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How to boost a child’s spirits after a bad day

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Dear teacher,

How do you boost children’s spirits when they are feeling low because something bad happened at school?

Dear parent,

You want to avoid pooh-poohing what happened at school by saying things like, “That was nothing.” The child obviously thought that it was a big deal at the time. At the same time, avoid blaming the child by asking, “What did you do or say that caused the teacher or another student to upset you?” If you do, it may stop the child from communicating with you in the future.

The best approach is to let your child vent. You can agree with the child that what happened was upsetting to him. Quite often, this is sufficient to calm the child. At this point, you can ask the child to consider what he might do in the future when faced with a similar situation. Together, you can discuss the his ideas. Plus, you can build the his confidence by bringing up that he has handled many unpleasant situations successfully in the past.

Finally, if a situation is truly a serious one that is likely to continue, like bullying or a barrage of criticism from a teacher, it is time to step in and ask the teacher for help.

Resolutions to improve communication with children and teachers

Dear parents,

One of the best ways to help your children succeed in school is to have good communication with them and their teachers. Obviously, the more you know about what your children are doing at school, the easier it will be to help them to do their best. In addition, you will be able to praise them for their very real accomplishments, which makes for a win-win situation.

Every year at this time, we make suggestions for New Year’s resolutions that can help parents do things to make their children be even more successful at school. Here are some recommendations that will help you have great communication with your children and their teachers:

Resolutions to improve communication with your children:

• Resolve to turn off the television and all other electronic devices as much as possible when you are with your children. This will help everyone focus on what is being said. This is especially important at meal time.

• Resolve to look at your children when you are talking to them. The secret of good communication lies in eye contact between both speaker and listener.

• Resolve to wait until your children have finished speaking before chiming in with what you have to say.

• Resolve to ask open-ended questions to your children. Questions that can be answered with a simple “yes” or “no” decidedly limit communication.

• Resolve to set up a message board to enable everyone to learn what other members of the family are doing. Good communication is not just verbal communication, but also written communication.

• Resolve to avoid over-correcting your child. A barrage of constant correction turns children away from listening to what their parents have to say.

• Resolve to praise your children for their good work at school. Compliments enhance communication.

• Resolve to be a good model in speaking to your children. Using correct grammar and words will enhance their communication skills.

Resolutions to improve communications with your children’s teachers:

• Resolve to be positive and courteous. Good manners always open up the lines of communication.

• Resolve to attend all parent and teacher conferences. This is your best opportunity to learn what your children are doing in school.

• Resolve to be respectful of a teacher’s time. The best communication occurs when it is convenient for the teacher to talk to you.

• Resolve to keep the lines of communication open all year. Read all notes and e-mails that come from teachers, and check the teachers’ and school’s websites frequently.

• Resolve to reply as soon as possible to all teachers’ notes and e-mails. This keeps communication going back and forth in a timely manner.

• Resolve to limit your notes and e-mails to teachers to serious concerns. Overwhelming the teachers with trivial concerns can close the door to a teacher communicating with you.

• Resolve to communicate with teachers to keep them informed of significant changes in your children’s lives. It helps teachers to better understand your children’s behavior.

• Resolve to meet your children’s teachers. Face-to-face meetings contribute to better communication.

Does our child have a speech problem?

Dear teacher,

Everyone in our family can understand our 4-year-old son. However, visitors are often puzzled by what he is saying. Could he have a speech problem, and we don’t even recognize it?

Dear parent,

Not being understood by people outside the family is one of the signs that 3- and 4-year-olds could possibly have a speech disorder. Other signs, according to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, include not mastering most of the following skills:

• Using a lot of sentences that have four or more words.

• Usually talking easily without repeating syllables or words.

• Using sentences that give lots of details. (The biggest peach is mine.)

Parents should send questions and comments to dearteacher@dearteacher.com or ask them on the columnists’ website at www.dearteacher.com.

©Compass Syndicate Corporation, 2014.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate

Updated 4:58 pm, July 9, 2018
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