Your child is your number one priority, and you’d like to be the one that gives them everything they need, but in all likelihood — you won’t be doing it alone. Your child will have several adults who will have an influence on their development this year. One way to support your child’s needs is to build and maintain strong, positive relationships with all the people who play a role in your child’s life, like educators, coaches, and caregivers. Make sure your child knows everyone and the role they will play in their life. Let them know that you’re all working together to help him or her succeed.
Do you know who’s on your team this year? With your child’s interests in mind, create a team and build a relationship with this group of individuals who will support the ongoing growth of your child in the coming year.
Who’s on the roster? Begin by creating a list of the adults who will be connecting with your child this year. Teachers, school personnel, coaches, mentors, and extended family members are common additions to the list. But don’t stop there. It’s as equally important to identify those who will be involved in the before and after school hours so consider the bus driver, after school care provider, piano teacher, coach and dance instructor.
What’s the schedule? With the roster completed, next review your child’s schedule and identify the when, where, and why these key people will see your child. What does your schedule look like for school, extracurricular activities, and getting there? Who will be overseeing and interacting with your child in these times? By creating a picture of your child’s schedule, you can match up those who will be involved in their life and the role that each plays.
Make contact. The beginning of a school year, sports season, or dance session marks the start of
many new relationships. During the first few weeks of beginning a new school year or new activity take a few minutes to communicate with each person on your roster. Meet them in person or send an email to share a quick message with them.
The message to convey is short yet sincere. Let them know how excited you are to have them in your child’s life this year and that you look forward to working with them as a partner in the education of your child. This quick introduction sends a powerful message to everyone on your team that you recognize their importance and that you are active in your child’s life.
Check-in. Exchange email addresses and don’t wait until a problem arises to communicate. Mak
e contact with those on your roster every 2-3 weeks, or more often if appropriate. Be someone who gives praises when all is going smooth, and not one that just speaks up when something is going wrong. Also, be receptive to comments and suggestions, and deal with issues promptly to avoid more serious problems later.
Stay involved! Make a point to show up and participate in events such as back-to-school night, open houses, and their games and performances.
Do your part as a fellow team member by helping your child be on time, positive, and prepared for school and activities. Offer to volunteer your time in the classroom or as a chaperone on class trips.
Celebrate the victories. Achieving goals and reaching milestones is always reason for celebration. Placing a quick call to your child’s teacher after the conclusion of a long project or to the coach after a successful, or more importantly a tough game, shows acknowledgment and appreciation—two desirable characteristics of a supportive team. Team members should celebrate together frequently, which in turn helps the relationship grow, which in turn helps your child grow.
When you bring your child to school in the morning or to a piano practice afterwards, don’t just look at it as dropping them off — see it as entrusting them to a partner who is also dedicated to making sure that your child becomes successful. And as with any successful team, communication is one of the keys to success — get involved and stay involved!
Extra Tidbits: Today’s generation of school-aged children spend the majority of their waking hours in the care of someone other than their parents – United States Census Bureau.
Share information about your child that they might not otherwise learn, such as:
- Your child’s favorite books, movies, hobbies, and interests;
- Learning activities and techniques that are especially helpful for your child.
- Positive stories about your child, or important events in his or her personal life that may affect how they interact with others.