Welcome to Neighborhood Lit.!

September 20, 2019 3 min read

(Image by Sarah Pflug from Burst)

Back to school shopping is done.  School supplies have been purchased and organized.  Lunches have been packed. Alarm clocks are set. By now, most kids and families have had a few weeks to adjust and get into the new school year routine.  You’ve done all you need to do to get your child off to a great start for the new school year so you can breathe a sigh of relief, right? Wrong! Although you have completed the physical tasks of preparing your child for school, have you taken time to think about having the right mental attitude to foster a successful school year?  

Your attitude matters.  Children are very observant and are constantly paying attention to what you say and do.  The way your child speaks and acts is often a reflection of the way you speak and act. It is your responsibility to set a good example, particularly in the way you treat your child’s teachers. Teachers are trained to effectively educate children.  Help them do their job by supporting them and giving them space, respect, and trust to do it.  

Realistically, you may not always like every teacher your child has or you may not agree with the teacher’s classroom policies or homework assignments. While you may have every right to feel the way you feel, it is important to be aware that your child will take cues on how they should feel and act from you.  If you badmouth their teacher in front of them, they are likely to feel justified in doing the same thing. If you think the homework assignment is a waste of time and your verbalize that to your child, your child will likely put little effort into it. 

It can be difficult to watch your child struggle with a challenging teacher or curriculum, but ultimately this can be an important life lesson for your child.  Life is full of tough circumstances and demanding people and children need to learn how to deal with them appropriately. Better to learn that now and build resilience and resources to be able to handle it later in life when the stakes are higher.  

So what can you do to help your child develop a positive attitude about school and their teachers?

  • Model it yourself.  Be aware of how and what you say.  Try to focus on the positive.  
  • Listen to your child.  When your child complains about a frustrating teacher or issue, listen without rushing to offer advice.  Sometimes, just being able to vent about it helps.
  • Try to let your child handle it.  Encourage your child to talk to the teacher if they do not understand or are having problems with homework or assignments.  As children get older, teachers expect them to take more responsibility in solving any problems they may have.
  • Communicate with the teacher.  If your child has tried talking to the teacher and the issue is still unresolved, reach out to the teacher with your concerns.  Do not go to an administrator unless you have had several conversations or made numerous attempts to resolve the issue with the teacher first.  

Remember, you are your child’s first teacher.  Even if it doesn’t always seem like it, they are listening to and watching the way you interact with the world around you.  Teach them to have a positive attitude about school and learning by having one yourself!