness or death, parent job loss, out of town trip, etc. Ask Questions • Ask questions about how your child is doing at school both academically and socially. Make the questions specific. Tell • Tell the teacher if you have any concerns about your child’s adjustment to school. Contact • Contact the school, teacher or parent liaison if you need someone else to talk to about your questions or concerns. Ten Tips for a Successful Parent-Teacher Conference 1. Ask your child if there is anything he would like you to discuss with the teacher. 2. Before the conference, jot down everything that you want to talk about. 3. Arrive promptly or a few minutes early. 4. Begin with positive comments about the teacher or school. 5. Avoid lengthy discussions about topics not related to the purpose of the conference. 6. Be open-minded about suggestions from the teacher. 7. Keep your emotions under control. 8. Take notes about what had been discussed to share with your child. 9. Express appreciation for the conference. 10. Do not stay beyond your allotted time. Communication works for those who work at it. - John Powell The way we communicate with others and with ourselves ultimately determines the quality of our lives. – Anthony Robbins Good communication is always difficult to achieve, but the rewards are worth it. You and your child will both benefit from the effort.