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October 25, 2019 3 min read

Whew - conferences are over and (hopefully), you and your child’s teacher had a productive conversation that has left you both feeling ready to work together as a team for a successful school year.  Make sure you don’t forget about the most important member of your team……..your child.  No matter what you and the teacher have decided are the necessary steps for your child to thrive over the next nine months, he/she is the one who actually has totake those steps.  However, there are strategies you can employ to help them develop the motivation to do so.  

  • Communicate:  Begin by talking to your child about the conference.  Tell them that you and the teacher are a team and that you both are going to work together to help your child be the best they can be.  During your discussion, keep the following guidelines in mind:  
    • Start with the positive:  Everyone wants to be recognized for the good things that they do so make sure you share the positive comments that the teacher said whether it is academic, behavioral or social.  Starting with the positive can help your child feel more receptive to hearing about the areas they need improvement.  
    • Stop striving for perfection:   Try to take the word “perfect” out of your vocabulary because no one is perfect.  It is impossible to be perfect. Adults and children need to accept this philosophy because striving for something that doesn’t exist only creates a state of constant dissatisfaction and insecurity.   
    • Focus on the effort and improvement:  Instead of focusing on the grade or achievement level, focus on the effort of your child to improve in the areas they may be struggling with.  This helps them regain a sense of control. While every child is naturally equipped with different abilities, they all have the ability to work hard.  So even though your child may not be a natural math whiz, they can put in the effort to improve in that area and when they do, recognize and praise them for it.  
    • Set goals and make a plan:  Although you and the teacher may have already come up with goals and/or a plan, your child has to buy into it. If this is the case, share your suggestion, but ask for their opinion about it. This doesn’t mean that they have to approve, but find out what they think about it so they feel like they have a say and if possible incorporate their feedback into it.  Tell them you are going to try it the way you decided and then reevaluate after a certain amount of time.  
    • Stick with it and follow-up:  Usually, everyone is focused and highly motivated right after conferences, but over time, things can start to fall by the wayside as life goes on.  Make sure you check in with your child regularly and circle back with the teacher after a few weeks to see how things are going.  

      Teachers, parents, and students are all part of the same team whose goal is to help the child be the best they can be.  The first step in becoming a team is by having a constructive Parent/Teacher Conference. The second step is to establish open and honest communication between the parent and child so that the child is motivated to do the work to become the most valuable player on that team.  

      (Image by ambermb from Pixabay)

      Any questions?  Please email us at Janice@Neighborhoodlit.com.  Taylor Burke is a teacher and Director of Communications at Neighborhood Lit. and works closely with Janice Migliazza, a Reading Specialist and owner of Neighborhood Lit, Route 34, Colts Neck to bring you this information.