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Dad talking to his daughter on a porch

Speaking of School

By Dr. Brian Tyler, Pediatric Associates of Williamsburg

Sometimes it's hard for parents to find out what’s really happening at school. Kids can be pretty tight-lipped and it’s difficult for teachers and parents to communicate on a daily basis. Knowing how to ask the right questions can make a big difference.

The following tips can help you open the lines of communication with your children and their teachers:

With Your Child

  • Ask your child questions that require more than a one-word answer like, "What was the best thing you did today?" or "Who did you play with at recess?" These open-ended questions are more likely to get your child talking.
  • Don't be afraid to ask about the worst thing that happened all day, either. This creates an opportunity for your child to confide in you about a problem he might be having.
  • Once you get him talking, don't interrupt to offer advice unless he asks for it. Simply listen until he stops talking or changes the subject on his own. Listening without interrupting is a good way to keep the lines of communication open.

With Your Child’s Teacher

  • Find out what form of communication is most convenient for your child’s teacher. Would they prefer a phone call, e-mail or written note?
  • Volunteer to help out in the classroom. The things you see while volunteering will often tell you more than you can learn in a 15-minute formal conference.
  • Try not to be defensive if the teacher needs to talk to you about a problem. The conversation should focus on helping your child, and the teacher will need your support to resolve the issue.
  • Read all the notes and papers that come home with your child to better understand the structure of your child's day, what he is learning and how he is expected to behave.
  • Let the teacher know if something positive or negative happens in your child's life. Divorce, death or the birth of a sibling all can impact school performance.

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About CHKD Medical Group

About CHKD Medical  Group Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters has been the region’s most trusted name in pediatric care for more than 50 years. As members of CHKD Health System, our pediatricians work closely with CHKD’s full range of pediatric specialists and surgeons. They also share a commitment to quality, excellence and child-centered care. With 18 practices in 29 locations throughout the region, a CHKD pediatrician is never far.