Hey parents, pay attention

By Drum Digital
25 May 2014

Your child’s teacher actually has quite a lot to say to you. We spoke to teachers from several schools in several areas; this is what they have to share.

Communication

  • We won’t believe what your kids say about you if you don’t believe what they say about their teachers. Please check the facts with your child’s teacher.
  • We are your partners, not your enemies. Like you, we have your child’s best interests at heart.
  • They may be your darlings at home, but kids do lie. Verify facts with the school and teachers.
  • Listen to your child. You expect your child to listen to you, so set the example.
  • You never swear in front of him at home? That’s not what he says . . .
  • Make it a point to get to know the parents of your child’s friends at school.
  • Get to know your child’s teacher to establish an open line of communication when your child has problems.
  • Don’t discuss teachers in front of your children, especially if the comments are negative.
  • Write a signed note to your child’s teacher when they are going to miss school for any reason, as kids do bunk school.
  • Take time to talk to your child and ask them about how school is going, what is hard for them and what they are enjoying.

Food

  • Make sure your child eats breakfast and make it a healthy one as it affects their concentration later in the day.
  • Don’t be the reason your child has nothing to eat during break.
  • Pack healthy lunches that include fruit and raw vegetables and no fizzy drinks, chips or biscuits.
  • Encourage them to drink water not fizzy drinks when they write exams.
  • Kids throw away the contents of lunch boxes if they don’t like it. Find out what they prefer to eat and don’t just put in what you think is best.
  • Don’t use food as a reward, and teach your child the correct use of eating utensils.

Safety

  • Teach them basic hygiene such as how to use a toilet and to wash their hands afterwards as well as before they eat.
  • For parents of children in rural areas, please consider finding accommodation for your child near the school as these kids often have to cross rivers and dangerous places to get to school.
  • Teach your child important emergency phone numbers.
  • Discuss the danger of strangers with your child.
  • Look for telltale signs of drug and alcohol abuse such as sleeping too much, aggression and losing interest in schoolwork.

Values

  • Teach your child value systems, for example waiting for their turn to talk. If they can do this at home, they’ll be able to do it at school.
  • Be consistent with your discipline so children can learn there are consequences for their actions. This will discourage bullying.
  • Teach your child to put trash in the dustbin instead of throwing it on the ground.
  • Teach them to respect and look after books.
  • Teach them respect for adults, starting at home with parents, grandparents and domestic helpers, so it spills over to respecting their teachers and other workers at school.

Homework

  • Give your child a specific place in the house or in their room to do their homework that is far from distractions such as the TV and games.
  • Children learn differently, so help your child find the right study method for him or her and don’t rely on the school to do so.
  • Monitor your child’s homework at home, even if they attend aftercare.
  • Check diaries for homework that needs to be done; don’t take your child’s word for it.
  • Make sure your child has everything he or she needs for school projects. Get involved by giving guidance but don’t do the work for them.
  • Make sure you sign your child’s homework or corrections yourself. Kids have been known to forge signatures.
  • Don’t send your child to their room for an hour or two to study – they won’t. Let them study for 20 minutes, then treat them with a snack of fresh fruit and let them relax for 10 minutes (preferably outside), followed by another 20 minute study session.

Getting organised

  • Give your child responsibilities such as putting their lunch box in a specific place at night, or packing their extramural items such as sports equipment before going to bed. This will save you time in the morning.
  • Don’t be the reason your child is late for school.
  • Teach children to look after their own possessions, clothes and stationery.
  • Mark all your child’s clothes and stationery clearly.
  • Get your child used to a set routine, such as supper time and when they need to go to bed so that they’ll quickly get used to the structure at school.
  • Familiarise yourself with the school’s code of conduct and rules about starting times, uniforms, and so on.
  • Help your child become familiar with his or her new school before the first day so they know where everything is and feel more comfortable.

Building confidence

  • Don’t compare your children; appreciate each one’s unique qualities.
  • If your child is struggling with maths, don’t dismiss it saying you couldn’t do maths either. Rather encourage him to overcome the problem through practise and repetition.
  • Encourage your child’s efforts and achievements, no matter how small. Don’t just look at the negatives and the things they didn’t do right.
  • Always tell your child how proud he makes you and that you know he’d never deliberately disappoint you.

General

  • Be selective about TV programmes you allow your child to watch and limit time in front of the TV or PlayStation.
  • Make sure you educate your child about sex so they don’t hear about it from others.
  • Take time to read books with your child every day, even if it’s just 10 minutes. This will help your child’s reading and is a great bonding time.
  • Do your part for the environment by looking after trees and plants, and teach your child to do the same at school.
  • Welcome your child’s friends into your home and build a good relationship with them.

Birthdays

  • Send a big square cake for birthdays or individual cupcakes for each child. I can’t cut a round cake into 30-odd pieces!
  • Don’t let your child hand out party invites at school unless you’re inviting the whole class.

Getting involved

  • Get involved with different activities at the school and attend information evenings and parent/teacher meetings.
  • Encourage your child to be involved in extracurricular events – it teaches them how to be a team player and exercises their gross motor skills.
  • Do your bit as a member of the parents association – your child will be very proud of you if you do!
  • Force yourself to just be a spectator at sports events – don’t take things personally or get involved as you’ll just embarrass your child.

Tidiness

  • Train your child to put his or her uniform out the night before so you can see if you need to make small repairs or replace missing buttons.
  • Make sure your child wears the correct uniform so they can uphold the standards of the school and look the same as their classmates.
  • Go through your child’s school bag to remove lunch that’s been forgotten or detention notes that weren’t handed over.
  • Make sure school clothes and shoes are clean!

Cellphones

  • Cellphones must be used for emergencies only. Respect the school’s policy on cellphone use and check your child’s phone for pornography.

Money

  • Budget for extra-curricular activities such as art or swimming lessons that you may have to pay for from your own pocket. Don’t leave paying until the last minute.

- Vida Li Sik

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