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Parent-Teacher Conferences: What to Ask to Ensure your Child is On-Track

Parents and teacher at Parent Teacher Conference

The weekly hustle and bustle of drop off – pick up – repeat doesn’t always allow for much time to check in with your child’s teacher about how he or she is doing at school.

With the school year starting, parent-teacher conferences are on the horizon! Typically held about twice a year, these meetings are a great opportunity to have discussions with your child’s teacher about his or her behavior at school and academic performance.
Coming to a conference prepared with the right questions can help you make the most out of the time you have with your child’s teacher. The answers can give you helpful information and guidance for keeping your child on track this school year. Here are the top questions to ask!

Child-Centered Questions

What does my child seem to enjoy at school?

Asking a question like this one can set a positive tone for the conference. A teacher’s answer will also give you insight into how happy your child is at school.

Not only does that give you peace of mind, but studies have shown that a student’s happiness is related to his or her motivation in the classroom.

How does my child interact with his or her peers?

Social skills play an important role in learning!

The social-emotional skills kids develop by interacting with others have been shown to predict academic success. Strong peer interactions at school also help your child develop self-confidence and organize their own thoughts as they process new information!

What do you see as my child’s strengths?

Another positive question like this one helps the conference maintain a constructive tone.

Is your child friendly, hard-working, a good listener, or creative? By identifying your child’s strengths, you and the teacher can collaborate on how to build upon those qualities to keep your child on track. Not to mention, it’s always nice as a parent to hear about some of your child’s best qualities!

Academic Questions

How is my child doing in terms of meeting grade-level expectations?

Here’s a more open-ended question that not only lets you know if your child is learning what he or she is expected to, but is also a jumping off point for further discussion.

How are my child’s challenges being addressed?

If your child’s teacher mentions any academic challenges your child seems to be facing, start to make a plan.

Use the face-to-face time you have with your child’s teacher to discuss any supports such as additional services or accommodations that could be helpful. Ask if he or she would recommend any services for your child outside of school as well, such as tutoring, Speech Therapy, or Occupational Therapy.

Parent Involvement Questions

What can I do at home to help?

Being involved in what your child is doing at school and carrying these concepts over to home is one of the best things you can do for your child’s academic future!

Research shows that parent involvement can have positive effects on everything from preschoolers’ vocabulary to middle schoolers’ math skills.

What’s the best way to check in until our next conference?

An action plan can give you piece of mind that you’ll be able to continue touching base with your child’s teacher throughout the school year. Ask what his or her preferred method of contact is. If you and your child’s teacher plan to start some interventions to help boost your child’s skills in certain areas, you may want to set a date before the next scheduled conference to see if those services are helping.

What are the most important things for me to know about this year?

Your child’s teacher may discuss important assignments or standardized tests happening during the current school year. Knowing about these in advance can give you a boost in looking ahead to prepare your child.

What questions can I answer for you?

Remember – conferences are not only a time to get information, but also to give important information. A teacher may ask about behavior strategies or approaches that seem to work best for motivating your child at home.

If you’ve found that things like using timers, schedules, or certain positive rewards are helpful for your child, sharing that information can guide the teacher’s approach in the classroom to be most effective with him or her!

If you or your child’s teacher have concerns about your child’s communication, fine motor, or gross motor skills, and you are interested in private therapy, consider TherapyWorks. TherapyWorks offers Speech, Occupational and Physical Therapy both in person (in Illinois, Michigan, and Ohio) and through teletherapy (nationwide). If you would like to learn more, or discuss your child’s specific needs, please don’t hesitate to reach out to TherapyWorks!

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