The idea of parent-teacher meetings can be scary or uncomfortable for parents, particularly when your first child is starting school. It’s your first time navigating parent-teacher relationships. Here’s what you can do in those first weeks or months.

Five Steps to a Smooth Parent-Teacher Relationship

One, get to know your child’s teacher at the beginning of the year.

Go to any offered open houses or school tours to meet school personnel. Familiarize yourself with the school and school community.
The early exchange of information about your child should be positive among teachers and parents. Help your child’s teacher get to know all the wonderful things about your child, and build a relationship before addressing any unique learning needs.

Two, if you can, volunteer occasionally in your child’s classroom.

These opportunities are another way to understand the classroom and get to know teachers and aides. Even spending an hour there once a month will help you gain a better understanding of the classroom structure, flow of the day, and other requirements.

Three, teachers and parents should have open communication.

A great deal of research has been conducted on something called Family-School Partnerships. Especially for children with unique learning needs, research continues to show that this important collaboration with your child’s school team is a critical component for school success. If you find that there are challenges working with your child’s teacher, try approaching the school with a can-do collaborative mindset [1].

Whether you communicate through email, note, or phone, stay connected so that your child’s needs are met through collaboration. Some classrooms will have websites with information about what the children are learning and links to homework and enrichment information. Parent-teacher meetings will go more smoothly if you know something about the lessons, homework, and day-to-day classroom schedule and interaction.

Four, as a parent it is important to go into a meeting with your own questions.

Be prepared to listen to your child’s teacher and also have information to share or questions to ask about assignments, classroom behavior, and aptitude. If you have concerns that your child is struggling with certain material, share with their teacher so you can be on the same page. At the same time, hear a teacher’s praise and concerns, thinking all the time about collaboration to meet your child’s needs.

Five, collaboration is key.

If you have ideas about what works for your child at home, share those and expect that your child’s teacher will share what works at school.

School and home collaboration is the most effective way to support learning and troubleshoot concerns. If you come into a parent-teacher meeting with a few ideas for your child’s learning, it is more likely that your child’s teacher will share their ideas and collaborate with you to best support your child. Win-win!

If your child already has identified learning needs or is on a 504 accommodation plan, it will be essential to meet with your child’s teachers at the beginning of each school year. For a step-by-step guide to getting and supporting a 504 plan for your child, see this Cadey Course. Throughout the school year, communication is key to your child’s success. Do not wait if you have concerns about your child’s learning or comfort level at school. When meeting with teachers and administrators, keep the focus on “student success.” When every member of your child’s school team is on the same page, outcomes improve dramatically.

Your Next Step

Take a quick assessment on app.cadey.co to understand your child’s needs. We are pioneering new ground in child psychology. Instead of waiting months or years, you can help your child today. To get started on life-changing interventions, visit courses.cadey.co.

References

[1] Miller, G., Arthur-Stanley, A., & Banerjee, R. (2022). Advances in Family School Community Partnering: A Practical Guide for School Mental Health Professionals and Educators, 2nd edition.