As first term draws to an end, many families have settled into a good routine for home and school. It is often at this time over the school holidays, that we can take a breather and reset after a busy couple of months. How do we manage time for rest and enjoyment without losing the solid routine that we have worked so hard to get right? Balance and moderation are crucial.
Children need a break from the expectations of school, particularly those children who struggle to ‘keep it together’ all day at school. Often those children are also the ones who don’t cope well with change so it can be difficult. Keeping some things consistent, like bedtime and meal times, can be a fabulous way of maintaining balance. Giving children some autonomy during the day to pick and choose which activities they do at what time, provides some independence they do not normally get at school. If you choose to have a total break from routine and relax eating habits and bedtimes over the holidays, try to make sure that a few days before school goes back that you bring it back to the school routine so that the transition back to term two is smooth. It’s all about balance.
At school, most children are fairly active and after school sports and activities usually exemplify that during term time. As some sports and activities don’t run during the holidays, encourage your child to keep active but to also have rest. It is okay to spend a day chilling out watching movies – it’s just not healthy if it is every day for two weeks. Going for a walk or bike ride or playing outside on the trampoline are great ways to get moving. Moderation in all areas will help to keep balance in order to settle back into the term after the short break.
When it comes to a positive home-school relationship, regular and constructive communication is the key. At the beginning of every school year it is difficult to navigate the right time and place to discuss your child’s learning and by the time ‘meet the teacher’ or initial parent teacher interviews come around, many parents are overwhelmed and unsure what to ask their child’s teacher. Sometimes this results in the teacher doing all the talking or the parent asking about one thing and forgetting to ask about the ten other things they were not sure about. Detailed questions are great if you have them, but what if you don’t really have any specific concerns? What do you ask when you get the opportunity to talk to your child’s teacher one-to-one?
Here are five important questions to ask your child’s teacher when you meet with them:
1. Is my child experiencing any difficulties (socially, emotionally, academically or physically) in your opinion?
2. How are my child’s individual learning needs being catered for within the classroom setting?
3. Are there any ways that I can provide additional support the school and my child’s learning?
4. What is the best way to contact you should I need to discuss my child?
5. Is my child doing the best they can do?
These direct and simple questions are not meant to be in any way an attack on the teacher or school, so obviously the tone in which they are asked is also important, but they are questions which allow an open flow of information and a relationship built on partnership for a common goal – a happy, thriving child at school.
As featured in: District Gazette - March '20
Sara Drebber is an educational consultant, teacher, writer and mother of three.