Parent Teacher Meeting

   

Knowing that you have to go to meet your child’s teacher may make you feel anxious. You may wonder what to expect from the school, and what is expected of you. Parent-teacher conferences are actually an incredibly important part of your child's preschool experience.  It is important to consult with your child’s teacher about academics, social and emotional development as your child’s preschool teacher will have a perspective that you may be completely unaware of.

Checklist: Before the conference

  • Schedule a time to meet. Ask the teacher about available slots and block your slot.
  • Review your child’s work, and progress reports.
  • Have a quick talk with your child. Does he/she like preschool? What does he/she like the most and the least at school? What is his/her favourite activity? Communicate with your toddler/preschooler that you are meeting his teacher.
  • Make notes of the topics that you want to discuss with the teacher
  • Make a list of questions to have a productive conversation with the teacher.
  • Let the teacher know if there is a particular topic you want to discuss.  If you want to talk about your child’s progress in reading, the teacher will keep the supporting material on hand to aid your discussion.
  • Be on time. Remember that other parents may also have their appointment scheduled for that day.
  • Respectful communication will be the most effective way to work together with your child's teacher. Remember that you both want the same thing: your child to learn and do well.
  • Meet the school staff and sub-staff to ask about your child’s strengths and needs.

What should you talk to the teacher about?

  • Give specifics about your child- his home life, his social life and interests. Let the teacher know the child’s life as some events can definitely impact a child's behaviour. Your child’s social and emotional development is as important as academic development.
  • Take inputs from the teacher about your child’s strengths and weaknesses. Ask her to provide you with specific details so may be able to provide some background insight. When you exchange such information, it gives you and the teacher a better picture of your child and helps you to plan his development milestones.
  • Check on the progress. Find out how your child is doing by asking questions about her knowledge of learning, interaction with other children and willingness to participate in class discussions.
  • Ask to see your child’s work. Ask how the teacher examines the child work.
  • Give your feedback. Discuss your concerns and share thoughts about your child. Explain what you think your child is good at and what he/she needs more help with.
  • If your pre-schooler’s teacher mentions any developmental or behavioural issue, listen to what she has to say and create an action plan to work together. Understand in what ways you can help your child at home with lesson recap, reading, home task, behavioural issues, etc.
  • Schedule another time to check on the progress. Make sure you have an agreed communication channel (in person, by phone, email) that is comfortable for both of you.
  • Talk to your child after the conference. Emphasise the positive points you discussed during the conference and also explain what is expected out of him/her.

Learning about early anxieties - II

          

Everyone, right from a toddler to an adult experiences anxiety at one time or the other in their life and it is closely related to fear which is another normal and necessary emotion that everyone experiences. Anxiety is often associated with an anticipated fear of something happening in future and is very common among children between ages 2 to 6 years. There are various kinds of anxieties in children and their nature keeps changing with the child’s growth.

Is it ok to be anxious?

Identifying anxieties in children is not an easy job always. Sometimes, an anxious child can show symptoms like crying and clinging behaviours and are usually seen in new born kids. But not many children are expressive; most of them try to hide their feelings as they find it too difficult to express it to others and may end up in to angry tantrums or insolent behaviours. All these anxieties if short lived are considered to be normal and parents need not worry as they will reduce over a period of time. In fact, being anxious is beneficial especially when facing a difficult situation and helps a child in preparing to face it.

When a child is very young, fear and anxiety is accepted. But, as a child grows all the fear and anxieties that were considered normal at the younger age may seem less appropriate and might need your immediate attention.

Symptoms of an over anxious child:

  • Tantrums and restless behaviour
  • Negative thinking and self-criticism with over exaggeration of situations
  • Continuous fear of unknown things/situation
  • Shows discomfort in socialising with other kids
  • Too much of perfectionism
  • Sleeping disorders
  • Lack of concentration
  • Very demanding 

When anxiety prevents a child from enjoying a normal life and interferes in their day to day life, as a parent you can help your child overcome it by following the below steps:

Help your child overcome anxiety:

  • Take care of your child’s daily needs and plan a daily schedule that meets the child’s basic needs and avoid sudden changes.
  • There are various emotions and feelings that a child has to understand. You can help your child identify and differentiate feelings through his/her own body like butterflies in the stomach, tight hands, cold feet and etc.
  • Give an ear to your child’s feelings and never discourage their feelings.
  • Make your child feel that you are there with him/her in every situation by expressing yourself through cuddling, singing, storytelling and many more.
  • Respect your child’s fears
  • You are your child’s role model; always showcase a brave behaviour in front of your child.
  • Teach relaxation skills like deep and slow breathing.
  • Encourage “Feel Good” activities
  • Teach Problem-solving strategies 
Not to forget, every child is different and will require different methods of overcoming anxiety/fear. Allow your child a lot of time to express his/her negative thoughts around anxiety/fear/phobia before you could come out with more ways of overcoming the anxious behaviour.