Back to School Survival Guide for Parents of a Child Who Struggles
Talk to the teacher
- Do keep the conversation brief. Although there may be many things you want to say, focus on the most important and let the other issues come out throughout the year as the need arises. This will help the teacher remember the most important information.
- Don’t call the teacher during summer break. Teachers need their break and they may not be as focused during the summer. He or she is more likely to remember the specifics of your conversation if you wait until the teacher workdays a few days before the children return.
- Do let the teacher know a specific strength of your child. Be careful not to focus only on the needs.
- Do not criticize previous teachers. Last year’s teacher may be her best friend. It’s not a good idea to talk about what other teachers did wrong. Instead let her know what worked well and styles that didn’t work well, leaving out specific names or references.
- Do let the teacher know that you are interested in being a partner with him or her to help your child succeed.
Children who struggle, as well as their parents can become very consumed in what the child does not do well. The child spends the entire day doing something that is very difficult and then often comes home and hears about it from the parents. When there is another activity that he or she can be successful in, it provides a sense of confidence. It shifts the focus away from the perceived failure and broadens one’s perspective about life. After all, we all have strengths and weaknesses. Academics, while important, are not the only thing a child can succeed in. Getting involved in an activity can also keep a child connected to school, and become more well rounded, when academics alone would not.
Do’s and Don’ts about getting your child involved in an activity:
- Do encourage an activity that will redirect some of his or her frustration. When a student struggles in reading and all of the focus is on reading, it can be overwhelming and harmful to self esteem.
- Don’t push your child into an activity that will require so much time, that studying will have to take a back seat. This activity is not to replace academics.
- Do let your child choose the activity or at least have equal rights in this decision. It defeats the purpose to push a sport or an activity that is not exciting to the child.
Other ideas to consider
- Write a one page summary of the IEP accommodations.
- See if you can bring your child to view the room a day or so early to ease anxiety.
- Consider using Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils in the Classroom.