Building a Positive Relationship between Home and School
With the school and child care year beginning once again, many parents are daunted to realize that on school days, your child will be spending more awake hours with their teachers than with you! This means that the teachers may know about a development of your child before you do, and that you may notice a change in manners or behavior which relate directly to the expectations of childcare!
For the most part, once the routine is established, the 2 parts of your child’s day blend seamlessly together. However, there are times when parents feel out of the loop or wishes that the school or childcare environment would do something differently ( especially if your child is young). Whilst the individual gripes may be small, over time these can build into resentment if not discussed open and honestly. All too often, I chat with parents who are worried to tell school something or think that the school’s view of their child is wrong. By the same token, I often work with teachers who are nervous to have certain conversations with a parent or to express concerns for fear of a negative reaction.
In order for you and your children to adapt well into this school year, these are our top tips for building a positive relationship with your child’s teachers and caregivers which will benefit everyone!
1) POSITIVE LANGUAGE: From the time you start to prepare your child for the new school year, it is vital to use positive language when talking about the environment, the individual teachers and the management of the childcare environment. No matter what your personal feelings or perception may be, your child needs to feel excited and safe about where they are going to spend a great deal of their time. The educators have a job to do and based on all that I have worked with are doing the very best they can even if you may not see it that way! No matter what your view on any given day, these positive messages need to continue even when hurdles occur or your expectations are not being met. Once your child feels that you don’t trust where they are going, their anxiety and behavior is likely to escalate.
2) CLEAR EXPECTATIONS: By making your expectations clear from the start ( as all child care centres and schools will to you), there are unlikely to be misunderstandings. This is not only true for the first couple of weeks when your child is settling into their new environment but throughout the year. By keeping the channels of communication open, honest and frequent, the teachers will be better able to cater for and understand you and your child. If you don’t feel that you are able to do this with your child’s teacher for whatever reason, find a contact within the school who you trust and are happy to liaise with. Once you feel comfortable to communicate, it is beneficial to vocalize any concerns that you have as soon as they arise!
3) BE INVOLVED : In most cases where home and school are on different pages, it is because one is not sure what is happening for the child in the other environment. Involvement doesn’t just mean daily pick up and drop off. It is constant interest which is shown in a variety of ways. For example, a thorough reading of newsletters or homework books, attendance at school events and listening to your child’s chatter about their friends, their day and what activities they enjoyed. Helping with your child’s projects and homework and making snacks for them while they study also shows your interest! By the same token, if your child or your family have done something exciting, try and involve the school. Send in pictures for the teachers to see, send leftover food or birthday cake ( if you are allowed) for the teacher from an event you hosted at the weekend or communicate any trips you are taking ( without your child) so that school can know about it if your child mentions them.
Following these steps, allows you and your child’s educators to become active partners in the development of your child and incredible results can be achieved!