Parent teacher conferences are an opportune time to get to know more about how your child spends the seven hours a day away from you. It is a great opportunity to see your child in a different light and share more about your child’s personality with the teacher.
It is a chance to get to know that infrequently seen teammate who is working hard to help your child’s learning process at school while you are parenting at home.

Here are seven ideas to help you make the most of the short time you will have with the teacher:

Ahead of time
1. Talk to your child about school. What does she like best? What does she feel like she does really well? What doesn’t she like about school? What is difficult for her and why? What would she change?

2. Write down any questions you have for the teacher in order of importance and bring the list with you to the conference. Some might be specifically related to your child and others may deal with the class in general: What will be covered in Math this year? How are grades determined? What is the homework policy? The reality is that time is limited and in the moment we often forget to ask the most important question.

During the Conference
3. See the teacher as a teammate. This year you and the teacher are working together to help your child. Listen to your teammate. Ask your teammate questions. Share your ideas. Come up with a game plan together.

4. Get an understanding of what the teacher has been doing to help your child with her/his weaknesses.

5. Find out ways you can support your child at home. Is there a math or phonics game the teacher could show you how to play with your child? Do you need to beef up the amount of time spent reading with your child everyday? Would more play dates help practice some social behaviors? Do you need to implement more organization techniques?

6. Chat with your child about what happened at the conference. Be sure to share the praise as well as any weaknesses. Talk about the plan made for making progress and ask for feedback.

7. After a few weeks, follow up with the teacher to confirm that the plan of action you created together is working. This can be through a quick e-mail or phone call after school.

Following these tips will help you have a conference that allows you to walk away with the information most significant to you, to create a closer relationship with your teammate, and to provide your teammate with important knowledge about your son/daughter. Go Team!

Author's Bio: 

Sherrie Hardy, M.A., MIMC, author of Beyond Labels-Helping Your Child Succeed In School, founder of Hardy Brain Training, Hardy Learning Center and Hardy Academy programs that create success for struggling students and adults, creator of Rising Star Home Training System improving attention, learning and behavior and Successful Student Now on-line teleseries that teaches parents how to discover and correct the problems that inhibit their children’s success.