Okay, so your preschooler is struggling with school. Perhaps they're anxious about attending or maybe they just don't enjoy it. Maybe other children are bullying your child or perhaps your child keeps getting in trouble.
It's time to talk with your preschooler's teacher. What should you keep in mind when you enter the meeting?
1. Assume the best
If your child is struggling with school, it's easy to look for a scapegoat and the teacher is an easy target. Assume that your child's teacher, however, is for your child. Assume they want to help and that you all are on the same page.
As one writer puts it, "Once you contact the teacher to set up a meeting, think of it as a problem-solving or brainstorming session. Assume that both you and the teacher want what's best for your child and that you'll find a way to work together."1
2. Be specific
Bring specific concerns to your child's teacher. If you need to, talk to your child ahead of time so you can include specific examples of your concern.
Because you are likely relaying your child's concerns, be open to the fact that your child's interpretation of events may need some adjusting. The more specific you can be, the easier it will be for your child's teacher to help.
3. Be a team
Communicate that you are both on the same team. Use "us" and "we" when you talk about solutions or ask questions, not "I," "me," and "my." Instead of "I really want Kara to enjoy school" try "I know we both really want Kara to enjoy school."
When presenting problems or solutions, use questions rather than statements. Statements can often feel like accusations, while questions engage a conversation.
4. Listen carefully
This is especially important if you're frustrated or angry about something that happened in the classroom. It's far too easy to enter swinging before you hear your preschooler's teacher out.
5. Express your gratitude
Remember, teachers are really busy—even in preschool! It takes time and energy to meet with parents. You may not be the only meeting they've had that day.