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4 Ways to Build a Positive Relationship with Your Child’s Teacher

2 Sep

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With the new school year kicking off and your child becoming acquainted with a new schedule and peers, there are a few things you can do as a parent to ensure students are getting the most out of the classroom experience. One of the most important ways you can help your child succeed is by providing a positive relationship with their teacher. Students will not only be encouraged to make their own beneficial relationships, but they will also have an educational environment at home that supports learning efforts in the classroom. Here are four ways you can form a stronger connection with your child’s teacher.

 1. Get Your Chat On!

Communication really is key. From obtaining contact information at the beginning of the year, knowing the best way to get in touch with the teacher, and introducing yourself in a meeting or through Open House Night, establishing a clear method of communication will go a long way in providing support for your child. Be sure you place the teacher’s contact information somewhere it won’t be lost, whether it’s logged into your smart phone’s address book or under a magnet on the refrigerator. Don’t be afraid to reach out to the teacher when you have questions about student’s assignments or to set up meetings to discuss behavior. Educators will appreciate any effort to foster engagement as long as it is being approached from an amicable position.

2. Understand Expectations

Knowing what the teacher expects of your child and of you as a parent is key to forming a positive relationship. From the beginning of the school year, you should know how many volunteer hours are needed, how much homework children are expected to do daily, what schedules look like, and what you should be doing outside of the classroom to ensure your child is getting the most out of lessons. Many times, you can continue what is being learned at school through providing additional content for students to practice at home. Be sure to talk to your child’s teacher to understand how you can best provide support after hours. Here are a few options for fostering learning at home:

-Reading Readiness

-Math Mastery Games

-Art Exploration

-Building Communication

3. Be an Example

If you don’t fill out the paperwork sent home, chances are, children won’t complete the work required of them either. Filling out questionnaires, contact information and simple surveys may seem frivolous, but they can truly be used as tools by teachers to better know your family and how to best support your child. Check students’ homework folders, or whatever system of communication is used for paperwork sent home, and fill out surveys and required signatures on time so that you not only make things run easier in the classroom, but also provide a positive example for children to follow.

 4. Put It in the Calendar

Time and money are hard to come by, but when you are able to set aside either for the classroom, you will see your efforts pay off by creating a better overall learning experience for your child. When classroom expectations are being established, be sure to ask teachers what they most need, whether it is volunteers for Writing Night or more paint for the art studio. Doing what you can to pitch in with time or resources and then following through by plugging it into the calendar will make any teacher happy!

For more information on how to make time for volunteering, check out The Busy Family’s Guide to Volunteering: http://www.kaplantoys.com/product/47583/the-busy-familys-guide-to-volunteering

Things to Consider When Planning a Play Date

26 Aug

 

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It’s the first week of school for many students and parents! As students adapt to the changes of a new teacher and peers, it’s important to support the friendships being fostered in the classroom right from the start. Friendship is not only an essential part of developing a child’s social skills, but it also makes the transition back to school much easier. Interacting and planning play dates with other parents is a great way to support the friendships being made and ensure they will not dwindle away as the school year progresses. Here are six things you’ll want to keep in mind when planning your child’s next play date!

 

  1. Be Prepared —It’s important that your child is ready for the play date regardless of whether they are going or hosting. Make sure he or she is well rested and fed before the allotted time. Not only do you want your child prepared, but you’ll also want to prep the space that you intend to use for play. Choose a space that will allow children to be active as they interact and childproof it for any potential risks. If the play date is happening at your house, your schedule should be cleared for the devoted hour of social time, as children will need consistent supervision.
  1. Know What to Expect—You’ll want to establish who’s picking up who, arrival and departure times, if parents are staying throughout the play date, and how many children will be involved before getting children together. It’s also a good practice to ask about any allergies or medical needs of the children in your care. Once you have all of the details, be sure to talk it over with your child, so they also know when to expect friend-time and how to prepare. (We all know they have that one special toy or outfit they’ll have to find and show off!)
  1. Teach Children How to Play the Perfect Host(ess)—Social skills are one of the many benefits children will gain from interacting with peers and building lasting relationships. One of those skills is courtesy. Explain what it means to be a ‘’good host(ess)” with examples like taking their guest’s jacket and hanging it up, showing their guest the space they’ll be exploring, or even offering a pre-prepared snack or drink! Seeing the guest as someone to be valued will help children better appreciate the ideas of their peers both in and outside of the classroom.
  1. Avoid Threes—There is truth to the concept of “third wheels” and having someone feel “left out” is never ideal. If you can, plan in pairs or keep younger siblings distracted with separate activities so children can interact with their guest.
  1. Know When to Step In—Squabbles are going to happen; it’s natural as kids are unlikely to agree on everything that arises within an hour. There are a couple of ways you can handle play date skirmishes. If there is hitting (or biting) involved, it’s time to step in and change the activity, giving attention to a new subject. If the problem is one that does not involve children being emotionally or physically hurt, it can be just as beneficial to step back and let children work out their own problems. Using communication and understanding differences is a key learning process, and if children can come to joint solutions, problem-solving skills are already underway.
  1. Reflect When Finished—It’s important to know what worked and what didn’t when the play date has come to an end. This will help you with the planning process for the next date and how your child best operates with their peers. Plan your own meeting with the parents of the visiting children so you can both be better prepared for round two!

