British Columbia

Tips for building a solid parent-teacher relationship

With school kicking off this week, some children might have the jitters about meeting their teachers for the first time. But parents also need to focus on building strong relationships with their children’s educators.

'If you get along with the teacher, you’re sharing an attitude that this is an important person'

When a relationship is good between the child and the teacher, it improves academic performance, according to parenting expert Alyson Schafer. (Gerry Broome/Associated Press)

With school kicking off this week, some children might have the jitters about meeting their teachers for the first time.

But parents also need to focus on building strong relationships with their children's educators, according to parenting expert and former classroom teacher Alyson Schafer.

"That child has this other authority in their life that is an important part of their day," Schafer told Radio West guest host Audrey McKinnon.

"If [you as a parent] get along with the teacher, you're sharing an attitude that this is an important person."

Dos and don'ts

When a relationship is good between the child and the teacher, it improves academic performance, said Schafer.

In order to foster a strong relationship with a child's teacher, Schafer encourages parents to get school-related paperwork in on time and show an interest in the classroom, rather than wait for a parent-teacher meeting.

She also encourages parents not to overdo it by emailing the teacher too often or constantly checking in on the classroom.

"When we overstep, we rob the child of their opportunity to become independent and take ownership of their learning. We really do need to have faith that the child can manage, and that the teacher can manage as well."

Children are back to school again this week. That means new schedules, new friends, and new teachers. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

Dealing with conflict

When a conflict comes up between a child and a teacher, Schafer says that it can sometimes be because the child misinterprets the teacher's tone.

She says if a child is upset, they "may look at a teacher's face and perceive a neutral face as one that is scowling ... When your child says a teacher yelled at them today, they may not be purposely lying to you, but that's how they perceived the interaction."

Schafer suggests being open to checking in with the teacher about the situation first, rather than accusing them right away.

If the conflict persists, parents can speak with the teacher again, and eventually the principal if necessary.

Listen to the full interview here:

With back-to-school around the corner, parents will be preparing to meet their child's teacher. Parenting Expert Alyson Schafer gives us some tips for parents to help them get off on the right foot. 7:16

With files from Radio West