By Sarah Zeines / ATCNA | Yahoo South Africa News –
How can you help your children build healthy relationships at school? According to the US National Association of School Psychologists, communication is the key.
Creating active school relationships is especially important during elementary years and affects the long term learning ability of children as well as their ability to make friends. Here, a few tips on how to create the most positive academic environment possible for a child.
How to befriend teachers
1. Introduce yourself
Look for your child’s teacher(s) at the first family night of the school year. Introduce yourself and let school staff know how to reach you. Asking for a conference early in the can help establish good relationships as well as provide an opportunity to inform teachers of any specific concerns or problems that affect your child.
2. Take initiative
Ask if there are any activities you can do at home that could help your child improve the skills learned at school. These activities might range from reading to math games or spelling exercises. Make sure your child’s behaviour is in accordance with the school’s expectations. If needs be, find out how the teacher deals with problems and how you might be able to reinforce adequate behaviour at home.
How to befriend the principal
1. Have face- to-face conversations as often as possible
The school principal has to deal with a lot of parents. In order to make durable contact with him or her, face-to-face communication is the most effective strategy. Go to school events and use them as opportunities to talk.
2. Avoid defensiveness
If a sensitive issue regarding your child comes up, be willing to collaborate, not attack or defend. Parents are naturally protective of their children and tend to become defensive when a complaint comes up. Assume that the school has the child’s best interests in mind and let the principal know that you appreciate and recognise the efforts that are being made.
How to befriend other parents
This can take various forms, depending on your time and skills. In order to avoid distracting your child, it is best to help out in other classes. Volunteers are often needed to assist students with their homework. Field trips or PTA meetings are also opportunities to make contact with other parents.
What better way is there to get to know other parents? By driving their kids to school and vice versa, not only are you doing them a favour, you are also doing yourself one. Furthermore, these types of exchanges can lead to solid friendships.
How to help your child make friends
1. Be a behavioural coach
Impulsive behaviour is bad for friendships. In order to help children develop better self-control, psychological studies suggest that parents talk about emotions in a sympathetic way. Kids whose feelings are mocked or reprimanded tend to have trouble controlling their reactions.
2. Control kids’ social lives
Supervising children without being suffocating is a positive way of helping them chooses their friends. By avoiding “bad influences” at a young age, children are more likely to succeed in their social lives.
How to help your child deal with bullies
While encouraging children to be independent is an important part of raising them, intervention is essential when it comes to bullying. The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry recommends seeking help from the school’s staff or from a therapist in such cases.
2. Teach your child to be assertive
Tell your child to walk away from a bully without losing confidence and to ask for help from an adult. Encourage your child to stay with a group to minimise the likelihood of getting picked on.