For the perfect play date toys, you won’t want to miss out on these selections:

Play Date Resources:

 

8 Tips for Preparing Kids to Go Back to School

5 Aug

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Are your kids all strapped in to new backpacks and shoes, ready for the new school year? Whether your child has first-day jitters or he or she is excited to make new friends, there are a few tips you’ll want to keep in mind to make the transition to the first week of school a smooth one! Get ready for eight tips for preparing kids to go back to school!

1. Establish a Morning Routine

How a child starts the morning usually determines how the rest of the day will go. To make sure your child is starting off “on the right side of the bed,” make sure you begin the school year with a well-established morning routine. This can include setting an alarm for a consistent time to start the morning throughout the week, making time for healthy breakfasts, and having children pick out clothes for school the night before so you don’t find yourself scrambling in the morning to find a pair of shoes that match!

2. Determine If Your Child Is Packing Lunch

Knowing whether your child will pack lunch or eat in the school cafeteria is an important part of preparing for back to school. If they are eating at school, make sure lunch accounts are stocked and ready to go with proper allowances. If your child prefers to pack lunch, ensure they have a suitable lunch bag to carry in and pack lunches the day before. This also allows room to leave children a special note to calm those first-day jitters!

3. Encourage New Friendships

Talk to your children about making new friends. It can be easy to talk and laugh with the same friends and forget to reach out to new classmates. Encourage children to strike up conversations with peers they don’t know for a change. You can also support those newly formed friendships by keeping informed on what’s going on in the classroom and scheduling play dates accordingly.

4. Pay Attention to Classroom Rules

First days and first weeks of schools will be full of paperwork! Make sure your children hold on to the important ones and that you read through classroom rules together. Children need to know what is expected of them in the classroom and you need to know how to best communicate with your child’s teacher to better support learning at home.

5. Help Teachers Know Children Better 

Does your child have certain allergies? Maybe they are left-handed. Whatever it is about your child that isn’t commonly known needs to be shared with the teacher so they can accommodate lessons and snacks around your child’s needs. Be sure to have medical records on hand for the classroom.

6. Know Transportation Options

Will you be driving your child to school or will they be riding the bus? Knowing your neighborhood (safe routes to walk, awareness of bike lanes) and making enough time in the morning to get your child to school on time will make a huge difference in bringing stress levels down for daily school mornings. It’s also important to know where school drop-off zones are located. Be sure your child knows before they leave for school whether they are a car or bus rider.

 7. Establish Homework Habits from the Get Go

Setting homework expectations for children before they start school will not only set a precedent for school work, but it will help children better manage time after school. It’s best to set aside time in the afternoon for homework when children cannot use social media or watch TV. This will keep them from being distracted and hopefully coordinate with a time when you can answer questions they may have.

8. Tell Them to Have Fun

Some children may have first-day anxiety, but it’s important to show them how much there is to be excited about! Before your child starts school, sit down together and come up with a list of positive things about going back. This can be anything from getting new school supplies to returning to a favorite teacher! Let them know how proud you are of them. A special note on the first day goes a lot further than you think!

-We hope these tips help you and your child as you prepare for back-to-school fun! If you’re looking for toys to get children ready in the few days before the start of school, here are some great options:

Resource: http://kidshealth.org/parent/positive/learning/back_school.html

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