There are classroom rules/policies, permission slips, extracurricular activity information, and emergency cards to fill out and sign. A lot of information will be flowing the first week of school. In addition to what kind of homework load to expect, here are six things teachers want parents to know:
- A new year is a clean slate. Teachers know a lot of maturing can happen over the summer. Last year’s class clown might be this year’s honor student. It’s good to let your kids know they’re getting a fresh start.
- Get back to a routine a week before school. Following a schedule for meal times and bedtimes is critical to avoid fatigue the first week of school when teachers typically go over the rules and expectations for the year.
- Limit after school activities to one, two if your kid can handle it. It’s fun to be involved in Girl Scouts, swimming, dancing, and gymnastics but kids can get so tired they can’t do their best in school. Let your child choose their favorite activity to be involved in and use summer vacation to try out something new.
- Join the PTA/PTO. Your involvement in their school contributes to their success and demonstrates that you value their education. If you can’t become a member, consider making a donation. When my daughter was in elementary school I was surprised to learn that new playground equipment and the Fall Festival was entirely financed by the PTA’s fundraisers.
- Volunteer to help the teacher. Chances are your child’s teachers have things that can be done at home while you watch TV, like cutting out things for their bulletin board or making classroom folder games.
- Communication is a two-way street. First, be sure to understand how your child’s teacher communicates with parents. If you know the newsletter is sent home each Wednesday, you can be on the lookout for it in your child’s backpack. Second, let them know the best way to reach you. If your email sits unopened in your inbox for days on end, ask the teacher to call you or send home a letter instead. Parent Teacher communication is a two-way street.
The beginning of the school year is the best time to open the lines of communication and discuss important information about your child. Obviously, any recent life upheavals may impact their behavior at school so it may be necessary to let teachers know about a recent loss of a loved one. Here are some other important things to share regarding medical diagnoses:
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- If your child has asthma, your teacher needs to be aware so they can watch them at recess. Also be sure to tell the nurse and P.E. Teacher.
- Don’t be afraid of stigmas attached to ADD/ADHD. If aware of this diagnosis the teacher will know to have patience and may be able to share helpful strategies to deal with it. Also share what methods you use that are effective and always let teachers know if medication is being adjusted or tested.
- Be sure to make known any allergies. If your child exhibits certain behaviors when exposed to allergens, let the teacher know so they can intervene to stop a more serious reaction.
- Disclose all medications. It’s rare but if the paramedics need to be called for your child they’ll want to know about anything that’s in their system.