Teachers may not be child psychologists, but they sure know kids.
Their day-to-day activities, likes and dislikes, attitudes and behaviours…
And they’ve often got good insights into where their behaviours come from.
A recent article in The Guardian revealed how teachers might sometimes understand more about your kids than you realise.
This author of the article — a school principal in the UK — has identified a number of strategies we often use in our work with children and parents.
Here are her top ten pieces of advice (click on the links to see what we have to say about them!):
- Lead by example. Although it may not always feel like it, your kids look up to you, and they copy your behaviour. If you act aggressively at home or in public, it can often be reflected in the way your children behave at school.
- Engage with your children. Show them that you care, not just with ‘I love you’, but by talking to them, giving them your undivided attention (at least sometimes), and taking an active interest in their daily lives. Knowing that they’re valued and important to you will help them perform better at school.
- Ensure they get adequate sleep. Make sure they go to bed at consistent times, and don’t have access to technology or distractions that will keep them awake after lights out.
- Feed them well. Nutrition is important in all regards, but especially in helping them perform their best throughout the school day. If they’re coming home with an uneaten lunch, something needs to change.
- Exercise some understanding. Things do go wrong at school, but when there are a lot of children to deal with the process of resolving them can be slow. Communicate with your child’s teachers calmly when you have concerns and assume they also care about your child’s best interests.
- Understand that your child will probably be exposed to some form of bullying at some point. This is an unfortunate reality. But don’t fight other children, teachers or parents on their behalf. Reassure your child, and contact the school to resolve it. Encourage your child to be kind and to stand up for their friends (appropriately).
- Don’t believe everything they tell you. They may make up a few white lies to deflect blame from themselves onto someone else. And if you teach them that you will believe they’re innocent in any given situation they will learn to take advantage.
- Don’t vent your frustrations publicly. Particularly on social media. It won’t do you or your child any favours, and will make any problems far worse.
- Be very cautious with social media. Children under 13 should not be on Facebook (or any similar online network), as inappropriate advances are frighteningly common, and online bullying can have extremely negative effects on your child’s mental health.
- Support the school. Their curriculum and policies are intended to serve the common good and your child and their peers. So make sure they follow the rules, and do their homework. This will support good habits, as well as their ongoing motivation and success.
While some of these points may seem blunt or even harsh, it’s important to remember that none of these suggestions are personal.
Teachers may work with hundreds or even thousands children over the course of their career, and they’re used to dealing with the constant challenges of school life— educational, social and emotional.
Remember that they typically have your child’s best interests at heart, and that’s why they do what they do!