As our children navigate the first month of school parents often begin to look for feedback from the teacher. Is my son/daughter following directions? Is he/she able to sustain focus appropriately? Are their skills developing as needed? It is only natural to wonder how your toddler is doing in a school environment and in some cases this is compounded by the fact that it is their first time away from a parent or family caregiver.
Most school environments set aside time in the fall for parent-teacher conferences (or as some institutions refer to them, "celebrations") making it easy to connect about your child's progress. If your son or daughter's school does not have a set time for conferences, make a point to reach out to the teacher in the coming weeks. Designate a time outside of drop off or pick up to meet with your child's teacher for feedback and to ask any questions you might have. Remember that transitions take longer with toddlers, so it may be worth waiting until mid-October for a check-in.
Prior to meeting with the teacher consider the following:
Ask yourself some questions. What are my child's strengths? Is there anything he/she needs help with? Don't hesitate to tell the teacher any special concerns you might have.
Be ready to really listen. Teachers get to see children in a group setting, something parents can't often do. You might hear about skills or characteristics you never knew your child had. If, however, the teacher tells you something that worries you, or if there are terms you don't understand, be sure to ask for more information. Take time to process the feedback from the teacher before reacting and, if needed, set up a follow up appointment to revisit any topics that were discussed.
Be prepared to plan together. If some action is needs to be taken to help your child, you and the teacher will figure out what needs to be done together. Offer suggestions and ask what you can do at home. Establish a means for more frequent communication (e.g. weekly email update or daily journal message) if necessary.
Talk with your child's teacher with the knowledge that you are both members of the same team with one goal in mind: the best possible school experience for your child.
The school year is still young and there is plenty of fun and learning to be had. Remain open-minded about the adventures to come this year and utilize communication tools to help alleviate any anxiety you might have about your child's performance.
ABOUT CHRISSY K
I am mom to three boys (one with several life-threatening food allergies) who will never own too many picture books or create Pinterest-worthy snacks. Simply Chrissy K is a place to find helpful tips on parenting that stem from my work with families as an educational consultant and parenting coach.
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Based on a work at http://www.strongtots.com