Autumn leaves falling each year herald an annual ritual: the first parent-teacher conferences at school. Starting in preschool and through high school, these opportunities to sit face to face with the educators who spend a lot of time working with our kids can be invaluable. Here are some suggestions to help you get the most out of the conferences:

  • Be sure to attend, and both parents, if possible. It’s easy to get busy and skip conferences, but it’s important your child and the teacher see you care enough to take the time.
    Be open to both the good and the constructive feedback. Don’t be upset if you hear that your child isn’t perfect. Nobody is!
  • Be ready with a few questions. If you don’t know where to begin, try these:

“What are her best attributes as a student?”
“What do you think she needs to work on?”
“How can I support his education at home?”

  • Remember school is part learning, part social behavior. Seek information on how your child behaves in class and acts toward authority figures.
  • Be careful how you talk to your child about the content of conferences. Especially if the child wasn’t in attendance, you want to avoid negative or angry comments, if your child isn’t doing as well as you would like. Bring up some of the good things the teacher said. And if there were areas for improvement, talk about them matter-of-factly.
  • Be loving. Always tell your children how much you love them, and how proud you are of them when they make their best effort at school — no matter what the letter grade.

Early elementary school conferences are a time when significant learning problems or behavior issues may first come to light. Your doctors at Eugene Pediatric Associates are eager to help. We are building a premier behavioral health division, which is already launched, to better serve our families with concerns about their children in school.